A recent customer experience highlighted the danger of letting your domain name lapse. It resulted in additional costs and downtime for their website and email services, not to mention the hassle and time involved in fixing the problem. How did this happen, what’s involved when a domain URL lapses and what can you do to make sure this doesn’t impact negatively on your business.
The information discussed here is primarily focused on the .co.nz TLD (Top Level Domain – used to describe the end section of a URL), however it applies in a general way to all domain names.
Registered domains (such as pogostick.co.nz) are valid for a specific period of time. The minimum period a domain can be registered for is 12 months (some TLDs have a longer minimum period, for example a .co.uk domain is required to be registered for a minimum of two years.
A domain name can be registered for up to 10 years, and while this offers a small amount of SEO benefit (Google may use the domain age and length of registration as signals in determining quality sites), there is no cost saving buying multiple years.
When a domain is approaching its renewal anniversary, the domain registrar (such as Discount Domains) will issue the technical contact on the domain name with a reminder notice that the domain will need to be renewed. At PogoStick Web Services we action these reminders by issuing an invoice to the client that covers the renewal of their domain name and 12 months hosting paid in advance (which is currently $78 for a .co.nz domain name, or around $6 a month – very cheap hosting). As soon as the client pays the invoice, the domain is renewed for another 12 months. Clients are welcome to renew for longer – simply multiple the cost by the number of years registration is required for, and let us know so we can adjust the invoice.
What if a domain lapses?
The customer mentioned at the outset got into trouble when the email reminder sent out was ignored. The domain passed the expiry date without being renewed and, after about a week, enters what is known as the redemption period. The redemption period for .co.nz domains is 90 days (as set by the NZ Domain Name Commission), for other TLDs it may be less e.g. .coms are 30 days. While in the redemption period it can only be renewed after paying a fee to the registrar to release it, normally around $150.
If the domain isn’t renewed during this period it enters a five-day delete period and then the domain can be registered again on a ‘first come, first served’ basis by anyone.
Make sure your business isn’t affected
- Check your contact details – Make sure we have your current email address – we will use the last known email address so if this has changed then please let us know to make sure you get your email reminders. In most cases we only send one reminder so it’s important to act promptly when it arrives.
- Renew for more than one year – Pay the extra to keep your domain secure for longer – it saves fussing around it with every year.
- Use the WHOIS lookup – You can find out when your domain is set to expire by entering your domain name on a WHOIS lookup page e.g. pogostick.co.nz and checking the results (see the image on this page).
- Renew early – There’s no harm in renewing early, don’t leave it to the last minute and it doesn’t mean you pay more.
If you have any questions about renewing your domain, what’s involved and what the costs are feel free to contact us.