FAQs for Registrants: Domain Name Renewals and Expiration
To learn more about what happens to your domain name once its expired and about your options for possibly getting it back, read this blog.
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.
Once I register a domain name, how long does it last? Can it be renewed?
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.
What are my terms and options for renewing my domain name?
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.
How do I renew my domain name?
If you need help renewing your domain name, contact the registrar who you registered your domain name with. If you're not sure which registrar you used, conduct a search at https://whois.icann.org/en. The registrar's name will be included in the results. A link to your registrar's website is on the ICANN-Accredited Registrar list.
My domain name has just expired. Can my registrar require me to pay for a renewal before I can transfer the domain name to a new registrar?
No. You have the right to transfer an expired domain. Registrars are not allowed to deny a transfer due to expiration or non-renewal. (unless you haven't paid for a previous registration period).
However, if the current registrar has begun to delete your domain (i.e., the EPP status code (https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/epp-status-codes-2014-06-16-en)) shows the domain in Redemption Grace Period, the name must be restored by your current registrar before it can be transferred. This may result in an additional fee, sometimes referred to as a redemption fee.
I paid for my renewal, but my domain name still hasn't been renewed, what can I do?
If you paid a renewal fee to your registrar (or reseller) and your domain name was not renewed, the registrar may be in breach of the registration agreement that you entered into when the domain name was initially registered.
You may want to consult an attorney for legal advice to determine your options, or submit a complaint to a consumer protection agency (i.e. the Better Business Bureau or the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network).
What if I never received a renewal reminder?
Registrars are required to send two renewal reminders one month and one week before (and within five days after) the expiration of a domain name. The registrar must display on its website the methods for sending these notices.
If you did not receive renewal reminders from your registrar (or reseller), please submit a Domain Renewal Complaint Form.
Can I still get my domain name back if it's in the Redemption Grace Period?
Domain names that are in the 30-day Redemption Grace Period can be redeemed (or renewed) before the end of the Grace Period. If you tried to redeem (or renew) your domain name that is in Redemption Grace Period, but were unable to do so, the registrar may be in breach of the Expired Registration Recovery Policy. Your registrar must provide three renewal notices and allow a domain in Redemption Grace Period to be redeemed (or renewed).
If you were not able to redeem (or renew) a domain name in Redemption Grace Period, please submit a Domain Renewal Complaint Form.
How do I "cancel" a domain name registration?
Contact your registrar to find out your options for cancelling (removing) your domain name registration. In many cases, your domain name will expire on its own if you do not pay your domain name's renewal fees. Remember, once you cancel (remove) a domain name registration it will most likely be made available for registration by someone else.
I cancelled my domain name with you, why can't I register it elsewhere?
If you cancel a domain name or let it expire, it may be deleted by your Registrar. If deleted, the domain name will enter into a redemption period for 30 days, under which it remains available to restore. If it is not restored, the domain name will enter into PendingDelete status for 5 days. After this period, the domain name will be released and made available for registration on a first-come-first-served basis. Depending on where the domain name is in its life cycle, you may not be able to register it elsewhere right away after cancellation or expiration.
Learn more about the lifecycle of a typical generic top level domain name: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/gtld-lifecycle-2012-02-25-en
Some registrants want a refund on their cancelled domain name between days 5 and 30 of the registration period. Why can't they have one?
To prevent unauthorized transfers of domain names, there may be certain time periods where the domain name is locked (for your protection) and, therefore, you will not be able to receive an immediate refund. Contact your Registrar about the terms and conditions of receiving a refund on your cancelled domain name registration.
What if I have registered a domain name for 10 years but want to delete it before it expires?
Contact your Registrar if you would like to delete your domain name. Remember though that once you have deleted your domain name, it may be made immediately available for registration by someone else.
My domain name is gone - Where is it? Why are you charging me so much to get my domain name back, it's MY domain name!
When you register a domain name, you are 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 do not timely renew your domain name registration, it may be transferred or released and made available for registration on a first-come-first-serve basis. Options and fees for renewing domain name registrations, 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.
Why is my domain name's renewal price so much more than the initial registration fee?
It is up to your registrar to set their own prices, terms and conditions. It is advisable to review your prospective registrar's prices, terms and conditions for renewals before registering your domain name. A common practice with many goods and services, including domain name registrations, is to offer promotions for new customers, which is why your initial registration fee may be less than the cost to renew after your initial registration period.
Why do I need to pay for my domain name every year?
Depending on how many years (usually between 1-10) you initially register your domain name for, you may be required to renew your registration with your registrar to continue to receive the services that allow your domain name to be accessible. If you wish to pay for your domain name registration less frequently, you can contact your registrar to inquire about the ability to renew your domain name for longer than one year at a time.
I renewed my expired domain name but it's still not working.
Once you renew your domain name, the registrar must make the domain name work again (as soon as commercially reasonable).
If you successfully paid to renew your domain name and it still does not work, please submit a Domain Renewal Complaint Form.
If you have encountered one of the following situations, you may submit a Domain Renewal complaint form to ICANN at: https://forms.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/complaints/renewal/form
- You did not receive renewal reminders from your registrar (or reseller) approximately one month prior to expiration and approximately one week prior to expiration.
- You did not receive a notice from your registrar (or reseller) within 5 days after your domain expired.
- You renewed your domain name and it does not work.
- You were not able to redeem an expired domain name during its Redemption Grace Period.
- Your registrar or reseller does not display its renewal and redemption policies and practices.
Please allow 3-5 business days for our Contractual Compliance Team to respond to your complaint submission.
For general information about domain renewal and redemption, see our video, What To Do If You Forget To Renew Your Domain (https://www.icann.org/news/multimedia/39).