If you’re just starting out with building an online presence for your brand or business, you might be new to domain names. Did you know that they can expire? Domain names aren’t a “forever” purchase. Which can be both a good and bad thing. In this blog, we’ll explain more about renewing your domain name. So, read on!
What is a domain name?
Let’s briefly recap. A domain name is the address that people fill in the browser bar. Otherwise known as a URL. For example, the domain name for Bluehost is bluehost.com.
But a domain name is so much more than that. It’s your online identity. If your domain name is creative and memorable, it will draw more visitors to your website. Just remember that it also needs to be an accurate representation of your brand. If you need more help, read our blog on how to choose the right domain name.
Why should you renew your domain name?
The short answer: because they expire. When your domain name expires and you don’t renew it, it’s available for purchase by anyone. Including your competitors. This doesn’t mean they will build a website on your domain name. They will most likely redirect to their own website. Or worse, they’ll simply hold onto the name so you can’t use it anymore.
But that’s not all. As we’ve established before, your domain name is your brand’s online identity. It’s the name people use to find you. If you don’t renew your domain name, your customers will be confused. Where should they go now? You might lose their trust. Not to mention their sales. And let’s not forget all the effort you put into marketing and building a trustworthy website. If you don’t renew your domain name and lose it, you’ll need to start again from scratch.
What happens if you don’t renew your domain name?
To answer this question, we’re going to look at the cycle of a domain name. This cycle has four stages: active, expired, redemption grace period and pending delete. The first one is easy to understand. When your domain name is active, it’s yours. Your website is online and you can change its settings. But what about the others?
Every domain name has an expiration date. This might be one year after you purchase it, or ten. This depends on your provider. As soon as your expiration date has passed, your domain name is expired. And your website won’t function. Good to note: you can still renew your domain name within 45 days of its expiration.
Redemption grace period
Here’s where it gets tricky. Some TLDs (.com, .net, .co, etc.) enter redemption status the day after they expire. Others don’t. This depends on your provider, so please check what applies to you. If you want to restore your domain name during the redemption period, you will need to pay a fee. This fee cannot be waived or refunded.
Note: if you don’t want to pay the redemption fee, you will have to wait until the domain name is made available for public registration.
We’re now at day 75. At this point, you can’t retrieve your domain name anymore. You will be notified to delete the record and make it available for public registration. You can then try to purchase the domain name again.
Real life examples
To get a better picture, we’re highlighting some real life examples of companies that forgot to renew their domain name. In 2013, Regions Bank (the 22nd largest bank in the United States) forgot to renew their domain name. Customers lost the ability to access online banking, services and access to the main bank website. Services ended up being down for a week! And the bank had to make a public apology for the inconvenience.
The same thing happened to Yatra, the second largest online travel site for Indian tourists, in 2012. Because they didn’t renew their domain name on time, they lost countless customers. Not to mention their partnership with the State Bank of India, who also produced a custom travel credit card with the company. Ever since this debacle, the company hasn’t been as successful.
Now you know how important it is to renew your domain name on time. To make sure you don’t forget, here are three tips:
1. Be sure to set your domains to automatically renew. You don’t have to worry about anything!
2. If you want to decide whether or not to renew, we recommend you turn on renewal reminders. Most providers will send an email a couple of weeks in advance.
3. Do you have multiple domain names? We recommend you keep them in one place with one registrar. It’ll be much easier to keep track of your domain names this way.
Don’t let yourself be surprised
Make sure you are on top of your domain name expiration date! Either turn on auto renewal or figure out another system that works for you. You don’t want to be caught off guard by your domain name expiring.
Bluehost offers an array of useful tools to help you with your domain names, such as an easy-to-use control panel and an auto-renewal feature. Take a look at our website if you want to know more. Our team is always ready to come to your aid and answer any questions you might have.