You've probably heard us rant about hosting providers that offer to help you out by registering your domain name for you (if not, please check out Alfredo's blog on that topic).

We increasingly find ourselves helping our members liberate their domain names from such situations. I've even started seeing situations when a domain expires, the next day it is paid for, yet for weeks it is still set to status "CLIENT HOLD." It takes any number of phone calls to either the registrar, or in the worst case scenario, the registrar and the reseller.

This has got to end! Please register your domain names directly with a registrar, such as dotster.com or godaddy.com not through an intermediary!! Hopefully, some day, we'll have a registrar with politics. But until then, at least deal directly with one corporation, not two or more when you are setting up a domain name.

Here's some steps I find myself taking quite frequently, published for the world in the hopes that it will help others cut through the red tape more easily.

The first step is a whois query. I run Debian linux which has an easy to use whois package. If you don't have that program and can't install it, try using this web application instead.

You should see a line like this:

Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)

If it says Tucows you're probably in trouble. They work with a lot of resellers. So many in fact, that they have their own special whois program to tell you which reseller controls your domain.

At the bottom of the page you should see something like this:

Registration Service Provider: easyDNS Technologies Inc., easydns@myprivacy.ca +1.416.535.8672 http://www.easydns.com This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.

If the number actually works and the organization is still in business and cares about who you are, you're in luck. Otherwise, you'll need to follow up with Tucows to get whatever registration issues resolved.

Once you do get them resolved, don't stop! Instead, hound them to give a Transfer Authorization code that will allow you to move your domain to another registrar.