Every day more than 1,000 domain names expire. But it’s not always on purpose. It may sound improbable, but people lose their domain names by accident all the time.
Whether your domain is for your business or your blog, losing it can put you in hot water. It can confuse your customers, put a dent in your sales and, at worst, could lead to an entire re-branding of your company.
That’s why we put together this guide; to explain the ins and outs of domain name expiration and what to do if it happens to you.
Domain Names Aren’t For Life
When you buy a domain name, you choose how long you want to keep it; anywhere between one and 10 years. If it’s an important domain name, it’s best practice to register it for the maximum amount of time.
If you’ve bought your domain through Midphase, we’ll send you a series of email reminders to let you know that your domain name is nearing its expiration date. The first one will arrive 30 days before your domain is due to expire.
If you’re using our new CHI dashboard to manage your products, these updates will also appear in your notifications area.
Midphase has years of experience in registering domain names, so it’s second nature to us to know what to do if you accidentally lose yours. By default, we’ll automatically renew your domain name so there’s no risk of losing it. For auto-renewal to run smoothly, however, you need to make sure your credit card details are up to date in your account. If they’re not, we won’t be able to take payment and renew the domain.
It is possible to opt-out of auto-renewals by setting your account to manual renewals If you’ve set your account to manual renewals, you need to log-in to your account and automatically renew your domain name yourself.
What to Do if You Miss the Renewal Date
Don’t panic. After your domain name expires, it goes into a suspended phase or you’re given a 30-day grace period to make a late payment.
What to Do if You Miss The Grace Period
After the grace period, your domain name goes into the ‘domain redemption’ phase. This is your third and final chance to renew your domain. This stage lasts for around 30 days although it depends on the domain. You have to pay to renew your domain at this point. The cost isn’t cheap at $275 plus one year’s regular domain registration fee.
What if My Domain Name is the Same as My Trademark?
Even if your domain is the same as your trademarked name, you can still lose it. In the US, domain names cannot be trademarked and they don’t carry copyright. Of course, if a competitor starts trading under your old domain name, they are in breach of your trademark. However, it’s perfectly legal for someone in a completely different industry to start doing business using your old domain name.
When Do Expired Domain Names Go Back On Sale?
After the domain redemption phase is over, it will eventually go back on sale to the public although there is no set amount of time in which it will become available again. Be wary of waiting until this stage to try and buy back your domain. Some people make their living out of buying expired domains. Some sell them on at a high price, others use the sites to post pay per click ads to turn profit. Getting your domain name back at this stage isn’t as easy at it might sound on paper.