Domain Responsibility

Another site that I look at often had a complaint from a reader about losing their domain name when it expired and wasn’t renewed. The reader said that they didn’t get the renewal notices, the automatic renewal didn’t work, and they had to pay quite a bit of money to get it back.

When a domain expires, it reverts back to the registrar (in this case GoDaddy, but this is common practice). The registrar can then do what they want with the domain name, often making it available for anyone else at a premium cost. If the original owner wants to get it back, it will cost much more than the original domain cost. Again, all of this is common practice among just about any domain registrar.

The owner claimed that GoDaddy didn’t notify them of the expiration. The Security Dawg has just about all of our domains registered through GoDaddy. That puts me on their mailing list. I get several emails a month from GoDaddy about their latest promotions, in addition to renewal notices.

I am the owner of record for those domains. You are required to have a valid email address (and other contact information) for all domains you own. And, once a year (or more often), you will get a notice from the domain registrar about verifying your contact information.

The reader claimed that they didn’t get any of those notices. I find that difficult to believe, when I get multiple emails a month from GoDaddy. I suspect that those notification emails were either ignored, or got routed to the person’s spam folder.

The reader claimed that they had the domain set up for auto-renewal, using an on-file credit card. If the renewal didn’t work, as when the credit card expired or was invalid, the registrar would have sent emails about that. That has happened to me: I have let a few domain names purposely expire, and I get multiple notices for renewal along with notices about expiration.

So the reader was quite incensed when they realized their web site with that domain name was no longer working. No more email (all email went through the same domain name). And then they had to pay a big premium to get the domain back.

They thought that was quite unfair.

The Security Dawg disagrees. If you are the owner a domain name (for any reason), then you have a responsbility to protect that domain name.

  • You need to make sure that all contact information is proper for the domain name
  • You need to make sure that the email addresses associated with that domain name work properly.
  • You need to ensure that the billing information (credit card number) is current.
  • You need to ensure that you get emails from the registrar – that they don’t get into your spam folder.

If the domain name is important to your business or for personal use, then you have a responsibility to ensure that you properly manage that domain name. This applies to domain name registrars, web site hosting companies, your web site code (do you have backup copies of your web site?) the whole works.

If you fail to be responsible, then you can’t complain when your domain name goes away.

The domain name belongs to you (and maybe your business). Treat it like any other valuable asset.

If you own or manage a domain, you might consider verifying that all your contact information is current. And keep an eye on expiration dates. This applies to web site hosting. And backups – you should be able to reconstruct your web site if something goes wrong (that’s another post).

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