Losing your domain name is a real possibility. But once you understand how simple it is to prevent it, it won't seem like such a threat after all.
The easiest way to prevent any domain-name headaches is to keep your contact information up to date. If the information submitted to your registrar is not current (for example, your e-mail address is no longer valid, you've changed residences, etc.) the registrar will not be able to contact you. Eventually, your domain name can be deactivated and re-registered to someone else.
To understand how important domain-name maintenance is, think what would happen if say, a major corporation like McDonald’s failed to renew its domain. It may sound hard to believe, but if they neglected the notices or failed to update their registrant information, an opportunistic person could snatch up mcdonalds.com in an instant. True, with McDonald’s beefy legal-team muscle they’d get it back eventually, but they’d probably have to go through a lot of unnecessary headache first.
Americaneagle.com does not want you to find yourself in a similar predicament. Therefore, we have put together a few tips that will help ensure a hassle-free domain-renewal experience:
- Periodically check the make sure that your registration information is correct: This takes less than a few minutes and can protect you from headaches in the long run. Contact your registrar and check to see that all contact information you provided when you originally registered your domain is current. Most registrars make this easy to do online.
- Register for the maximum number of years: Not only is it cheaper to register your domain for more than one year, it also provides peace of mind to know that you have locked in registration for that entire time period.
- Designate a department in your organization to be responsible for renewal: Domain-name management should be the responsibility of a person or department within your organization. If no one "owns it", it is more likely to be forgotten about or ignored.
- Do not assume anything: As your Web developer and Web host, Americaneagle.com assists you with the set-up of your domain, including initial registration. However, we are not responsible for renewing it. As the owner of your domain, is your responsibility to make sure that the contact information they have on record is correct and that renewal fees are paid on time.
- Take advantage of your registrar’s account-management tools: Network Solutions, the registrar that Americaneagle.com works with, provides easy-to-use tools that help you manage and maintain your domain name(s).
- Ensure that your domain is set to "auto renew": When turned on, auto-renew services protect your domain name from a possible lapse in service, and potential deletion, in case you accidentally forget to renew. Most registrars, including Network Solutions, will charge your credit card 45 days prior to expiration. Just make sure that the credit-card information on file is up to date.
- Do not misconstrue renewal notices for junk mail: We have heard the story before: Someone loses their domain because they ignored the notices. Monitor your inbox for them and make sure to add the e-mail address of your registrar to your address book to prevent spam filters from intercepting them. And don't throw away any direct mail pieces from your registrar without checking inside for a renewal notice first.
Remember that registrars make several attempts to alert you well before your domain-expiration day approaches. Network Solutions, for example, will contact you via e-mail 75, 45, 20, and 10 days prior to expiration and also sends a notice via direct mail. They also offer a non-disclosed grace period between expiration and deactivation, so you can still "save" your domain if you just missed the expiration date.
In the end, however, your registrar does have the contractual right to delete your domain name if you don't respond to their renewal notices. This means that your domain name could be re-registered by someone else on a first-come-first-served basis. Furthermore, many registrars now offer a service that will add individuals to a waiting list for already-registered domain names. When it becomes available (either because you no longer want it or you failed to renew it) that individual can take it. Getting it back can be an arduous task.
Americaneagle.com recommends that you take a few minutes now to verify that your registrant information is current. If you are an Americaneagle.com client, you can find more information about your domain name by visiting your registrar, Network Solutions, at www.networksolutions.com.