Can You Fix a Typo in a Domain Name After You Register It?

Can I Edit the Spelling of a Domain After Buying it?

Can You Fix a Typo in a Domain Name After You Register It?

by Christopher Heng,

Once in a while, I receive email from people who have registered a domain name only to realise later that they have misspelt ("misspelled" if you use a different variant of English) it at the time of purchase. They want to know if there is any way they can edit the name to fix the typographical error.

The Short Answer

Unfortunately, the short answer to the question is "No".

As far as I know, once you have paid for a domain name, there is no way to change its spelling. On receipt of your payment, the domain registrar (if they are any good at all) automatically proceeds with securing that domain for you. The entire process probably only takes a few seconds (if even that), and when it is done, that domain, warts and all, is yours, for the period you paid for.

Even if your registrar allows you to cancel the domain, you may not actually get your money back. All that is certain to happen when you cancel is that you will lose that domain. The registrar is not the only entity involved in a domain registration. The fee you pay goes in part to the other companies involved. If your domain name has already been entered into the system, and they have already paid other people, I'm not sure that they will be willing to refund you out of their own pockets.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. You may actually want to keep that wrongly-spelt domain.

A (Hopefully) Better Solution

Let's think this through.

The fact that you, the one with the strongest motivation to get the name right, can make such a typo may imply that it is a sufficiently common error that there are others who will misspell it. And those others may include your future customers, whom you don't want to lose.

If this is the case, you will not only want to buy the correctly-spelt version of the name, but you may also want to keep this typo-ridden one. You can then point both domains to the same website. That way, whether or not your visitors type the correct name into their browsers, they will end up at your site. It may even preempt criminals buying it in order to pretend to be your site for some nefarious purposes (the way they do for banks and famous sites).

In other words, this which you thought to be a mistake is actually a good thing, since it made you aware of the potential issues the new name has (ie, how easy it is to misspell it), and hopefully lets you deal with it before you even make a website on that domain.

Of course, if the mistake is something you think no one else will make, or you really don't want to keep paying for 2 domains, then you will have to buy the correct domain and let the wrong one expire after its term is up. The latter can be done by not renewing it at the end of its term (usually 1 year, unless you bought multiple years in advance). And yes, in such a case, you won't be able to recover the money you spent on it.

Note though that this loss only applies to the domain name. Since many domain name registrars are also web hosts, if you have also paid for web hosting at the same time as buying the domain, you may be able to arrange for the web hosting to be applied to the correct domain. For that, you will have to contact them. If you are not sure whether you paid for web hosting in addition to the domain name, look at your invoice/receipt. It should be stated somewhere what you paid for.

Steps to Take

Whether or not you decide to keep the wrong domain or just let it expire, you will now need to buy the other domain name. Don't wait too long to do it, or someone else may beat you to it.

Following that, you should follow the usual steps given in How to Create a Website. If you have kept both domains, you may also want to read How to Point Multiple Domain Names to One Website, which will allow you to point both domains to the same website.

This doesn't mean, of course, that you refer to your website by both names. That will just confuse all your customers. Call it by the domain name you actually want. The other domain is just there so that people who type the wrong name will still get to the right place. For example, is the name of this site. But I also own the ".org" and ".net" versions of the name, so if you were to type the name with (say) a ".org" suffix instead of ".com" into your browser's address bar, you will still end up back at this site. (Try it, if you are not sure what I'm talking about.)

(Yes, lots of webmasters own one or more variations of their domain name, so you are not alone. Some of them bought those variations for this very reason, to preempt problems with people typing the wrong spelling. So while you may have stumbled upon this by accident, many have been doing this deliberately for years, in anticipation of such situations.)

I realise that for a newcomer, this mini-crisis may have put you in a small state of panic. But as you can see, the error may be a good thing, since you are now aware of the possibility of getting multiple domains for a single site to avoid losing visitors to typos. And once you get your real domain and build your website, it will be a thing of the past, a story you can tell your grandchildren.

Copyright © 2017-2019 Christopher Heng. All rights reserved.
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