Losing a domain name is more than a slight inconvenience — it’s a big blow to your brand, your business, and your customer relationships.   

If you’re new to domains, you might not realize that they can expire, and that’s because domains aren’t a “one and done” type of purchase. When you register a domain name you’re in effect leasing it for a set amount of time, usually anywhere from 1 to 10 years.  

In this post, we’re discussing the importance of domain names, the lifecycle of domain names, what happens when a domain name expires, and domain name renewal.

Why should you renew your domain name?

The importance of a domain name

Domain names are more important than you might at first realize. They’re a big part of your online identity and represent your business.

A good domain name offers your business credibility and sets it apart from spammy websites. It inspires trust in your customers, gives your SEO efforts a boost, and gives you a central point to grow and market your digital business.

The perils of losing your domain name

When you lose your domain name, you lose an integral part of your brand. Your domain is a pivotal touchpoint that people have with your brand — in essence, it’s the address they need to arrive on your digital doorstep.

If you don’t renew your domain name and it expires, it’s available for purchase by just about anyone, including your competitors. Could you imagine a competitor snatching up your domain name and redirecting it to their main site? They wouldn’t even have to create a redirect to hurt your business, all they’d have to do is hold on to the domain name so that you can’t use it anymore.

Expired domain names are a hot commodity. Once a domain name has been registered and used, it can offer a history of established website traffic and backlinks, making them valuable to a great many people.

It’s not just competitors you have to worry about when your domain name expires. An expired domain name can impact your SEO, or search engine optimization. If your site goes down because your domain expired, it looks pretty bad to search engines, and there’s a good chance your site will lose its ranking in search engine results.

And then there’s the brand-building aspect that you have to worry about. When a domain name expires, you risk losing it altogether to another buyer. That means all the hard work you’ve put into marketing, establishing your site, and creating consumer trust is gone. GONE. It’ll set you back to the beginning of your digital journey and you’ll need to build those things all over again.

Real-life examples of expired domain names

Have you heard of Foursquare? When they were just a startup, they forgot to renew their domain name. For a business that was valued at nearly $80 million dollars at the time, that was a giant mistake and left them open to a lot of ridicule.

An expired domain name can also hit you where it hurts the most — right in your wallet. In 2017, Sorenson communications forgot to renew their domain name. However, they’re a provider of services for many Americans with disabilities and their domain expiration gaff was deemed “a preventable service outage.” In the end, they had to pay $2.7 million dollars on top of an additional $252 thousand dollar penalty. Ouch.

The lifecycle of a domain name

Domain name lifecycles can be broken down into four pieces: Active, Expired, Redemption Grace Period, and Pending Deletion.

  • Active
    • When your domain is active, you can change its settings and modify contact information. Having an active domain name is essential to keeping your website online and your professional email working.
    • A domain becomes active once it’s been registered, those registration periods lasting anywhere from 1 to 10 years.
  • Expired
    • A domain officially becomes expired one day after its expiration date. Your website and any email addresses associated with your domain name won’t function. Instead, your website will display a “parked” page.
    • Note: Others can bid on and attempt to purchase the domain name as soon as it expires; however, your claim to the domain takes priority over 3rd party bids if you renew your domain within 30 days of its expiration.
  • Redemption Grace Period
    • After about 45 days of being in an expired state, the domain name will enter a redemption grace period. Some TLDs may enter redemption status the day after they expire.
    • Note: If your domain is in a redemption period you can still retrieve it. Most registrars will charge a redemption fee in addition to your normal domain renewal rate. You can contact us if your domain was registered through Domain.com and you need to redeem it during the redemption period.
  • Pending Delete
    • Once a domain enters the pending delete stage it can no longer be retrieved. It will remain in this status for about 5 days and then be released back into the public for new registration. If this happens, you can try to purchase the domain name again, assuming someone else doesn’t, and not have to pay any redemption fees, only the regular registration fee.

Domain name renewals

If you’re a Domain.com customer, we make renewing your domain easy. Instead of having to set a yearly calendar reminder or a bunch of reminders depending on how many domains you own, we give you the option of automatically renewing your domain name.

You can find the auto-renewal option in your account once you’re logged in. All you have to do is click “Domains” at the top left of the page, then select “Manage” under the domain name you’d like to set to auto-renew. You should then see the selection for auto-renew, and a quick switch of the toggle is all it takes as you see below.

Domain name renewal tips

Here are some tips we’ve put together to try and help make life a little easier when managing your domains.

  • Keep your renewal reminder notices turned on. If you turn them off and don’t have auto-renew set up, it could be a recipe for disaster. We’ll send an email 30 days before your domain is set to expire and again within 5 days of the day it expires.
  • Set your domains to automatically renew. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing an email reminder in a potentially over-crowded inbox.
  • Update any outdated billing information. If you lose your credit or debit card, or if it expires naturally, you don’t want to find yourself in a bind. Instead of risking the loss of your domain name, go through your statements to see what charges are there and update those services with your new card information.
  • Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate! It’s not easy keeping track of multiple domain names with different expiration dates across different registrars. We recommend keeping your domains with one registrar where you can see them all in one place.
  • Is your email address up to date? If it’s not, you’ll never receive any domain expiration reminder emails. If the domain is your own, make sure your email address isn’t associated with a school or business you no longer attend or work for.

Protect your business, your brand, and your site with domain auto- renew

Purchasing a domain name is your first investment in your website and online business. Keep the momentum going by setting it to auto-renew so that you don’t lose your domain name and tarnish your brand.

No domain name? Grab yours today at Domain.com!