“BRETT! WHERE IS MY WEBSITE!!!! OMG!!!!!!!! MY WEBSITE IS GONE, MY WEBSITE IS GONE!!!!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!!!!!! FIRE IN THE MOVIE THEATRE!!!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE… ITS PEOPLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!!!”
These fun emails or voice mail messages (okay, some are movie quotes) delivered desperately, loudly, frantically and usually on a holiday weekend, come in far more often than I would like. Mostly because someone has ignored an email from the Domain Registrar Company who manages their domain names and has unknowingly let their domain expire. Then their domain name – NOT THEIR WEBSITE – has been pulled down.
More often than not this can get fixed quickly with a phone call to your Domain Company and a good credit card. But if you wait too long after it has expired, your domain name will go out on the open market and will be scooped up by an unscrupulous person, usually in another country, who will gladly sell it back to you for a prohibitively high amount of money.
CHRONOLOGY OF EXPIRED DOMAINS
Once your domain has expired, as a courtesy, many companies will leave it up and running for up to a week before pulling the plug or “suspending” it.
At 30 days after expiration, your domain goes into what’s called “Redemption” – a purgatory-like state between “heaven” (the state of you owning your domain) and “hell” (when your domain is back on the open market and is picked up by a domain grabber/ransomer). This “redemption period” lasts until 80-100 days after expiration.
Getting your domain out of Redemption can cost as much as $100 or more depending on the registrar. Though expensive, this is not nearly as bad as the thousands of dollars in “ransom” you may be asked to pay if your domain is picked up in the open market.
Another option for getting your domain back, though not guaranteed, is to put a “Backorder” on your domain so that when it does come out of redemption, you have a chance of owning it again. Domain Backordering costs around $20, but if someone else also has a Backorder on the same domain, you may not get it back. (Do you feel lucky?)
DOMAIN NAME ISSUES ARE NOT YOUR WEBSITE HOSTING COMPANY’S FAULT!
Most good website hosting companies have a 99.9% uptime record, even better than the purity of Ivory Soap! Before you freak out on them, go to this website and see if your domain has expired or not:
If your domain HAS expired, call the phone number listed in the contact information immediately and not your website hosting company.
If you pay attention to your website and you know your domain has just recently expired, chances are very good that you will be able to get it back under your control and serving up your website in minutes for just the normal cost of your Domain Renewal. I hope this is your experience. (Tip: Put the domain company’s phone number in your cell phone in case you need to call from a distant location. Keep your domain account number, password and PIN# on a card in your wallet.)
Repeat after me: “My Domain Registrar Company and my Website Hosting Company are two different entities. If my domain expires, I will call my Domain Registrar Company.”
LEARN WHO YOUR DOMAIN REGISTRAR IS AND DO NOT IGNORE THEIR EMAILS.
I understand how much spam you must get daily as well as other junk mail. Plus, you’re getting faxed and postal mailed with either alarming messages that you are going to lose your domain name or an “invoice” shows up that is urgent and must be paid. Most of these are false, misleading and borderline fraudulent.
So yes, you’re sick of it and growing a little apathetic to these red alerts coming in.
You must still learn who your Domain Registrar is and do not ignore their emails. Read each email to determine if they need you to update your information.
Your Domain Registrar will normally send you an email, not a fax or a postal mail, to let you know your domain name is going to be up for renewal. Click this link and type in your domain name to see if your current email address is the one listed as the “Administrative Contact.” If it’s not, you will not get these important emails.
Your domain name is something you need to guard continuously because losing it can waste years of efforts building up your Google ranking online as well as printing costs to replace anything with a now lost domain name.
IS YOUR CREDIT CARD EXPIRED OR NO GOOD?
The Domain Notice email may try to tell you that your card number on file has already expired, in which case it will not be able to run and your domain will expire.
DID YOUR BANK SEND YOU NEW CARDS WITH A DIFFERENT NUMBER?
With all the credit problems associated with the current economy, many banks have reissued their cards, many with a different credit card number. Did you update your billing information with your Domain Company? If you do not update your card with them, your domain will expire.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A WEBSITE?
A website is a group of web pages in a folder or “directory” stored on a computer server located somewhere. When someone clicks on a link or types in your website address (URL), the world’s servers translate your URL into the address of that server and voila – WEBSITE!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A DOMAIN?
For those who may not know the specifics, your domain is not the same as your URL (website address). Your URL “contains” your domain name, but they are not synonymous. Take Yahoo, their URL is https://www.yahoo.com but their “domain name” is simply “yahoo.com” without the “www” and without the “https://”. The “www” is what is known as a “subdomain.” Other things can be used as a subdomain than “www” – example: https://gallery.hoopjumper.com . In this instance “gallery” is the subdomain.
HISTORY OF DOMAIN FEES
In the olden days when dinosaurs roamed the earth (1994) when I first began creating websites, a domain cost $100 per year and you could only buy them from Network Solutions. Then the price dropped to $70, eventually to $35, then the monopoly ended and you could buy domains from lots of other vendors like GoDaddy and HoopJumperDomains.com for as low as $10 or less.
WHEN YOU BUY A DOMAIN, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU BUYING?
Well, you are not really buying anything, you are “leasing” the right to use a specific domain name that points to your website. Think of your “domain name” like it is the tabs on your license plate: every year they must be renewed. This of your “website” like it is your car. (If you have a HoopJumper website, think of it as a Porsche.) Even if your tabs expire, you still have your car, you just can’t drive it.
THE MORALE OF THIS STORY
Know who you registered your domain name with and make sure you pay attention to emails from them letting you know when they will renew the name and charge your credit card on file. Also, make sure you update your credit card on file when you get a new one with a new expiration date. Doing these things will help you keep your domain in your hands and help ensure that your website will stay up and working for you.
Brett Miller is the founder of HoopJumper.com and has created the best real estate websites in the industry. If you’re a Real Estate Agent and you want your Real Estate website to get noticed, go to https://www.GreatRealEstateAgentWebsites.com or check out their many services at https://www.HoopJumper.com