How to Secure Your Domain Names – Domain Name Wire

Use these tools to prevent domain theft and unwanted changes.

Your domain names are valuable. The more valuable your domains are, the more likely they are to be targeted by thieves.

What can you do to protect these assets? Domain registrars offer different levels of security. Let’s go over some of these features and one feature I would like to see.

Two-factor authentication – It’s a must. If you don’t enable two-factor authentication for your account, don’t blame anyone if your domains are stolen. If your registrar doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, move your domains elsewhere — period. While you’re at it, make sure you have two factors on your email account, because that’s what thieves often use to gain access to your check-in account.

There are different types of two-factor authentication. Ideally, use physical key authentication rather than SMS or an authenticator app.

Registry lock – Registry locking adds another layer of protection against unwanted changes, especially to your nameservers. This is different from Registrar Lock which locks your domains against transfer. (Registry locking is so basic that it’s not even worth including in this list.) Registry locking is ideal for any website with important content, such as an active website that generates significant income. This will prevent someone from making an unwanted nameserver change and turning visitors away.

Domain Transfer Verification – GoDaddy is the only registrar I know of that offers this, and only to top accounts. The company will call you before any transfer from your account and you will need to provide a PIN to verify the transfer. It adds a step that can be inconvenient, but it also provides peace of mind and should prevent unwanted transfers. This service is one of the main reasons I keep my domains with GoDaddy.

Automatic Connection Notice – This is something PorkBun offers. When you revisit PorkBun and are still logged in due to a cookie, it sends an email to the account owner to let them know that someone (hopefully you) accessed the account. I don’t know if I like it or think it’s boring, but it makes me think PorkBun has safety in mind, which is good.

SMS notifications of important changes – Do any registrars offer this? Email notifications are easy to ignore, so it would be nice if registrars texted you whenever a major change was made. I want to set them up, but at a minimum I would like to know if a domain is unlocked or transferred. An option to be notified of contact changes and nameserver changes would also be nice. I would also like to receive an SMS if someone logs into my account from a country other than my home country.

Of all these, two-factor authentication is the minimum security you need on your accounts these days. I would like to see more registrars offer the other options.