The importance of staying on top of domain renewals can't be understated. All domain owners are forced to make a decision regarding their domain name’s ownership status, and inaction is an action when it comes to domains. Losing a domain due to forgeting to renew can cause serious problems depending on the domain name's value to the individual, business, or organization.
In this article we’ll cover the what, whys and hows of the domain renewal process to help prevent you from losing your domain names. Let’s first start with a broader question…
Why do you need to renew a domain?
There are multiple answers to this, but the simple answer is to maintain domain ownership. A domain name that isn’t renewed cannot be kept, as there is no permanent ownership for domain names. You lose your domain, and the website hosted on that domain will be no longer active - definitely something to avoid.
While domain reacquisitions post expiration can occur, there is a good chance that the domain is snagged and registered quickly when it’s returned to the market - either through aftermarket services or through hand registration. This is even more probable the more valuable the domain name is.
There is also the personal angle to why you need to renew your domain. Domain renewal is obviously not mandatory, but it is important to consider the use of a domain name in relation to your objectives tied to the domain itself. The value of a domain name can be determined differently at a personal or business level.
Is the domain name used as an ecommerce store for your business? The likelihood of renew in this scenario is almost guaranteed. Waiting for a domain name to catch the eye of a potential buyer after years of being unable to sell it? Well, you have some decisions to make whether spending the renewal fee is worth it.
Regardless, missing the opportunity to renew will cause you to lose the ownership. No renewal, and the domain eventually leaves your account.
What is the domain renewal process?
Luckily, regardless of where your domain name recides (at a registrar or reseller), the actual renewal process is almost always very straightforward. Typically, you log into your user control panel, locate the domain you want to renew, add the renewal to your cart, and proceed through checkout. There are two factors to consider when renewing.
Length of Renewal
When renewing, you’ll have the option of deciding how long you want to extend the domain ownership. The minimum amount of time you can renew a domain is 1 year, with the maximum being 10 years. Deciding how long to keep a domain is entirely a case-by-case scenario, which is usually determined by the anticipated value of a domain years down the road. If you’re unsure, you can always renew your domain for one year and just turn on auto-renew (which is covered later in this article).
Every top-level domain (TLD) has a specific set domain renewal price that varies depending on where you register your domain names. It is common for renewal prices to be more expensive than domain registrations, with domain renewal sales/discounts usually being rarer than registration sales. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for multi-year registration sales or renewal sales to help save in the long run.
Beside the prices and renewal length, the user needs to determine when they want to renew a domain name. You may be wondering what is the absolute latest a user can renew a domain. To answer these questions, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
Domain name timeline and lifecycle
All domain names proceed through lifecycles of registered and unregistered states. As the domain market becomes more and more saturated, typically the unregistered state on the good domain names is short lived, with many taken domains likely never expiring.
The domain lifecycle, which we cover thoroughly in our article on domain expiration, can be divided into two parts: the registration/domain ownership period, and the expiration process period.
The Domain Ownership Period outlines the duration that the domain name is registered. This allotted amount of time is determined when the user registers or renews a domain, and is always between a 1 and 10 year range.
The Expiration Process Period includes the various stages the domain proceeds through after the ownership period is completed. The user has 30 days after the expiration date to renew the domain, followed by 10 additional days where a $10 late renewal fee is added on top of the regular renewal price.
Once these 40 days have passed (often referred to as the ‘renewal grace period’), there is a 30 day timeframe (called ‘domain redemption period’) where the domain typically leaves the registrar’s hands and becomes more difficult to retrieve for the user (and more expensive). Once this redemption period is complete, the full expiration process is complete as well - and, barring any aftermarket activity on the domain name (such as backorders or expired domain auction bids), the domain returns to the open market for users to register by making a domain search.
Where does domain renewal fit into the domain lifecycle?
Luckily, domain renewals can occur at any time during the domain ownership period and a majority of the time during the expiration process period.
Renewing your domain while it’s not expiring will extend the expiration date by the selected amount of years the domain is renewed for. Renewing during the expiration process period will add the selected number of years to the date that the expiration process begins.
What this means is that there is no best time to renew a domain name. Whether you renew your domain name the same day you register it or wait 20 days after it expiration period has started, you’ll still have the same new expiration date - your current expiration will be extended by X number of years (where X is determined by the length of the renewal added to the domain name).
The Ways to Renew with Dynadot
The process of renewing a domain name may change depending on where your domain resides (the registrar/reseller the domain name is currently listed on), along with the options available to renew. Below you’ll find the methods we provide at Dynadot.
Process of renewing a single domain name, adding 1 to 10 years to the domain ownership period. To renew a domain in your Dynadot account, simply find the domain in the ‘My Domains’ -> ‘Manage Domains’ section of your account control panel, click on it, and find the ‘Renew’ button located on the top right of the page.
You can also add additional years to the renewal by clicking on the ‘Add Years’ dropdown menu found in the ‘Renew Your Domain in Advance’ section of this page.
Utilizing the option of renewing multiple domain names at one time. Through bulk renewal, you can add between 1 and 10 years to the ownership period for many domains. Bulk renewing at Dynadot is easy, just visit your ‘My Domains’ -> ‘Manage Domains’ page in the control panel and use the checkbox found beside any domains on this list. Once all your domains have been selected, click on the ‘Bulk action’ dropdown menu found above the domain list and click ‘Renew’. From here, you can select how many years to add to each of the domains individually or add the same number of years to all domains selected.
Looking for a hands-off solution to avoid losing a domain due to expiration? Auto-renew is the answer. Turning on auto renew enables the domain name to renew without needing to take action, it just directly charges the credit card attached to the account and your domain is good to go!
If auto renewal is enabled, our system will attempt to renew the domain 15 days prior to the expiration date. If unsuccessful, we will notify you via email and attempt the renewal each day until processed. It’s important to ensure your payment method information is up to date, as expired credit cards are the main cause of missing auto renewals.
With all this information, we hope you’re feeling more informed on the domain renewal process. There are many reasons to renew domains, so make sure you either stay on top of your domain expirations or set up auto renew on the domains you want to maintain.
Have any outstanding questions about renewing domains that we didn’t cover? Ask your questions below! We’d be happy to clarify.