Domain renewal and their expiration costs for startups
What happens if you don’t renew your domain name? Typically, the financial and reputational costs for startups and small businesses incurred with domain expiration can be steep. And reclaiming the expired domain can be even costlier. It is essential to know what’s at stake if your domain name expires. With so many domain renewal solutions now available, problems arising out of domain expiration can easily be avoided.
What happens when your domain name expires?
The first thing you should know is that once your renewal date lapses, your domain name will go through three stages:
1. Expiration Period
For up to 45 days, your registrar can place your domain name ‘on hold’. Your domain won’t work, users will see a ‘domain expired’ message when visiting your site, and you will need to pay reactivation costs to get your domain name back.
2. Redemption Grace Period
If you do not reactivate your domain, it will move into a Redemption Grace Period for 30 – 75 days. The costs you incur during this period are greater and, henceforth, your domain name cannot be renewed.
3. Pending Delete Period
Once a domain is moved into this final period, it cannot be renewed. It’s open to registration by anyone. While you may be lucky enough to snap it up and register it again, you’ve lost any right to claim it first.
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What are the consequences of letting your domain name expire?
Domain names can expire for a variety of reasons: you choose not to renew, or you forget, or maybe you didn’t receive the renewal reminder from your registrar. Whatever the reason, not renewing your domain name can have serious consequences for your small business.
- Total loss of your domain name to a third party who is free to do whatever they want with the domain
- Loss of all domain-associated email, documentation, and financial information to whoever reregisters it – a significance privacy and security breach
- Ransom demands from squatters who register your domain name with the intent of getting you to pay them in order to reacquire the domain
- Incurred domain name renewal costs from the registrar which are often steep
- Reputational damage when users can’t access your site
Lapsed domain name headaches for small business
UK foster agency, Little Acorn, made headline last year when it forgot to renew its domain. Once the domain was released to the public, it was registered by someone who demanded the agency pay £9,000 to get it back – along with all associated emails and documentation.
Little Acorn refused to pay the ransom, choosing instead to take legal action by filing a UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy). Fortunately, the family-run agency owned another domain, so were able to transfer their website over to it while working to get their lost domain back.
Which they did. They won their case against the man who registered the domain, someone who’s no stranger to buying up expired domains. Reports show this is not the first time he has done so, using purchased domains to create porn websites. And while there’s no illegality in doing this, Little Acorn alleged that he did so with the intent of embarrassing and pressuring them to pay a ransom.
Most small businesses like Little Acord cannot afford to take the financial, reputational, and legal hit that comes with having a domain name reregistered by someone else. Particularly if the domain is used in a way that could be considered less than savory. But, fortunately, there are several ways to avoid this headache.
What's the difference between domain name, website and web hosting?
What's a Website? Now that you have a domain name, you're going to need a website. If you're not familiar with what a website is, it's basically a page or a series of related pages that loads up after you type in a domain name in the internet browser.
Easy ways to avoid domain expiration worries
A number of domain renewal options can help you avoid the headaches that stem from a lapsed renewal.
1. Renew for the maximum domain renewal period
Domains can typically be renewed for up to ten years. An entire decade of not having to think about your domain name’s expiration date! Imagine that. Then again, a decade is a long time, so make sure you don’t ignore those renewal reminders that your registrar sends you.
2. Set your domain name to autorenewal
Rest easy knowing that your domain names are safe and that you won’t lose them. Even if after ten years’ time you forget to renew, with auto-renew, you’ll never miss a renewal date. You won’t have to think about it. As a small business owner, you’ve probably got a lot of other things to think about anyway, right?
3. Verify that your payment method isn’t set to expire
Make sure your default payment method is up to date, this is another common mistake SMB owners often make which leads to loss of domain names. And while you’re at it, make sure your domain contact information is also correct.
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4. Perform a complete domain audit
This is especially important if you have a large portfolio of domain names. Do you know how many and which domains you have? Their expiration dates? Have you deleted any domains you no longer want? Are you the primary contact person for all of your domains, the person who will receive renewal notices? If not, who is? Verify your WHOIS admin contact details.
5. Domain renewal shouldn’t be stressful
As someone who runs a startup or an online business, your brain is running on overtime with a hundred little things you have to think about. But with so many options available to you, don’t let your domain name’s expiration date become yet another concern keeping you up at night.
Since you’ve invested so much to build a great website, it is essential to work with a domain name registrar who you can trust to provide all the tools and who supports you. Preferably a registrar that ensures that your domain name renewal won’t fall through the cracks.
Although running a startup can sometimes be a headache, domain name renewal doesn’t have to be. Taking a few simple precautions will ensure you don’t run into problems.
EuroDNS, an ICANN accredited domain registrar, has been managing domain name registrations worldwide since 2002. They also offer web hosting, email, domain privacy, DNS, and SSL certificate services.