Perhaps the most frightening thing that can happen to any domain name owner is discovering that your domain name has expired. All of the hard work that you’ve put into developing your online brand may now be in jeopardy, with your domain name available for anyone to grab. It can be quite easy to forget that even though a domain name belongs to you right now — and maybe it has for a very long time — it is still possible for your ownership to be lost.
One of the most unfortunate situations the Hover support team frequently runs into is when a domain name has unexpectedly expired. As much as we’d like to help recover the domain, this can often be impossible because of how far into the expiration process a domain is. Additionally, even if a domain is technically possible to recover, problems due to incorrect account information might make this a challenge as well.
Here’s the good news: it’s easy to prevent your domain names from expiring. Below are the most common reasons we see domains unexpectedly expire all the time, and what you can do to make sure that they don’t happen to you.
1. Auto-renew wasn’t enabled
The easiest way to remember to renew your domain name is to set your account up so you don’t have to remember to renew your domain name. All you need to do is login to your account and select Auto Renew beside the domain you’d like to keep.
With this checkbox selected, when your domain is approaching expiry, it will automatically renew itself for you one day ahead of the expiry date whenever possible, just to make sure nothing goes wrong. As long as your billing information is up-to-date (more on this later), this process will run smoothly in the background without any extra effort required on your end. Not bad for about five seconds of work clicking a checkbox.
2. Renewal reminder notices turned off
I know, I know, emails can be annoying; sometimes, though, these emails can actually be important. Oftentimes, customers will opt out of receiving renewal reminder emails, only to one day see that their domain has unexpectedly expired because they never received a renewal reminder email. Upsetting, for sure, but hey — we tried to warn you!
Much like enabling Auto Renew, opting into renewal reminders is as simple as selecting checkboxes. These are selected by default, so if you’ve deselected them we strongly urge you to opt back in.
3. Renewal reminders go to spam
Even if you’ve been staring unblinkingly at your inbox and feverishly pressing refresh while you await your renewal reminders, there still might be a chance that you won’t receive your notices. Depending on what mail client you’re using, it’s possible that your renewal reminders are going to your spam or junk folder.
To make sure you’ll get these important emails, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book or whitelist.
4. Outdated billing information
When your credit card is about to expire, it’s easy to forget that this means you’ll have to update the billing information for a random domain you bought and set up five years ago. That’s why we send you an email on each of the five renewal attempts we make (when Auto Renew is enabled). If you miss these notices because they’re going to spam (see the previous point) or you’re outright ignoring them (how rude!) then your domain will expire if a working credit card is not added in time.
5. Work/organization email used in account information
When you have numerous email addresses, it can be hard to keep track of which address you use for each of the many services you use. For your domain name, this can lead to disastrous results when you no longer have access to the email address that’s associated with your domain name.
A common scenario we always see is someone forgetting their password but no longer having access to the email address needed to reset their password. If you’ve left whatever organization you were with when registering your domain name, you now have to have the awkward task of asking them to help you access your old email address. This can often be impossible due to security concerns or even because the address no longer exists.
This scenario is not all doom and gloom, though. We allow you to renew your domain without logging into your account, which will keep your domain online if worst comes to worst and you can’t log in.
6. Work/organization email NOT used in account information
On the flip side, things can be challenging for an organization as well. A domain name is registered by a member of an organization, and if the domain was registered through that person’s personal email address, it will be tricky if that person is no longer there when it comes time to access the domain’s account — especially if you’re not exactly in their good books these days.
To prevent this from happening, ensure that the person registering your domain is doing so with their work email. This way, if they are not around when account access is required, someone at the office should be able to access the required email account.
7. Many domain providers
The more services you use to manage your domains, the easier it is to lose track of them, especially when you have a ton of domain names. You might have recently logged into the two services that hold 99% of your domains, but forgot about the third service that manages your one remaining domain. By consolidating all of your domains into one or two services, it’ll be much easier to keep tabs on all of your domains at a quick glance.
8. Domain email used in account information
It’s exciting to start using your new custom domain email address as your primary email, and we think that’s awesome; except in one very specific case. If you use your domain email to manage the domain name it’s associated with, things will get very tricky if you ever forget your password, since you won’t be able to access your email in order to retrieve your lost password. Plus, if you miss the expiry date, you won’t have access to your email during the renewal grace period.
In other words, you won’t be able to access your email address because there’s no email address to access!
9. Waited too long to renew
Despite all of the warnings and renewal attempts on our end, if you’ve waited too long before deciding to take action to renew your domain then you’ll eventually reach a point where nothing can be done. On the day of expiry, you will lose the rights to the domain. Whenever possible, we will conditionally renew the domain on your behalf (where registry rules allow) to give you time to renew. If you still don’t renew during this period then it will be assumed that you don’t want your domain anymore.
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: Renew your domains early!
This way you’ll catch problems along the way before it’s too late to fix them and keep your domain. Speaking of which, if there are any Hover domains you’d like to renew now, you can do here.