Sometimes we have a client come to us that has registered their domain with some company that is not renewing their domain for them. Other times, we have clients call going “why is my website down!”, and the reason is because they have let their domain name expire.
Read below how to protect your domain, recover it if you are not listed as the owner, and you’ve paid someone else to register it, and how to make sure that your domain does not expire.
What happens with your domain name completely depends on how the domain name is set up when it is registered for you.
If the domain is set up with your name as the owner and administrative contact, and with your correct email, the renewal system should notify you when it comes due (even if the company that originally registered went out of business).
If the company that registered the domain goes out of business and if your contact email is NOT listed on your domain registration, you won’t get notified when the domain name comes due, and the first you’ll find out is when your domain goes down because it has not been renewed.
To see what information is listed on your domain registration, go to betterwhois.com, and see who is listed as owner, technical and administrative contact. Your name should be on the ownership line, and your email should be on the administrative field.
If you are having problem renewing your domain, and your name is not listed anywhere in the registration information, you would have to file a request for resolution with the company that is providing the registration service, to gain ownership and control over the domain. This usually involves filling out forms, with copies of your ID on company letterhead, with receipts that show you paid for the domain, before they will release the domain to your control.
To find out where your domain is registered, (who you need to contact to get control over your domain) again go to “betterwhois.com” and run a query on your domain. See what company name is listed next to “REGISTRAR”, they are the company that you need to contact. Usually the next line down, “Whois Server” is a hint to their domain name, to make it easier to find them.
Bottom line is this:
Best policy is to control your domain yourself: go to a company like “domainsatcost.ca” to cheaply and easily register your own domain. Make sure that you always keep an up to date email on the account, so they can notify you when it comes due, and put it on “auto renew” so it can renew automatically.
If you own your domain (you’ve paid someone for it) you have the right to control it yourself. Go to whichever domain registrar you want to use (you should not be paying more than $15/year for the registration of a .com or .ca domain), create a free account, fill out the “domain transfer” form to initiate the transfer, and ask your current service provider to unlock the domain and provide you the authorization transfer codes to make the transfer go through.
Best of luck, and if you need help, just call and ask!