I've owned a domain name including webhosting for a couple of years. No I don't need the domain anymore. Is there something I should do before deleting the account that includes the domain name, email and webhosting? (I'm asking because I'm worried that a new owner of that domain name could harm me in some way, e.g. by using the domain name and email)
Protect your accounts
Change the email address for sites where you have an account with an email address under this domain. (If you don’t have a list with sites you’ve an account on, start one now!)
Preserve your content
Archive your (important) pages in the Wayback Machine if they haven’t every page already, or if they are outdated. See how.
Provide your content as download if it’s user-generated (the polite thing to do) or if you care about it and don’t want it to get lost. You could license it, for example, under CC BY-SA, which would allow others to host/edit it, as long as they allow others to do the same.
Inform humans and bots
Inform your users that the site will go down, and that they won’t be able to contact you under this domain anymore. Either give them your new contact details, or suggest that they should delete yours from their contact books.
Inform other websites that have links to your domain (or list your email address etc.) that everything will go down. In case you offer your content under a free/libre license, they could decide to host the linked content themselves now.
Send HTTP status code
410 after deleting your site (except the backup for download). This informs bots that your site won’t come back, so ideally wait some time until most bots visited your site again.
If you can afford to wait longer:
- Check your logs for referers (possible sites to inform).
- Check incoming mail (possible accounts to change or persons to inform).
- After some time, stop your email server, and wait as long as you can. Incoming mails will bounce and the senders will hopefully stop sending emails after some time.
Now shut everything down, cancel your domain and hosting account, and regret it later ;-)
I would end the web hosting of your www.mysite.com but I would keep access to your email and not give up your actual site name. You may wish to use robots.txt tags to disallow all access.
If you are selling your domain to a new owner you can sign a legal agreement regarding email use, etc. But if you simply "do not need" the domain and it contains your brand name or related products I would follow a careful process as described above.
If unclear about the robots.txt: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6062608?hl=en
Also: I would run a check on Google search (in the address bar type) with site:mysite.com and see what is indexed.
Just a parting note: IF your site is more than 10 years old and had good content (original content that can be related to your present work) I would keep it up for outbound link value.