Is it Domain Name Season for You?

Avoid the perils of an expired domain name.

Over the years we have helped many customers with the painful process of recovering their domain name when it expired without their knowing.

This can happen for a number of reasons. Maybe the email that was used to sign up with the registrar is no longer current, or the credit card it was purchased with expired, or the person who registered the domain is no longer with the company, or you thought your website host would take care of it. In any case, once the domain name expires, your website becomes inaccessible.

I like to use the cell phone analogy to explain the relationship between your website, domain name, and hosting service. Think about making a phone call. You need three things: a phone; a phone number; and a carrier (ATT, Verizon, etc.) Without all three your call cannot happen. You can buy a new phone or transfer your business to a new carrier and transfer your number, as long as you put in the effort to do so. But if don't pay your bill, or you let your “pay as you go" contract expire, you can lose your number and will have to go through the process of updating everyone in your network.

The same thing can happen with a domain name; think of it as the phone number for your website!

In the web world, you need three things: a website (phone); a domain name (phone number); and a carrier (website host). The good news is that (unlike a lost phone number) if your domain name expires, you still have a chance to get it back. Here's what happens:

  • First, the domain enters a short Grace Period. You can still renew the domain name and everything goes back to normal.

  • Next it goes into a longer Hold Period. You can still renew, but there will be a redemption fee of about $100.

  • After that some registrars try to sell it at auction to the highest bidder. If someone doesn’t buy it, the registrar releases it back to the world as an un-registered domain and will be available for general purchase. Unfortunately, there are those out there who like to grab recently expired domain names so they can peddle to customers looking for you, or sell the domain name back to you for a much higher fee.

If you manage your own domain name, make sure to keep track of your expiration date. If you are not confident about managing your own domain name, you might want to contact your hosts and ask them about domain management. For example, Montague WebWorks charges $12 a year for domain renewal.

If you need help figuring out who holds your domain name and when it is up for renewal, or if you receive emails that say your domain name needs to be renewed and the price is really high, PLEASE CONTACT US. We can help you find the info you need and identify if the notifications you’re receiving are legitimate.

Bottom line: if you have a website, make sure your domain name is renewed every year.