Web host went belly up - how to rescue my domain name?

ferret

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Here's a pickle for ya -

My web hosting company (Liverack) seems to have gone completely dead in the last 24 hours. Not only is my web site (thebluebeyond.net) down, but Liverack's own home page is dead, and has been since yesterday afternoon.

They've been flaky in certain regards for the last year, and now I'm afraid they've just vanished. Obviously, I'll give it a couple more days, but it's odd for a web hosting company to be down for that long.

Now here's what's got me worried, and I'm wondering if any of you web-savvy folks out there has had experience with this: If Liverack is gone, what happens with my domain name that was registered through them? I recently renewed it through the middle of 2009, and I don't want to lose it.

I did a whois on my domain, and got this:

Code:
   Domain Name: THEBLUEBEYOND.NET
   Registrar: ENOM, INC.
   Whois Server: whois.enom.com
   Referral URL: http://www.enom.com
   Name Server: NS5.LIVERACK.COM
   Name Server: NS6.LIVERACK.COM
   Status: clientTransferProhibited
   Status: clientDeleteProhibited
   Updated Date: 11-jun-2007
   Creation Date: 02-jul-2005
   Expiration Date: 02-jul-2009
So Liverack registered my domain through Enom. But I'm betting Enom won't let me transfer that domain to a new IP address if I move my site elsewhere, huh? I mean, Enom doesn't know me from Adam. They'd need permission from Liverack, I'm guessing. And that "clientTransferProhibited" thing looks sort of ominous.

Does that mean my domain is held hostage?

Just wondering if any of you folks has had to deal with this sort of annoyance before.
 

Zuhaib

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Code:
[whois.enom.com]
=-=-=-=
Visit AboutUs.org for more information about thebluebeyond.net
AboutUs: thebluebeyond.net

Registration Service Provided By: LiveRack LLC
Contact: domains@liverack.com
Visit: http://www.liverack.com
	
Domain name: thebluebeyond.net

Registrant Contact:
   bluebeyond media
   Kevin Carlson (kevcarl@comcast.net)
   +1.415-239-2754
   Fax: +1.
   50 Chumasero Dr. #12 F
   San Francisco, CA 94132
   US

Administrative Contact:
   bluebeyond media
   Kevin Carlson (kevcarl@comcast.net)
   +1.415-239-2754
   Fax: +1.
   50 Chumasero Dr. #12 F
   San Francisco, CA 94132
   US

Technical Contact:
   bluebeyond media
   Kevin Carlson (kevcarl@comcast.net)
   +1.415-239-2754
   Fax: +1.
   50 Chumasero Dr. #12 F
   San Francisco, CA 94132
   US

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
   ns5.liverack.com
   ns6.liverack.com
Well it looks like your contact info is there, but, it shows liverack as the register. You can try to get a hold of enom and explain to them, but they will try to wait and see if liverack is really belly up which could mean more downtime for you.
You could go to another domain registrant and request for a transfer and they *could* send to your E-Mail address the code to release the domain from enom but I have had bad luck with that (I am still fighting with yahoo).
 

ferret

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Location
Pacifica, CA, USA
Thanks, Zuhaib.

That does sound pretty bleak. I suppose I'll wait and see if Liverack comes back up. The site is just a personal project, so downtime isn't costing me money or anything. Just frustrating. Maybe if they stay down permanently, Enom will agree to a transfer. Even if Liverack comes back up, who wants a host who goes offline for that long? Not even remotely acceptable. I'll have to get away from them one way or another.
 

Steve Levin

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Obviously, what's done is done here...but this is why I strongly suggest to people that they register their domains directly through GoDaddy (or another registrar that also provides DNS servers for registered domains).

I'm slowly moving my various domains there, even though I've run my own dedicated server for 15 years now.

Steve
 

kanderson

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This happens all the time. Enom will probably have you complete, sign and notarize a form that releases them from the liability of granting you the transfer, and then you move it wherever you want.
 

Viper007Bond

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Obviously, what's done is done here...but this is why I strongly suggest to people that they register their domains directly through GoDaddy (or another registrar that also provides DNS servers for registered domains).
Agreed. It's always a bad idea to register your domain through your host. Makes it a lot harder to switch hosts too.
 

ferret

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Pacifica, CA, USA
Thanks for all the advice, folks. This was my first hosting experience, so I guess I was bound to make some mistakes. I'm still struggling to understand all the nuances of DNS.

So if I understand this right, my problem was that Enom looked to Liverack as the entity controlling this domain, right? If I had, as you said, registered it through GoDaddy or a similar registrar then I would have been the entity controlling it. Essentially, there would have been one less entity in the chain of responsibility?

So here's a possibly dumb question: What if GoDaddy goes out of business after you register a domain through them? Can't your domain get stranded that way too? Of course, I'd rather risk that than face the risk of either one of my hosting company or registrar going belly-up. I guess that exposes you to exactly half as much risk.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Also, can any of you folks suggest a good place to learn more about this stuff? There must be a lot of places out there where people discuss hosting and domain issues where I could lurk and learn, and maybe make better choices in the future.

Thanks again!
 

kanderson

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Domain registrars are agents of the root servers (internic.net, operated by Network Solutions), and in the event they go out of business, Network Solutions takes over and you simply have an account with Network Solutions at that point, and you can transfer your domain from NetSol to anywhere else you wish, or keep it there. I only know this because it has happened to me before. (Back when the concept of a registrar was new, a lot of companies jumped in to offer services and a few went out of business within a year.)
 

ferret

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Ah, I see. Cool. So if I can convince Enom that I'm the owner of that domain, then from there I'm golden, even if Enom goes under. Nice.
 

ferret

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Update: After three days of downtime, LiveRack decided to come back online yesterday. So my site's back. But three days? Puuuhleeeze.
 

hokiethang

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Update: After three days of downtime, LiveRack decided to come back online yesterday. So my site's back. But three days? Puuuhleeeze.
Now that the site is back up, you should request from them the transfer authorization code, and transfer your domain away to a registrar account in your name. They should let you transfer the domain (as long as it has been registered for more than a 90 days). You also should be able to turn off the domain lock through the current domain management.

After you make the transfer, you can point the domain back to your current hosting, so that you can maintain your account. Then if it fails again, you won't have to worry about losing your domain.
 

ferret

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Now that the site is back up, you should request from them the transfer authorization code, and transfer your domain away to a registrar account in your name. They should let you transfer the domain (as long as it has been registered for more than a 90 days). You also should be able to turn off the domain lock through the current domain management.

After you make the transfer, you can point the domain back to your current hosting, so that you can maintain your account. Then if it fails again, you won't have to worry about losing your domain.
I do see a control panel in their interface where I can turn off the domain lock. However, if requesting the transfer authorization code from them involves asking them and waiting for a response, I might be screwed. I have never once gotten a response from them on any question or support ticket I ever submitted. Like I said, these folks are super lame. But I'll start there, and see what happens. Thanks for the advice. I'm never making this mistake again. I hate not having control over this stuff.
 

ferret

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Update to the situation:

LiveRack is still ignoring my requests for the DNS transfer authorization, and in fact I'm convinced the people responsible for the host server are just gone. It appears they've abandoned the machine. I tried to log in this morning just to point people to my new site, and I can't even update pages on the site. So I log into cPanel, and I see that the disk with everyone's web accounts is 99% full. And of course, the phone number on record for them is disconnected.

So, thankfully, Enom is responding to my support tickets. They told me to contact LiveRack. I'm hoping that now they'll finally see that there is no hope of doing that.

Meantime, I've registered a new domain and am happily running on stormhost, the server set up by the highly talented folks here at finalgear! They've been doing a great job. So now my blog has a home again.
 

hokiethang

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Update to the situation:

LiveRack is still ignoring my requests for the DNS transfer authorization, and in fact I'm convinced the people responsible for the host server are just gone. It appears they've abandoned the machine. I tried to log in this morning just to point people to my new site, and I can't even update pages on the site. So I log into cPanel, and I see that the disk with everyone's web accounts is 99% full. And of course, the phone number on record for them is disconnected.

So, thankfully, Enom is responding to my support tickets. They told me to contact LiveRack. I'm hoping that now they'll finally see that there is no hope of doing that.

Meantime, I've registered a new domain and am happily running on stormhost, the server set up by the highly talented folks here at finalgear! They've been doing a great job. So now my blog has a home again.
In your enom tickets tell them that you have made repeated attempts to contact the current registrar. Do you know if you are the owner of record, or if it's liverack? Do a whois (http://www.betterwhois.com) on the domain name and if it lists you as the registrant in any one of the fields, it should make the process of getting it from enom easier.

It may require you getting on the phone with an enom representative, and asking them to call the number of the company on record to get authorization to transfer the domain. If they get a "this number has been disconnected" they should give you the domain. I can't guarantee that will even work if liverack registered the name in their own name, as opposed to registering it in your name.

You may also want to try contacting the registrant of the domain of the host, as they have to publish accurate information in the public whois record (better-whois.com again). You can also try sending a letter to their address if you really want the domain.
 
Last edited:

freakshow

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I had to deal with ENOM on a problem similar to this. They always defer you to the domain controller, which is your webhost.
Even if i faxed proof of ownership to them they would not release the clients domain name to Network Solutions, since the domain pointers were through the hosting company.
You may be screwed, but call ENOM, ASAP.
 
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