Don't lose your Domain: The Domain Name Game

Of the estimated 60 million registered domain names in existence, it is easy to forget that domains are not permanent. A domain is never truly yours; you are simply “renting’ the use of a top-level domain (TLD) as a resolve for your Internet protocol address (IP). The longest amount of time you can stay at a domain is ten years, then you have to renew. The standard contract agreement is typically two years. It is not an uncommon occurrence for your domain name to be taken over by another user, seemingly out of nowhere. Direct competitors and other traffic-hungry business owners have been known to keep a close record of desirable domain names and then to swoop in and take over the second your service agreement expires. Your domain name will not expire entirely without warning, however. In order to avoid having your domain taken over by someone else, it is important to be aware of your service agreement and to take a few preventative steps.

Be Alert to Emails

Failing to regularly check your administrative email can be the demise of your Web domain. When your domain name registration is about to be over, you will receive updates to whatever administrative account you have tied to your domain name. Since unsolicited email is very common in these types of email accounts, make sure that your spam filters recognize administration emails and that these emails will not be accidentally deleted. People can pay up to $65 per domain to receive a notification the instant your domain name becomes available. Squatters are people who buy up domain names and sit on them until you buy them back. This can be an expensive exchange, with domain buyback rates costing as much as $1,500. Once your domain name is taken over, it can be extremely difficult to get back on your own terms.

Choose a Prime ISP

Make sure that the service you choose has plans to support and defend your domain name. Quality services will send notification three months in advance of your expiration date and will continue to follow up with monthly emails.

Pay in Advance

Though all service agreements will eventually expire, you can limit the hassle of impending expiration dates by purchasing longer contracts from the outset. That way, you will be dealing with renewal every three years or more, instead of every year.

Keep Diligent Records

You should always keep hard copies of any service agreements on hand or stored in an off-line folder on your computer. If you have multiple domains, you can keep track of their expiration dates in your own calendar.

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Anonymous, on Fri, 06/26/2009 - 20:53, said...
Well written, clear, and informative.

Gjyl Stenet, on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 13:26, said...

How can I find out from whom my domain was purchased? And how can I get it back from Hostzilla?

sbd, on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:55, said...

Gjyl - you're question has been moved to our forum where we will hopefully have some advice soon. Thanks!