What happens when I forget to renew my domain?

A client contacted me earlier in the week because her site had disappeared and she didn’t know why.

Long story short she hadn’t received the emails her registrar had sent her letting her know that her domain was due for renewal, so her domain had lapsed.

It happens. It happened to me once on a domain I received email through so my site was down and people couldn’t even tell me because my email didn’t work either.

Anyway…I wanted to write a blog post about the technical aspect of what happens when you forget to renew your domain.

In the beginning your website is all happy. It’s receiving traffic from various sources and sharing your wealth of knowledge with your people. It’s been doing this for about 11 months and then you’ll get reminder emails from your domain registrar telling you that your domain is coming up for renewal.

If you’ve set your domain up to auto-renew you shouldn’t have a problem. Your credit card will be billed and your website will carry on like normal. Alternatively, you can log into your registrar and manually renew, your website will be a happy little Vegemite, as bright as bright can be.

BUT…if auto-renewal fails or you forget to renew manually here’s what happens.

For about 30 days your registrar will hold your domain for you. Meaning only your account has the ability to renew the domain. This is grace period isn’t guaranteed so don’t rely on it.

After the 30 day grace period ends your registrar will delete it from their database. The domain will then go back to the registry* where it will be held for a further 70-80 days (the redemption period). At this point you’ll need to get in touch with your registrar and tell them you want to reinstate your domain and they’ll help you through the process.

While the domain is in the redemption period you may need to pay an additional fee to re-register your domain.

Once the redemption period is up the domain will be released to the public for purchase or auction (if it’s a popular domain name). If you’re lucky you might be able to snap it up at this point, but don’t bank on it.

When you do renew your domain it can take up to 24 hours before your site is back online.

And that’s what happens when you forget to renew your domain.

*Registry is kind of like a warehouse for domains. Your registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy will buy domains from the registry, where as you buy from the registrar.

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