Losing your domain is a big deal for any site owner. A client of ours recently had their domain expire because they didn’t renew their domain, leaving them without email or a working website. As anyone can imagine, this can have a devastating effect on your business and productivity.
Usually, someone will notice that their website is down and figure out that they have to renew their domain name contract, and after it expires there’s usually a period when you can get it back. However, after this period, which typically lasts anywhere from two weeks to 30 days, your domain is up for grabs, meaning that you could lose it for a year or more.
There are many reasons why someone would buy your domain after it expires. They could register your domain to try to sell it back to you for to someone else, or create a webpage at the domain for ad revenue. Of course, they may not be hoping to get your domain for a nefarious reason. Someone could be waiting for your domain to expire so that they can start a legitimate website using that perfect domain name.
We put together the following suggestions to help you avoid losing your domain:
Sign up using the email address you use regularly
If your domain expires, all the email addresses that use that domain name will also expire. To get around this, you should register for your domain using an email address that doesn’t end in your domain name. This will be the address that your domain provider will use to contact you. It could be a free email address from a service like Gmail or Hotmail, but make sure that you sign in regularly or else the account could be closed because of inactivity.
Create a paper file of your domain information
Your business should have a hard copy of your domain information. Make a special mention of when the date the domain registration is due to expire, and when the credit card used to pay for the account expires. Making a paper copy of your login information and putting it in a safe place can be a great way to keep this essential information available, and save you from being locked out of your domain account in case you forget any of the credentials.
Keep contact info up to date
It’s vitally important that your domain provider know your current email and billing address so they can contact you. It’s in your domain provider’s best interests to remind you to re-register your domain, and most will send you reminders to renew your domain before it expires.
Put your domain provider on your email safe list
To ensure you can receive emails from your registrar, place their email address on an email whitelist so that an important renewal reminders don’t accidentally go into your junk email folder.
Opt for auto-renewal
If your registrar has an automatic renewal, you may want to use this option. It’s usually easy to turn auto-renewal off if you decide to
Have a current credit card on file
Be sure that your credit card information is up to date. If the credit card your registrar has on file expires, so does your domain.
Make sure your domain is yours
If you deal with a Web designer or Web host, it’s possible that your domain name is not registered in your name. You can find out what name is registered to your domain buy searching your domain’s WHOIS info. If your domain is owned by someone else, you should request a change in the registration info so that you’re the named owner of the domain. You should have the domain in your name because it will be easier to transfer to a new service provider if, for instance, the company that manages your domain or website goes out of business.
What to do if you lose your domain
Sometimes it happens that your domain accidentally expires, and someone else has registered the domain before you’ve been able to buy it again.
In this case, you may be able to contact whomever bought it and buy it back from them. If your domain corresponded to a registered trademark or business name, you could file a complaint with the domain name regulatory body known as ICANN under its Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy. If these options don’t work, you may have to wait a year or more before the domain becomes available again, and hope that whoever bought the domain didn’t think to renew it.
As long as you’re careful, though, you’ll be able to keep the domain you have for as long as you want.
Need help keeping tabs on your domain? We’re very careful at Kobayashi Online that the domains we manage don’t expire without you knowing about it.