What Happens If Your Domain Name Expires?

Expired domain name.

What happens if your domain name expires depends partly on your domain name registrar. A domain name registrar is where you purchased and registered the domain. (For example, GoDaddy, Google Domains, Namecheap.) Each registrar has its company policies, but all have to follow a minimum of basic rules set by ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

You will need to consult with your registrar to determine their exact procedures. The following are the only guidelines they must follow.

A Brief Timeline of the ICANN Rules for Domain Expirations

  • You will receive notices ahead of the renewal date, assuming your registrar has your current contact information.
  • One day after expiration, your domain will be “parked”. Things associated with the domain name may cease to work (eg. your website, your email).
  • You have 30 days where you have the right to rescue your domain name. (Meanwhile, after day 1, you may lose use of your email.)
  • And, between day 30 and 45, the domain can be put up for auction. If it is still available when you check at this point in time, you may be able to pay a redemption fee in order to get it back.
  • After that last auction date, if no one has purchased the domain, the registrar can return the domain to the registry.
  • At this point, if you are lucky enough that it is still available, you would go through general registration again to regain access.

Your Domain Name is Critical to Your Business

Sure, you could always get a new domain name. But you will be starting your marketing from scratch. Here’s the value of your domain name:

  • People have saved links to your site. If someone else owns your domain, and someone clicks their saved link, it will go to the new owner’s website.
  • People have your email address in their contacts and on business cards you’ve given out. They will be unable to reach you through email.
  • Google My Business, social media and probably a slew of online listings cite your business name, address and phone number as attached to that website address. You will need to pay for these to be corrected in order to rebuild your online presence.
  • Your search engine optimization will be starting at zero. It is your website address that has built up search credibility. That credibility follows your old domain name to its new owner. That’s one reason it has value to others when it is auctioned.

Main Takeaway for Renewing Your Domain Name After it Expires

Act quickly as soon as you are aware your domain expired. Find out what the rules are for your exact registrar as they have different practices.

If it is in the “auction period” and you are able to pay the redemption fee to get it back, seriously consider it. The loss of a domain name is huge. If someone scoops it up at auction (this is likely as there is an industry built around this and your domain has some valuable SEO attached), it will cost much more (often in the thousands) to purchase it from them.

How to Prevent Loss of Your Domain Name

With all that’s riding on your domain name, it would benefit you to take a moment to build as much insurance around it as possible. Here are some ideas.

Sign up for auto-renewal

This will help. But you still need to make sure your credit card on file is up to date.

Purchase a longer grace period

Some registrars allow you to purchase domain name protection that gives you a much longer grace period. But all these other procedures still apply as the grace period only buys you some extra time!

Update your contact information at your registry

Make sure your phone and email are current. You might consider adding a personal email address to your account so that, if your professional email goes down due to your domain name lapsing, you still get any notifications.

Know your renewal date

Add it to any and all calendars you use. Ask a family member who is organized to remind you as well. If you renew for years at a time (the most allowed is 10 years), you will need to renew less often but it will be harder to remember to renew. Also, it is more likely your contact or credit card will change over time. Is the risk worth the multi-year savings?

Pay attention to notifications from your registrar

Besides actually reading and responding to your notifications, you will become familiar with what your registrar communications look like. This will help you spot any spammy company posing as your registrar.

Don’t wait until the last minute to renew

You won’t save any money by doing that. Your renewal date will stay the same no matter how soon you renew. If you originally signed up on October 1 and you get an email the next August. If you renew in August, your renewal date will remain the following October.

Know the rules of your registrar

Each registrar is different. Document the rules of your registrar so that you know whether or not to panic if your site goes down from a domain expiration.

Next Steps for You

  • Find out what your registry rules are.
  • Know your renewal date.
  • Put all reminders and assurances into effect.
  • Update your contact information and credit card at your registry often.
  • Act quickly if you see your domain has expired, your website is no longer visible or your email has stopped working.
  • Make a point to pay for registration ahead of time.

If you would like guidance with your website, online properties and search presence, book a brief call with us and consider joining one of our website security and care plans.