A common practice in our industry (not one we subscribe to) is for the web design company who builds the website to purchase the domain name for the customer. This can lead to huge legal issues in the future if the web design company lists themselves as the registrant for the domain. This means the web design company owns the domain period. We run in to this a lot when we are contracted by a customer to re work or re build a site. Since the previous web design company does not want to lose the customer's business they are unwilling to release the domain. In short, the customer is held hostage by their previous web design company.
Who owns your domain? here is how to find out:
Using the internet, it is very easy to determine who actually owns a domain name. A domain name is "owned" by or licensed to the person or entity shown as the "registrant" on the "whois" database of the registrar. The registrar is the name given to an entity that is authorized by ICANN
to issue domain names to the public. The first and most well known registrar is Network Solutions, Inc
. A "whois" database is a database maintained by all registrars that lists pertinent information about all domain names issued by the registrar. Each registrar's Whois database may be searched online.
To check the ownership of a domain name, go to the Whois database of either Network Solutions
. Simply type in the name of the domain name and the top level domain name such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info or .name and click the search button. If the domain name is in the Whois database, the search results will display the pertinent information about the domain name