Do You Have a Domain Name? Here's What You Need to Know
Part V – Renewing Your Domain Name
When you register a domain name, you're able to use it for the period of time you registered it for, which is typically between one to ten years. If you want to keep using the domain name and any of the services associated with it (like a website or email service) you need to renew the domain name registration prior to its expiration. If you don't, you risk losing your domain name. ICANN does not have the authority to transfer domain names, including expired ones, back to you.
How do you avoid losing your domain name and causing significant disruption or damage to the information, service, brand or business associated with it? Here are a few pointers to help you avoid the hassle of disruptions, or the possibility of losing your domain name altogether:
Know the terms of your domain name registration
The most important thing you can do to protect your domain name is to know the terms of your domain name registration. Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, vary by registrar so be sure to read your registrar's terms of service carefully to understand the options, fees, and terms of renewing your domain name registration. It's also important to keep your contact information up to date so you receive notices of any changes to your registrar's terms of service. If you are unsure who your registrar is, you can perform a search to find out here.
Mark your calendar
Keep track of your domain name expiration date so you can renew it before it expires. Contact your registrar if you are unsure of the expiration date of your domain name.
Consider the auto-renew option
Most registrars offer auto-renewal option for domain name registrations. If you sign up for this service, be sure to keep payment information up-to-date.
Keep an eye out for renewal reminders
ICANN policy requires registrars to send you two renewal reminders approximately one month and one week before expiration of a domain name. Take immediate action when you receive these reminders to avoid the potential of losing your domain name. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date so that you receive these important reminders.
If for some reason you missed the renewal and the domain name expires, it might still be possible to renew your expired domain name, but you should act fast and contact your registrar immediately. If you are unsure who your registrar is, you can perform a search to find out here.
One of two things can happen upon expiration of a domain name:
1: Expired domain name is immediately deleted by your registrar
A registrar can delete your domain name as soon as it expires. Check the registrar's terms of service for information on how your registrar handles expired domain names. Once a domain name is deleted by the registrar, the only way to get the domain name back is to contact the registrar to restore it. Keep in mind that you only have 30 days from the date the registrar deletes the domain name to restore it. This 30-day period is called the Redemption Grace Period. If you request restoration of your domain name during this 30-day period, the request must be honored (though there may be a fee associated with the restoration effort). At the end of this 30-day period, the domain name will be deleted by the registry operator and you will no longer be able to get it back. The domain name is then available for registration by any third-party, including registrars, domainers, other registrants.
2: Expired domain name is available for renewal for a limited period of time
If the registrar does not immediately delete the name upon expiration, it may offer an Auto Renew Grace Period. This Period commences immediately upon expiration of the domain name and can last anywhere between 1 to 45 days. During this Period, you can renew your expired domain name, usually at a fee determined by your registrar. Check the registrar's terms of service to see if this Period is offered, for how many days, and any fees that might be associated with it. If the expired domain name is not renewed during this Period, the registrar can either delete the domain name (see above), auction it to a third-party, or move it to their own portfolio of domain names. Again, read your registrar's terms of service to understand their policy for handling expired domain names.
Be aware that once your domain name expires, any services associated with the domain name, such as email or a website, may be disabled. This could mean significant disruption or damage to the information, service, brand or business associated with your domain name. Keep track of the expiration date of your domain name and remember to renew it before it expires to avoid this harmful disruption.
If you plan on transferring your domain name to another registrar, make sure you complete the transfer well before the expiration date of the domain to avoid any issues. If you renew an expired domain name and then transfer your domain name during the 1 to 45 day Auto Renew Grace Period, you could be paying for both the renewal fee to your previous registrar and a registration fee to the new registrar, but only receive a one-year renewal term. If you want to be sure to avoid paying double fees, you may want to renew your domain name and then wait until after the Auto Renew Grace Period to transfer the domain name.
If you paid a renewal fee to your registrar and completed all required steps to renew your domain name but it was not renewed, your registrar may be in breach of their registration agreement with you. You might want to consult an attorney for legal advice to determine your options.
If you tried to restore your domain name during the 30-day period immediately following deletion of the domain name, but were unable to do so,your registrar may be in breach of the ICANN Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP). Submit a Domain Renewal Complaint Form to ICANN.
If you did not receive renewal reminders from your registrar (remember to check your email service's spam filters and be sure that your email address is listed as the Registered Name Holder/Registrant of record), your registrar may be in breach of the ICANN Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP). Submit a Domain Renewal Complaint Form to ICANN.
Domain Name Renewal Complaint Filing [PDF, 128 KB]
If you have suggestions or would like to submit an inquiry, please contact ICANN Global Support Center.
The 'Do You Have a Domain Name? Here's What You Need to Know' educational series is part of ICANN's broader efforts to help you better understand the ICANN policies that affect you, your role in the Domain Name System (DNS), and the role of the ICANN organization, registries, and registrars in the DNS ecosystem.