Did you know that if you don’t renew your domain name within the grace period (usually 2-4 weeks following the expiration date) you will lose it?
If you fail to renew your domain name within this grace period (or sooner of course), you run the risk of it becoming available for anyone to register.
There’s More to it Than Just a Domain Name
The domain name is the address of your website. Hosting is where the website actually lives, where the files that make up your website are stored.
They do not need to be at the same location, but whether they are or not, the domain name tells the internet where to find your website.
When you register a domain name, it is for a fixed period of time. When that time runs out, if you haven’t renewed your domain name, your website will no longer be visible to the public. It will physically be present on the host, but the address will no longer connect to the website.
How Does It Happen?
Here’s a real situation where a domain name expired.
Suzy (made up name) cancelled her credit card and it was the one she had on file with the registrar (GoDaddy, Namecheap or others).
At the same time, she changed her email address. Since she was the only one listed as a contact person, there was no way to let her know that her credit card wasn’t processing. Nor were the reminders being received that they typically send out two months prior to the expiration time.
What Happens if Your Domain Name Expires?
Several things actually happen.
- When someone types in your domain name, they get a screen that might say something that indicates that the domain name expired. Usually it will say that if you are the owner, to click on a link.
- Once the domain name goes up for auction, you might see something like this image on the right. Look at the price! You probably originally paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 per year for it. And suddenly it’s $2195!? You would have to be especially fond of your domain name to pay that much.
- Your customers won’t know where to find you anymore.
- You will need to completely rebuild your search engine ranking.
- You will need to change your email addresses and any marketing you’ve done that includes the old website address, e.g. business cards, Facebook About (where you entered your website address).
How to Prevent Your Domain Name From Expiring
There are a few things you can do so this doesn’t happen to you.
First, set it up to auto renew. In the example above, the account was set to auto renew, but the credit card and email were incorrect, so there was no way to auto renew.
Second, list your web developer as the Admin. This way, he or she will be contacted if there are any issues. Your credit card may simply need to have its expiration date updated.
If you don’t have a web developer, I would suggest you use a different email address as one of the contacts.
Oh, and sometimes the admin changes so be sure to keep that up to date as well. I’ve even seen where the web developer uses his or her contact information in all four contact spots. When they left the company, or the company closed, it didn’t get updated.
As you can see, it’s important to be proactive, and to have backup systems in place. If you need help with this, I can help.