When I first started making websites, I registered domain names for clients on my personal Domain Registration account.
This was easier for them and for me because they avoided the domain-name-connection-to-website routine, let alone explaining Registration versus hosting, DNS, Nameservers, unwanted tote bags and water bottles added to the cart at GoDaddy, etc, etc…
I paid attention to renewal notices and made sure I kept a current credit card on file at my Registrar for auto-renewals.
I don’t do it anymore because of two reasons.
- People should own their domain names directly
Now, I help clients with domain registration and, on occasion, domain expiration.
Your Expiration Is Important To Us
Domain Registrars are the fine folk knighted by Lords of the Domain Names, ICANN, to parcel out and keep track of domain names.
The title of this post refers to Domain Registrars fun and profit. Not yours.
You see, if you want a website that people will actually be able to visit, you need to purchase a valid domain name.
That’s where the fun comes in for Registrars selling all those variations of a domain names dot com, dot org, dot net, dot edu, dot this, dot that, and the new dot much-more-expensive extensions. Dot dot dot.
My first website had no domain name. It was a generic host-provided url with umlauts after the name of my host, my username and their server, which they named “Titanic.” Very apt name as things turned out.
Anyway, you need a domain name without umlauts. Even if you are Swedish.
And, you need to pay attention to emails from your Registrar.
That is because Registrars can charge outrageous restoration fees depending on how long the domain you want re-instated has been expired.
They are also in the business of selling expired domain names.
If it is a three or four letter domain name, they would just love to make thousands or more selling the name to the highest bidder.
One client of mine let expire a four-letter dot com domain name. I had a four-letter response when I found out about it later.
Another client let their non-profit dot org domain expire, only to see it picked up for use by a porn site. I helped the non-profit get the domain name back.
Even though Registrars abuse your special relationship with them by sending you spam emails about offers of tote bags and water bottles featuring your domain name on them, if you miss a renewal notice, they can take your domain name away from you.
Registrars are only required to contact you by email. In fact, if you ever get a call from someone about your domain name you can trust that it is a scam, or a lonely Customer Satisfaction Associate crying out for help.
Cascade Of Failures
Allowing a domain name to expire causes failure all down the line, from Registrar to Hosting service. Restoring a lapsed domain is a task that usually takes a knowledgeable person several sessions over 2 or 3 days, multiple calls or chats with Registrar and web host support, and dealing with well-meaning techs who will tell you all is fine, only to find that propagation has not even begun.
Propagation is the time it takes the world to see your domain name connect up with your website.
Until then, your site and domain-based email stay DOWN.
How To Avoid Expiring
Call your Registrar and negotiate a discount for paying 5 or 10 years of renewal up front. That reduces the cost and the chance of expiration happening to only every 5 or 10 years!
Notices about domain or hosting renewal should not come to an email address on the same domain you have registered with them.You won’t get emails when that domain is expired. Use a Gmail or other address for your contact info at the Registrar.
Contact information on each domain also needs to be checked to make sure your registration is not under some long gone-email address, or ‘disappeared’ webmaster. The Lords of the Domain Names, ICANN, are getting more picky about contact detail being accurate.
Use one Registrar for all your domains. Registering domains at two or more Registrars is confusing and you will never remember where a domain is registered.
Note all your domain expiration dates in your online calendar, with reminders several weeks before the renewal date.
And remember to Keep the Aspidistra Flying!