Bluehost Web Hosting Help
Domain WHOIS Update and Verification
As the domain's registrant, you're required to provide accurate and reliable contact information, and promptly update it as necessary during the domain's registered term. And as the domain's registrar, we're required to verify the accuracy of the contact information you've provided. This information is then included on your domain's record in the public WHOIS database, as required by ICANN.
This article explains what ICANN verification is, which changes require verification, and the steps to update your domain's contact information.
- About ICANN Verification
- WHOIS Verification
- Change of Registrant Verification
- Steps to Update Contact Information
- Frequently Asked Questions
About ICANN Verification
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the organization responsible for setting the various policies and procedures that govern domain registries for generic top-level domain (gTLD) names. We are bound to them through our Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), the contract which allows us to be a registrar and sell domains. More information about ICANN can be found at http://www.icann.org.
Each registered domain is required to provide identifying contact information—including the full name, postal address, email address, phone number, etc.—for the registrant (owner), administrator, and billing contacts. This and other details regarding the domain is collectively referred to as "WHOIS data," and it's included on the domain's record in the public WHOIS database. Anyone can query the database for a domain record to find out when it was registered, where its name servers are pointed, who the owner is, and more. Some domain owners choose to block their information from being posted publicly by purchasing Domain Privacy.
As an ICANN-accredited registrar, we must verify the accuracy of the WHOIS record for all gTLDs within 14 days of these events:
- A new domain name is registered with us.
- A domain name is transferred to us from another registrar.
- The registrant's contact information (name, organization, or email address) is changed.
- We have reason to believe the contact information is invalid.
Upon these events, we'll send an email to the domain's registrant asking them to verify the contact information is valid by clicking a link. If this isn't done within 14 days, the domain will be suspended pending verification.
The contact information for the domain is included on its record in the public WHOIS database, as required by ICANN. As the domain's registrant, you're required to provide accurate and reliable contact information, and promptly update it as necessary during the domain's registered term. And as the domain's registrar, we're required to verify the accuracy of the contact information you've provided. This information is then included on your domain's record in the public WHOIS database, as required by ICANN.
New domains will be registered using the contact information in your Account Profile, by default. You can edit this information in your Domain Manager once the registration is complete.
There are three contacts listed for each domain:
- Registrant. The person or company who owns or holds the domain.
- Admin. The person authorized by the registrant to interact with and answer questions from the registrar. They will receive the authorization emails from the registrar during a domain transfer.
- Billing. The person authorized to receive the invoice and renewal fees for the domain registration.
The contact data can be the same for all three, or it can be different if you have multiple people who manage your domain. The important thing is to make sure it's accurate. Also, it's best to avoid using an email address that’s associated with the domain. Use a public email service, like Gmail, instead.
New domains will be registered using the contact information in your Account Profile by default. You can edit this information in your Domain Manager once the registration is complete.
When you purchase a new domain or transfer one to us, we'll send an email to the registrant asking them to verify their contact information is valid by clicking a link. If it isn't done within 14 days, the domain will be suspended pending verification, and it can take 24 - 48 hours for your websites to be reactivated once you do verify.
Change of Registrant
The Change of Registrant process only applies to general top-level domains (gTLDs). It does not apply to other TLDs, including but not limited to, country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), like .uk, .ca., and so on.
In an effort to prevent fraudulent domain transfers and other criminal activity, ICANN considers any material change to the registrant's name, organization, or email address to be a Change of Registrant—or ownership transfer between two parties—even if its not truly changing ownership. Both the old and new registrant (even if they're technically the same person), must confirm the change by clicking a link in a verification email before the updated record can be submitted to the registry.
The domain will enter a 60-day transfer lock period following a successful Change of Registrant. Check the box to opt-out of this lock period before saving the new registrant contact information so the new owner can transfer the domain to another registrar during this time.
Once you save the new registrant contact information by following the steps in the next section, we'll send an email to the prior registrant with links to either approve or cancel the request. When the changes are approved, we'll send a similar email to the new registrant for approval. If the email address did not change, then both emails will be sent to the same address. Both the old and new registrant (even if they're technically the same person) must confirm the change by clicking a link in their respective verification emails, then we'll submit the updated record to the registry to complete the process.
The Change of Registrant process must be completed by both parties within 14 days. If either party clicks the link to cancel or fails to respond in time, the domain's contact information will not be changed and you'll have to start over again.
Steps to Change the Contact Information
Whether you're updating a gTLD or not, the process to update the contact information is basically the same. However, you will only see the option to opt-out of the 60-day transfer lock IF saving your changes will trigger a Change of Registrant request. If the option isn't there, the Change of Registrant process (steps 7, 9, and 10) will not apply.
Follow these steps to update your domain's contact information:
- Log in to your Bluehost Domain Manager.
- Scroll down and select the domain you wish to modify from the list on the left. The right side will populate with tabs.
- Click the Contacts tab to the right.
- Check the boxes for registrant, admin, and billing to view the information listed for each contact. You can view and edit each individually, or all at once, depending on which box(es) you've selected.
Make any changes to the information for each contact as necessary, then double-check the information to verify that you've entered the new owner's correct email address for the registrant and admin.
Do you see the option to opt-out of the 60-day transfer lock? If not, click Update Contact Information to save your changes. If it's there, updating the contact information will initiate a Change of Registrant request. Follow these steps to continue:
- Check the box to opt-out of the 60-day transfer lock. This is optional, but highly recommended.
- Click Update Contact Information to save your changes.
- Locate the verification email and click the link to approve the changes.
- The new owner must locate their verification email and click the link to approve the changes.
And that's it! Your updated contact information will be updated in our system and in the WHOIS database once it's been verified.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does these verification policies apply to all of my domains?
A. No, they only apply to generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), such as .com, .net, .org, and so on. They do not apply to other TLDs, including but not limited to, country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), like .uk, .ca., and so on.
Q. There's a notification in my Domain Manager that I need to verify, but I haven't received the email. What should I do?
A. If you haven't received the verification email, please try the following:
- Check your email spam/junk folders.
- Try resending it a few times to see if it gets through. Some email services—including but not limited to Yahoo!, AOL, SBCGlobal, Comcast, and Hotmail— are known for filtering out important emails. If that doesn't work, you may want to use a different email address.
- Go to the Contacts tab for your domain and view the registrant information to make sure it’s going to the correct address.
- If the email address is correct, click the link above your contact information to resend the email.
- If the email address is incorrect, update it now and save your changes. This will trigger another email to be sent to the new address.
Q. I clicked on the verification link but it's expired. What does that mean?
A. The contact information was updated after that particular verification email was sent. Another verification email was sent to you for the most recent changes. Please locate that email and click on the link to verify. If necessary, you can resend it from the Contacts tab in your Domain Manager.
Q. My other registrar started doing this a long time ago. What took so long for bluehost?
A. Our Registry Accreditation Agreement (RAA) for Bluehost, our gTLD registrar, designated the new guidelines to go into effect on 10 May 2016, so we chose to wait until closer to that date to implement the verification process. Other registrars had to renew their RAA sooner, or chose to implement the requirements sooner. The Change of Registrar process went into effect on 01 December 2016.
Q. What if I no longer have access to my previous email?
A. If you no longer have access to your recent Registrant email address, please reach out to our Support Team for assistance.
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