URL takeover

Ok… I’ll be the first to admit I’m not all that knowledgeable about the technical aspects of this, so any insight would be appreciated. One of my domains appears to have been hijacked by someone.

I have been hosting 2 websites with Dreamhost for some time now. One domain I had previously registered through Yahoo Domains, then later switched both the hosting and the domain reg. to Dreamhost.

The other I registered thru DH and have been using it for months now. But a few days ago I rec’d an email from DH saying that the “registered owner” wanted it and found that I had it… WHAT?!? I have no clue what’s going on here, but I’m certain that domain was mine.

Any idea what’s happening here?

It could be any number of a variety of domain ownership disputes. What is the domain involved?


It’s http://www.paulrush.com/

http://whois.domaintools.com/paulrush.com shows a whois record for the domain, that was created in Feb of 2006 - is this you?


No, this isn’t me. I only started with Dreamhost in May of 06. That’s my domain, but not my name.

If somebody else owned it, how did DH let me register and host a site there? Why was I never informed that it belonged to someone else?

I don’t want to be paranoid, but I can’t help thinking there’s something fishy about this.

I have no idea how you could have registered that domain in May when DH already had a registrant on record as of February; that is a question you need to take up with with Dreamhost.

The hosting part of it is a lot easier to understand. If the registrant of record had the DNS for the domain pointed to Dreamhost’s nameservers (which apparently he does/or did), but never established hosting for the domain, then your creating a hosted domain with that name would result in your site being displayed. While this sounds like it might not should happen, it is really very common - I “create hosted domains” all the time for my clients, who own those domains and control the registration records where the DNS is set up, on Dreamhost.

Which site is ultimately shown to a web visitor is dictated by DNS; sites “hosted” under that name can be maintained on multiple servers. The setting-up of a “hosted domain” with the name paulrush.com alone is not what gets it “on the web”; the registrar’s DNS must also point to that hosting.

Unless something is “borked” on the Dreamhost registrar side of things, it looks from the whois records that the registrant of record is the other person and your being able to host that domain at Dreamhost was a coincidental result of that owner’s DNS setting and the fact he had not established hosting at Dreamhost for that domain. This has happened before, though it is fairly rare.

The real question is whether you actually managed to register the domain with Dreamhost in May, though it already had a whois record in February, and that is what you should get sorted with Dreamhost. It doesn’t look as though they treated your “registration” as a “renewal”, as the expiration date doesn’t tend to indicate that.

It looks like you just “hosted” the domain without “registering” it, but I understand from your original post that you did register it - you need to contact DH tech support to get that all straightened out. Good Luck!


You need to check your domain control panel. The domain you refer to is both registered and hosted by DH.

Possibly because DH doesn’t care where you register the domain name. The free domain that comes with hosting is more of a courtesy extra than anything else.

It is NOT DH’s problem if you try to host a domain that doesn’t belong to you - when you purchase hosting for a domain it is up to the PURCHASER to perform the minimal amount of due diligence involved to discover whether or not the domain is already spoken for.

Now that’s out of the way, here’s what I suspect:
You really are Paul Weissman from “Seatlte” in Washington, and you’re just having some technical diffculties as described by the bad config error currently being generated by the domain-in-question. If that’s NOT the case, then chances are you did not perform the aforementioned due diligence in determining whether or not you owned the domain you want and it’s an incredible coincidence that DH happens to already be hosting that domain. If that’s the case, then what made you wait way past the 97-day money-back is beyond me, but perhaps DH will proffer the refund anyway - open a DH billing support question and use one of your callbacks to talk to someone who can answer your questions.