Domain names expire. While users can purchase a domain and retain their ownership yearly, some registrars allow up to a 10-year subscription. No matter the period, domain name renewals are among the most overlooked processes in website maintenance.
When you accidentally let your domain expire, you may look at a higher price and a series of tedious procedures to get it back. Let alone the possibility of finding a new domain and conducting a business rebrand in case you fail to reclaim your old domain name.
This article will discuss quick fixes to do when your domain name expires. But before we start, let’s take a look at a domain’s journey after its expiration date.
What Happens After Your Domain Name Expires?
When users click on the “Buy Domain” button on a registrar, there’s this common misconception that the name will be forever theirs. If truth be told, buying a domain isn’t a one-time purchase.
An expiring domain’s timeline consists of three stages: grace, redemption, and deletion. Here’s a closer look at the timeline:
- X-days before expiring. Nearing the expiration date, domain registrars will send a bunch of renewal notices. This is to remind users to extend their domain name ownership immediately.
- On the expiration date. If users don’t renew their domain name after the registrar’s warnings, all systems and accounts relating to a domain name will be disabled.
- Breaking into the redemption period. It’s where the domain registrar sends a deletion request to the domain’s registry. This phase is around 30 days long. During the period, renewals can only be done by registrars and may cost extra.
- Arriving at the deletion period. Five days after the redemption period has ended, an expired domain will be returned to its registry. The registry will then change the domain’s status to “domain is available” for whoever finds it first.
Quick Fixes When Your Domain Name Expires
If your domain name expired, don’t panic. Here are some handy tips to restore your expired domain name.
1. Grab the Domain Name as Fast as You Can
Expired domain names can be very attractive to auction houses. Therefore, once your domain name passes the deletion period, go to your chosen registrar to repurchase it.
If your domain name ends up listed on a marketplace’s Auction category as a premium domain name, the process may get a little challenging. This is because you may now be competing with other business owners and domainers.
Similar to the typical auction process, a domain auction also involves placing a bid and watching it throughout the whole event. On the marketplace’s Auction section, domain buyers can see all the domains on sale and their status. The status often includes:
- The domain’s reserve range.
- Remaining time.
- The number of bids.
- The highest bid.
In this situation, hiring a broker may be the best step to take. They can help you watch the auction, place the order, and process the payment. You may also ask a broker to negotiate with the auction’s project manager to help you get your domain back.
However, participating in an auction can be thrilling. It’s also a huge gamble as there’s no guarantee of winning it unless you’re willing to pay as much as it may take.
2. Place a Backorder
Placing a backorder is another way to snatch an expiring domain name, and it can be a more practical method to choose.
A backorder or a drop catch is the practice of immediately back ordering an expiring domain name as it becomes available for registration.
Once the deletion period begins, a domain name will be put into the “Pending Delete” status. This stage is where users can reach out to a domain registrar or a backorder service to place a backorder for the expiring domain.
In this situation, choosing a backorder service may be the better option. This is because backorder services have a direct connection to domain registries.
To increase the success rate, users may want to place backorders in several backorder services. Don’t worry about fees, as backorder services will only charge their clients when they successfully catch the requested domain name.
Some excellent examples of backorder services include DropCatch, Hexonet, and NameJet.
3. File a Complaint
Up to this point, we’ve been putting all the blame on you, domain owners, for incidents related to expired domains. However, there are situations when it’s not 100% your fault. Under ICANN’s protection, you’re allowed to file a complaint if you experience the following issues:
- You didn’t receive renewal notices. Domain holders have a reasonable premise to issue a complaint should they only receive the warnings within five days before the expiration date.
- Your registrar deleted your website immediately after the expiration date. Domain owners have the right to redeem their domain names after it expires. Thus, domain providers must give some time for domain owners before completely canceling their ownership.
Security Risks for Letting a Domain Name Expire
Cybersecurity is among the most important reasons to renew your domain. This is because hackers can take advantage of expired domain names. For example, they may see expired domain names as subjects for domain squatting.
Domain squatting happens when hackers purchase an expired domain only to resell it at a much higher price. They usually target the previous domain owners, as there’s a high chance that they still need it.
Dealing with domain squatting can be particularly stressful. Apart from messing up a business’s financial plan, it may also lead to brand reputation problems.
On top of that, hackers can use expired domain names to set up fake online stores to steal sensitive information. Therefore, letting a domain name expire can not only bring bad luck for the domain owner but also for others.
Preventing the Domain Name from Expiring
Losing track of a domain name’s expiration date is very easy. Business website owners may get swamped with work, from product development and lead generation to website optimization and risk analysis.
Luckily, most domain providers offer an auto-renewal option. This feature allows the domain to be renewed automatically within 30 days before its expiration date. Opting for this option can minimize the risk of a domain expiring without you noticing.
Typically, auto-renewal is the default setting for newly registered domain names. However, it’s best to check so you’re prepared.
If it isn’t set, you’re free to enable the option at any time the domain is active. Since each registrar has its own control panel, contact its customer service if you ever need help turning on the auto-renewal setting.
Another tip is to keep your registration information, like phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency contacts, up-to-date. This is to ensure all the messages from your registrar find you so that you won’t miss any alerts related to domain expiration.
Throughout this article, you’ve learned three quick fixes to do when your domain name expires. Here’s a short recap:
- Grab the domain name as fast as you can, which may include hiring a broker to help watch an auction process.
- Contact a domain registrar to place a backorder for the expired domain name.
- File a complaint if you don’t receive at least two domain expiration warnings or if your registrar immediately deletes your website right after your domain expires.
Lastly, it’s highly advisable to conduct preventive measures, including enabling domain auto-renewal and updating domain registration information. Good luck, and don’t let your domain name expire!