Securing your domain name is important for businesses.
Much like the trade name that you register with regulatory bodies, securing a domain name is important because someone else might beat you to it.
Domain names are easy to get but need periodic maintenance, such as the renewal of the annual lease.
But your domain name is your identity, isn’t it yours for good?
Is it possible to buy a domain name permanently?
While you can negotiate to buy a domain name with a one-time payment with the domain registry, this is still not counted as a lifetime purchase. The lifespan of a domain depends a lot on the existence of the domain registry. Hence, as long as the company is in existence, your domain name is safe.
If the registry shuts down for any reason, the domain name you registered also goes with it.
Table of Contents
How Long Can You Register a Domain For?
You can register a domain name for as long as ten (10) years. But, not all domain registries allow registrations this long.
For one, the cost of operating a domain registry increases overtime. If a domain registry cumulatively handles more domains as time goes by, this means their operational expenses also go up.
Domain registries have to account for higher operational costs with the expanding number of domains that they need to maintain under their service.
By limiting the number of years a domain is registered before renewal, domain registries can account for cost adjustments needed to maintain these domains. Registries need to provide allowances to prevent themselves from bankruptcy rooted in having the same cost for a long period.
Do I Own the Domain I Have Registered?
Domain names are technically digital addresses that you lease under a domain registry.
Domain registries get these domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who have control over domain names.
Hence, when you get a domain name, you are leasing it from ICANN, through a domain registry, that acts as a broker.
What happens when you register a domain name is that a domain registry checks with ICANN the domain name you plan to use and its availability.
If available, ICANN lets the domain registry award the name to you, under a lease agreement.
Why is it Not Possible to Downright Own a Domain Name Forever?
Owning a domain name forever is not practical for domain registries.
There are overhead costs to maintain, and having a one-time payment puts registries on the losing end. Even if they charge big for one name, the gross revenue for this sale may not be able to account for future maintenance.
Remember that the life a domain name relies heavily on the existence of the domain registry. If the registry shuts down, so does your domain name, and the money you paid for it.
Although, some moneyed businesses start their own top-level domains (TLD) to secure in the long term their preferred domain names and extensions.
Also, some domain registries have offered 20 to 100-year terms for registration.
The Problem With Registration Terms:
The problem with these terms is that they tend to be riddled with many legal technicalities, which can be disadvantageous to businesses.
Having a long-term lease isn’t helpful in the long run.
For example, if you still have 12 years in your contract, and you’re only halfway into the contract, you won’t be able to change the registry and hosting without violating the contract.
Again, if the domain name shuts down in the middle of a long lease, you still lose the money you paid for in advance.
However, if you have only two (2) years for your registry, this would mean easier losses if you decide to change services.
What’s the Easiest Way to Ensure You Keep a Domain Permanently?
The closest system you can put in place for domain name permanency is to set an auto-renew setup with the registry.
This means authorizing the registry to charge your preferred payment system (e.g., credit card, bank transfers, Paypal) on a certain date annually.
Make sure you also have an email address that you can access for billing reminders and service concerns. You should also have alternate contact information updated with the registry.
Why do we Repeatedly Renew Domain Registration?
Domain registrations are usually an annual obligation to maintain custody of a domain name. While you can pursue a longer lease per contract, this is not recommended.
Can I Transfer Domain Registries?
Yes, but transferring requires that the domain name registered is more than 60 days old, and was not transferred in the last 60 days.
How Do I Transfer my Domain Registration?
Check Eligibility for Your Domain:
As stated, you cannot transfer domains if you had transferred within the last 60 days, or your domain name is less than 60 days old.
Get the Authentication Code:
Once you have found a new registry, contact your current one and request for an authentication code that will conduct the transfer.
While you might find this also in your domain’s control panel, a lot of registries keep this code confidential to prevent unauthorized transfers. If you can’t find the authentication code is not available, contact your domain registry for it.
Once you have obtained the code, provide it to your new domain registry to process the transfer.
Can I Transfer my Domain Name to Another Registry Even When Expired?
Domain registries cannot stop you from transferring your domain name to another registry unless you have unpaid balances or penalties that need to be settled.
Even if expired, as the last person to register that name, you have every right to claim it for transfer. In the event the domain name has been deleted, the registry needs to recover it before you can transfer it.
There may be appropriate charges that the registry may impose on this.
Can I Transfer My Domain Name to Another Person?
Should someone be interested in buying your domain name (e.g., as a result of a business acquisition or merger), you can choose to also transfer the lease to a new owner.
The cost of transferring depends on the domain registry, as well as what you have agreed upon with the new owner.
What Happens if you Don’t Renew Your Domain Name?
Registries give a grace period in the event you are not able to renew your domain name registration.
This grace period varies per provider but may last a month on the average.
After this grace period, a redemption grace period is entered, as prescribed by ICANN. This means that you need to redeem your domain name before it is purged from the Internet. Registries may charge a redemption fee, with costs depending on the provider.
After the redemption grace period, and the domain name is still not renewed, it officially becomes expired.
This means anyone can now buy the domain name.
There are a few things that can happen in this situation:
- If anyone had wanted your domain name after you registered it, they might be notified of its availability.
- It can also be auctioned to the highest bidder, especially in cases when the domain name remains highly in demand.
- The domain name can be sold at a closeout price by the registry, which is often way lower than the acquisition cost.
- If no one still purchases it, it will be returned to a central registry, and anyone can get the domain name from any registry.
Three Ways to Make Sure You DON’T Forget to Renew Your Domains:
1. Set Your Calendar to Remind You Annually of Your Domain’s Renewal
Consider putting a month or six weeks’ notice to go over your existing terms with the domain registry.
Take the time to discuss with your current domain registry on pricing and other possible packages you can avail when you renew.
Should you need to find another registry, having, a few weeks of buffer should give you enough time to transfer your credentials without having to deactivate your website during the transition.
2. Enable Auto-Renewal When Possible
Arrange with your domain registry for payment options and possible discounts if you renew for a few more years.
While long-term domain leasing is not advisable, consider checking if the registry would consider a lease of two or three years and if a discount can be given.
Also, check with your bank if you need to make arrangements with them for auto-renewal.
3. Maintain Your Contact Information
Use an email that you access regularly.
Your domain registry will email you reminders to renew your account, or will tell you if the auto-renewal is successful.