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November 24, 2006

Dont let your domain expire

Filed under: Domain Safety — Newbiesite Admin @ 12:15 am

Regain control of domain is a common problem for small business webmasters as they forget where they had registered their domains. WHOIS my registrar? Why didn’t I get an email about renewal? Why did my site stop working today?

People rarely realize how important it is to keep their domain registrar notified of changes to their email address and other contact information. The registrar will send renewal notifications to the email address last on file. For most domain owners, the only time they think about contacting a registrar is the day they reserve their domain name. If they move to a new city and get a new internet service provider, it doesn’t occur to them that the old email address will change and that means that the registrar can no longer contact them through the previous address, or phone or fax as each of them change and we rarely notify the controller of our domain of those changes.

Sometimes the first indication a business owner will have that there is a problem is the day their web site stops working. If they failed to notify their domain registrar of changed email address, they may never have received their domain renewal notice. Since many registrars honor a 30 day “redemption period” allowing expired domains to be redeemed, it may be possible to save the registration within 30 days following expiration by contacting registrars during 30 day domain redemption periods So how does a domain owner find out who their registrar is if they’ve forgotten? Simple WHOIS inquiries will tell you everything the registrar knows about your domain. Public WHOIS records show the owner’s contact email, street address, phone and fax numbers. But that’s not all; it also shows the current registrar, DNS servers, the creation and expiration dates of the domain name. Here is how to check your WHOIS data.

Type the following into your browser address bar :

http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/whois.ch?ip=newbiesite.com

Replace newbiesite.com with your domain name.

So now that you are armed with WHOIS data, you can see:Who the registrar is. (Hence WHOIS)

1. Who the Domain Administrative, technical contacts are.
2. Owner names, addresses, emails, phone and fax numbers.
3. Domain creation, expiration and “last updated” dates.
4. Domain servers and backup servers

What do you do if your domain name shows expired and it has stopped working? Do that WHOIS search and contact the listed registrar at their customer support number or email. They’ll ask you to prove who you are by verifying some registration details. If you can’t remember access passwords to log in to domain management consoles, they’ll often accept faxed copies of your photo ID or a some standard identification proof and reset your username and password to give you access again.

Keep your registrar name, your log in username, password and domain management URL permanently recorded somewhere with your most important business papers. Don’t allow anyone to register your domain name for you if they don’t put YOUR name, email address and phone numbers in “Administrative Contact” position during registration.

You can protect your domain name by registering it for the maximum time of ten years and extend it every year to that final, tenth year, rather than waiting for it to near expiration. This will prevent you losing control of the name, but shouldn’t mean you can forget your registrar login details or renewal date. How likely is it that you will move, or at least change internet service providers within that ten years? Be sure to keep your registrar apprised of new email, street address, phone numbers at all times! Especially that all important Administrative contact email. “WHOIS” your domain registrar? Do you have domain name management console login details? Have you extended your registration to ten years? Your business is worth careful domain name management.

The normal domain expiration process for .com .net (domain deletion cycle):

Phase 1. Active Domain

A domain is registered for a time period of 1-10 years. During this time the domain owner has unrestricted use of the domain.

Phase 2. On-Hold

At the end of this time period, the registrant is required to pay a renewal fee to the registrar to continue to use the domain. If the domain is renewed go back to phase 1, if not the domain is placed in an onhold (on-hold) status for 1-45 days (each registrar has determines how long this period lasts). During this time, the registrant (owner of the domain) can still pay the renewal fee and continue to use his/her domain name. During this onhold period the domain resolves to the registrars website or does not resolve at all.

Phase 3. Redemption

After the 1-45 day onhold period, the domain then enters redemption status (RGP – Redemption grace period), which lasts for 30 days. During this time the registrant of the domain name has the option to pay a redemption penalty fee (redemption fees generally cost between $100-200 depending on the registrar) and renew the domain. If the domain owner renews the domain go back to phase 1. During this redemption period the domain resolves to the registrars website or does not resolve at all.

Phase 4. Pending Delete

After the domain completes the 30 day redemption period without being renewed, it then enters a 5 day pending delete period. During this the time the registrant no longer has the ability to renew the domain name. The domain will be released to the general public and be available for registration on the sixth day at 2pm eastern.(This drop process does not hold true for exclusive backorders)Domains are an ever changing industry. Over the last 2 years, many things have changed including many variations of the domain deletion process. The above mentioned process is the norm, but every day more and more registrars are starting to have exclusive drops.

Don’t lose your domain. You can even make money if you wish you to giveup the domain. Keep watching for that news….

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