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Your domain name is your brand’s identifier among a practically infinite sea of websites. Much like a business address allows people to find your brand’s physical headquarters, your domain name is a primary touchpoint for people online.

For the same reason, your domain name is a prime target for cybercriminals. A 2023 International Data Corporation report shows that organizations suffer an average of 7.5 domain name server attacks each year, with 90% of organizations affected.

In this guide, you’ll discover the best benefits of top-tier domain name security. Next, you’ll consider the main ways malicious actors can target your domain name. Then, you’ll learn how to secure a domain name through practical strategies.

The perks of improving domain name security

A graphic that lists the perks of improving domain name security.

In today’s age, a strong online presence can become a brand’s most valuable asset. That’s only possible with a secure domain name. In particular, here’s what you’ll enjoy after thoroughly securing your domain.

Stronger brand image

Your domain is an extension of your brand. A secure domain name contributes to a respectable reputation because it showcases a commitment to professionalism and good business practices.

Plus, domain name security discourages misuse by malicious actors, which helps preserve a trustworthy image in the eyes of your customers and the general public.

Secure trusted data

A secure domain name helps prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. The goal is that your company’s data and users’ data are safe.

After all, data breaches happen at an expense to your business; a 2023 IBM study found that a typical data breach costs an organization $4.45 million.

Website availability and business continuity

Cyberattacks on your domain name can disrupt your website’s availability. How? A website crash can make parts of your business impossible to operate, leading to lost revenue and reputational damage.

Securing your domain name is one step towards your website remaining accessible to your audience, meaning your business can operate as it should.

Financial stability

Cyberattacks inflict financial repercussions, both direct and indirect, that can affect your business’ financial stability. A secure domain name helps you avoid that fate.

Direct financial losses can take the form of ransom payments, where attackers demand payment to restore access to your domain. A study by Chainanalys reveals that ransomware victims collectively paid attackers more than $1 billion in 2023.

The indirect costs of website downtime include missed sales. For example, a 59-minute outage in 2021 cost Amazon approximately $34 million in lost sales. Facebook’s six-hour outage in the same year lost the company nearly $100 million in ad revenue.

Plus, expenses are involved in legal battles to reclaim ownership or mitigate brand damage.

Trust and loyal customers

Customer trust is a fundamental component of any successful online business or venture. Securing your domain name demonstrates a commitment to protecting your customers’ privacy and data. People notice that commitment, which fosters trust in your brand.

Compliance with regulations

For businesses in certain sectors, increasing domain security is an integral part of complying with industry regulations around data protection and privacy. This helps you avoid potential legal penalties.

For example, failure to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 4.0 can lead to fines of between $5,000 and $100,000 per month until you achieve compliance. Meanwhile, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violations can result in fines of up to €20 million ($21.7 million USD) or 4% of your brand’s annual revenue, whichever is higher.

In contrast, complying with industry regulations positions your brand as a responsible and trustworthy entity in your industry — which makes domain name security a must.

Common types of domain name threats

A graphic that lists the common types of domain name threats.

Develop your awareness of the most common domain name threats by contemplating the descriptions below.

Domain name hijacking

Domain name hijacking is when an unauthorized person gains access to your registrar account and takes over control of your domain without your consent.

Cybercriminals can accomplish this in several ways, including phishing techniques and exploiting security vulnerabilities in your domain registrar.

Once they have control of your domain, they can do anything they want with it. Sometimes, they redirect traffic to fraudulent websites. At other times, they hold a domain for ransom, demanding payment to restore access.

Cybersquatting & typosquatting

Cybersquatting is when a scheming individual registers a domain name likely to be mistaken for a known brand, trademark or person. For example, some malicious actors register misspelled variants of a popular domain name.

Cybersquatters hope to exploit people who think they are visiting a brand’s actual website.

Cybersquatters hope to exploit people who think they are visiting a brand’s actual website.

From there, the malicious actor can get unaware users to input their financial info or personal identifiers. Alternatively, a cybersquatter can aim to damage a brand’s reputation by publishing unsavory content while disguised as the brand.

Lastly, malicious actors sometimes aim for profits by selling the domain name to the trademark owner, who would feel pressured to end the misuse.

Domain Name System (DNS) attacks

The Domain Name System (DNS) is basically a phonebook for the internet. We’re familiar with domain names like and — well, each corresponds to a numerical IP address. The DNS reveals which domain names belong to each IP address.

DNS attacks can take several forms. For example, there’s domain spoofing, where attackers divert traffic from a legitimate server to a bogus one. From there, they can steal personal data or introduce malware.

Another type of DNS exploit is called distributed denial of service (DDoS), where an attacker floods a server with requests, overwhelming it and ultimately making it inaccessible.

While it helps to be aware, you don’t need to know every possible DNS attack. It’s more efficient to understand how to secure your domain name.

Expired domain takeover

If you haven’t thought ahead to when your domain name expires, you’re open to this cybercrime. A bad actor can patiently wait for the expiration, then swiftly purchase your domain before you can renew, thus taking over your online identity.

From there, they could attempt to sell the domain back to you at a profit. Alternatively, they can use your domain for schemes, capitalizing on its existing traffic and established search engine optimization (SEO).

That sounds scary, but we’re confident you’ll never be in that position if you implement the following best practices that protect your domain from web attacks.

How to secure a domain name

  1. Choose a trustworthy registrar.
  2. Lock your domain name.
  3. Protect your privacy.
  4. Use strong, unique passwords.
  5. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA).
  6. Register your domain for multiple years.
  7. Set up automatic renewal.
  8. Regularly update your contact information.
  9. Register domain name variants.
  10. Trademark your name.
  11. Sign up for a domain monitoring service.

Let’s understand each step in depth and grant you a clear path to securing your domain.

A checklist that outlines how to secure your domain name.

1. Choose a trustworthy registrar

The first step to securing your domain name is to choose a reputable domain registrar. You’ll discover many registrars and web hosts online, but not all are created equal.

Look for a provider with a reputation for robust security measures, excellent customer service and a strong track record of defense against cyber threats. Positive reviews and ratings on comparison websites or user review websites, like Trustpilot, are a good sign.

Go for a provider that offers extra domain safety services. For example, Bluehost offers domain locking and privacy protection.

Go for a provider that offers extra domain safety services. For example, Bluehost offers domain locking and privacy protection.

Check whether each provider is accredited by a recognized governing body such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

If you plan to purchase multiple domains, consider using the same registrar; it will be easier to keep tabs on all your domain names, which in turn makes it easier to detect suspicious activity.

2. Lock your domain name

After registering a domain name, enable domain locking. This security feature automatically blocks any domain transfer attempts. Any time you visit the registration website to change account settings or domain settings, verify that domain locking is still on.

When you register your domain name with Bluehost, your domain name is locked by default so that you won’t worry about unauthorized transfers.

3. Protect your privacy

ICANN requires all domain name owners to provide personal information — your name, email, phone number and address. This information is then displayed publicly on a database called WHOIS.

Everyone — including scammers and hackers — can access the WHOIS database and see personal information linked to each website.

Everyone — including scammers and hackers — can access the WHOIS database and see personal information linked to each website.

That’s where domain privacy protection comes in; this security feature replaces your sensitive personal information with generic information. This way, you keep your identity secure while complying with ICANN’s domain registration requirements.

When you register your domain with Bluehost, you can easily get domain privacy protection by logging into your user account, clicking on Protect my info and following the instructions.

Keep in mind that privacy protection isn’t available for all top-level domain extensions (TLDs). For example, most country-code TLDs — like .us, .uk and .ca — don’t allow privacy protection on WHOIS. If this applies to you, don’t worry; you can still minimize your risk via the following tips on how to secure your domain name.

4. Use strong, unique passwords

Use unique and strong passwords for your registrar account in order to avoid unauthorized access. Include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters to increase complexity. Avoid using common words.

If you have multiple domains with different registrars, use unique passwords for each. A password manager like LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass or 1Password will help you generate a unique password for each of your accounts and store them securely.

Additionally, consider changing your passwords regularly to minimize risk further.

5. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication secures your domain name by requiring a second form of verification beyond the password. The second verification is typically a code or link from a text message, email or authentication app.

Even if someone were to obtain your username and password, they wouldn’t be able to access your account without the additional verification step. Thus, 2FA is a good way to protect against phishing techniques.

6. Register your domain for multiple years

If your domain name registrar lets you lock in your domain for multiple years, take that option, considering that yearly renewals are a frequent opportunity for domain name takeovers.

As a bonus, you’ll enjoy the convenience and discounted rate on long-term registrations.

7. Set up automatic renewal

There’s another way to prevent your domain name from getting taken over during expiration: Set up automatic domain renewal.

Eliminating the need to track the renewal date manually will give you peace of mind that there will be no service outages due to late or missed domain name renewals.

Keep your credit card information current to ensure the auto-renewal process completes seamlessly. If your registrar allows it, provide several forms of payment so that if one fails, another one automatically activates and preserves the continuity of your domain registration.

8. Regularly update your contact information

For the tightest domain security, keep your contact information current with your registrar. This ensures you receive timely notifications about your domain name, such as renewal reminders and security alerts.

Up-to-date contact details are also vital for retrieving access to your account if your login credentials get breached or forgotten.

9. Register domain name variants

Register variations of your domain name, including common misspellings and phonetic equivalents. This prevents others from buying these variants to divert traffic from you or tarnish your brand reputation.

Additionally, consider acquiring your domain across multiple top-level domains — such as .com, .net and .org — to consolidate your brand presence further and prevent threats like cybersquatting.

10. Trademark your name

A trademark reinforces your rights over the domain, making it easier to take legal action against people who attempt to harm your business, steal your belongings or profit from your brand’s reputation by deceiving your customers.

Trademarks also act as a deterrent; malicious actors are less likely to target you for cybersquatting if you have trademark protection. If your domain is eligible for a trademark, it’s worth applying for one.

11. Sign up for a domain monitoring service

Last but not least, consider signing up for domain monitoring services. They scan the web for similar domain names, including domain registrations that impersonate or closely resemble your brand. If the scan catches any copycats, you’ll receive alerts so you can take appropriate action.

Domain monitoring services are vital if you operate in an industry frequently targeted by cybersquatters, such as retail and eCommerce.

Domain monitoring services are vital if you operate in an industry frequently targeted by cybersquatters, such as retail and eCommerce.

Final thoughts: How to secure a domain name in 2024

Congrats: You know how to secure your domain name, which is paramount in today’s digital landscape, where security threats lurk. Top-tier domain name security protects your brand identity, ensures business continuity and fosters consumer trust.

Remember that securing a domain name starts with choosing a reliable and reputable registrar. Bluehost is a trusted global domain registrar and hosting provider with over 20 years of experience.

Register your domain name with Bluehost today to enjoy domain locking, privacy protection and 24/7 customer support that ensures your domain name remains secure and accessible. If your website is already registered, you can still easily transfer your domain name.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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