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My domain name registrar or previous host has disappeared - how do I get my domain back?

These situations can be tricky.

First, look up the domain record of your domain to determine the following things. You can look up your domain at InterNIC.

  1. Who is the registrant contact on the account? If it's you, this is a good sign. If it's not you, because your previous host or registrar purchased it in their name, that's a bad sign.
  2. Who is the sponsoring registrar? Many hosts and registrars are actually reselling for one of the big name domain registrars, usually eNom or Tucows/OpenSRS. If your domain has a sponsoring registrar, sometimes you can contact them to get control of your domain name back. At the very least, they can sometimes give you more contact information for whoever has control of your domain.
  3. What is the status of the domain? This will be something like "Ok", "Active", "Registrar-lock", or "Pending deletion".
  4. When does the domain expire?

At this point you have two options:

  1. Contact your sponsoring registrar if one is listed. You will probably have to go through some kind of process to prove you own the domain. Be sure to read whatever FAQ they have on their site to understand their procedures, and when you contact them be sure to mention that you've repeatedly tried to contact your domain registrar, as they usually don't like to interfere unless they have to.
  2. Transfer your domain to another registrar. This will only work if you have access to the email listed on the domain record, and the status of the domain is not locked or pending deletion. Be sure to use this option quickly because it can get problematic if you do it too near the domain expiration date.
Whatever you do, do NOT let the domain expire if you can help it. If you do, you may lose it forever, as many companies snatch up domains as soon as they expire in order to try to sell them at a profit.

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