TL;DR: New ICANN rules for domain names require you to verify your email address within 15 days of a change to the contact name or email, or else your web site and email will stop working.

Starting on the 1 January, 2014, a change in the rules for email addresses on your domain registrant information may cause your web site and email to be taken offline if you're not careful. This is a big deal, so I want to explain it and make sure everyone is aware.

Email address validation

When you register a domain name you have to provide a name and email among other bits of information. Starting in January, whenever you register a domain name OR change the name or email address on a contact for an existing domain name you've registered, you will be required to verify that the email address is active and can receive email. You'll do this be clicking on a link in an email to verify that that the email is working properly. You only need to do this once for a contact that you use on multiple domains, at least until you change the name or email address on that contact in the future. This new rule is part of ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement that was approved earlier this year, so it affects ALL domain registrars and resellers.

So what's the penalty if you do not click on the link? After 15 days your DNS will be disabled and replaced with a placeholder page that explains what's going on and how to verify the email address. This means ALL domains that are registered with that contact will be disabled 15 days after the verification email is sent until you verify the email address.

To be clear, that means if you change your last name on your registrant details, even though you did not change your email address, then an email will be sent to verify your registrant email address. If you do not click on the link in the email then in 15 days your web site, email, and anything else that is hooked to that domain name, will stop working. This is true even if you do not intentionally fail to click the link. For example, if you happen to have an outdated email address, if the email gets placed in your spam folder or if you just plain miss the email in your inbox.

What can you do to make sure your site is not taken offline due to this new rule?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Make sure all of your contacts at your domain registrar point to a valid functioning email address. You can and should do this today. This will also help ensure you can actually log into your domain registrar (since you may not have done this in quite some time).
  2. Make sure that when you change one of your contacts, or register a new domain, after January 1st, 2014, you must receive a verification email and you must click the link.
  3. If you do not receive a verification email within 1 day of registering a new domain or changing a registrant name or email address after January 2014 then contact your domain registrar's support contact and ask them why you haven't received it.

If you have any questions please email support@dnsimple.com, we're here to help.