Domain Issues listed in a graphic

A domain name is more than just an online address; it’s your online identity. It’s the gateway to your website, your brand, and your online presence. But like any valuable asset, domain names can become embroiled in drama, particularly when it comes to renewals, transfers, and disputes. This blog post dives into the world of domain issues, providing a guide to navigating the intricacies of renewals, transfers, and the sometimes messy world of name disputes.

Renewals: Staying on Top of Your Digital Real Estate

Domain renewals are like paying rent for your online property. Most domain names have a registration period, typically ranging from one to ten years. Failing to renew your domain before it expires can result in losing it, potentially leading to someone else claiming your online space.

Here are some key things to remember about domain renewals:

  • Renewal reminders: Domain registrars typically send renewal reminders via email well before the expiration date. Don’t ignore these reminders!
  • Automatic renewals: Many registrars offer automatic renewal options, ensuring your domain remains yours without manual intervention.
  • Grace period: Even if you miss the renewal deadline, most registrars offer a grace period (often 30 days) where you can renew your domain with a late fee.
  • Expired domains: If your domain enters the “redemption period” after the grace period, you might still be able to reclaim it, but it will likely come with a hefty redemption fee.

I have had many sad phone calls with people who have let their domain expire accidentally and lost them. Sometimes they were scooped up by domain squatters, people who buy up expired domains and then hold them for ransom, offering to sell it back to you for a crazy fee. Sometimes they are bought by companies looking to direct all your website traffic to their spam or NSFW website. The worst experiences my clients have had is with their domain being redirected to a pornography site.

Don’t let this happen to you! Your domain registrar does NOT want you to miss your registration renewal, so they will send you multiple reminders. The most common reason people miss these is because they change their email address and don’t update it at their registrar. Worst case scenario is you change your email address, and lose access to the old one, so you can’t even reset your password to get yourself back in.

1. How to avoid losing a domain due to expiration

  • Utilize Automatic Renewal: Most domain registrars offer automatic renewal options. This is the easiest and most reliable way to avoid missing deadlines.
  • Enable auto-renewal: Go to your domain registrar’s control panel and activate the automatic renewal feature for your desired domain.
  • Maintain a valid payment method: Ensure your credit card or other payment method associated with your account is valid and up-to-date. (I’ve seen plenty of people lose their domains because their credit card expired!)

2. Set Up Multiple Reminders:

Don’t rely solely on the registrar’s emails. Set up additional reminders for yourself:

  • Calendar alerts: Add recurring calendar events reminding you to check your domain registration status before the renewal date.
  • Personal email notifications: Set up email alerts from your personal email account to notify you when your domain renewal is approaching.
  • Third-party reminder apps: Utilize reminder apps like Todoist or Evernote to create recurring tasks for domain renewals.

3. Monitor Your Inbox:

Even with automatic renewals and reminders, it’s good practice to monitor your inbox for domain-related emails:

  • Check spam folders: Domain renewal emails might sometimes end up in spam folders. Regularly check your spam folder to ensure you haven’t missed any important notifications.
  • Whitelist registrar emails: Add your domain registrar’s email address to your whitelist to ensure their emails don’t get filtered as spam.
  • Create a dedicated folder: Create a dedicated folder in your inbox for domain-related emails to easily track renewal notices.

4. Diversify Contact Information:

Don’t use your domain-based email address as your primary contact for domain renewal notifications. If your domain expires, you might lose access to that email address, making it difficult to receive further communication.

  • Use a personal email address: Use a separate, reliable email address for domain renewal notifications.
  • Add secondary contacts: Include additional email addresses of colleagues or team members involved in domain management.

5. Consider Longer Registration Periods:

Registering your domain for a longer period (e.g., 5-10 years) reduces the frequency of renewals and the risk of missing a reminder.

By implementing these proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of missing domain renewal emails and safeguard your online presence. Remember, a little vigilance can prevent a lot of headaches and potential loss of your domain name.

Transfers: Moving Your Domain to a New Home

Sometimes, you might want to transfer your domain name from one registrar to another. There are several reasons why you might choose to transfer their domain name to a different registrar:

Cost and Value:

  • Pricing: Different registrars offer varying pricing structures for domain registrations and renewals. You might find a new registrar with more competitive rates or better deals for transferring your domain.
  • Additional services: Some registrars offer bundled packages that include domain registration alongside other services like website hosting, email accounts, or SSL certificates. If you need these additional services, transferring to a registrar that offers them might be cost-effective.

User Experience and Features:

  • Interface and ease of use: Not all registrars have equally user-friendly interfaces. If you find your current registrar’s platform cumbersome or confusing, transferring to one with a more intuitive interface might be beneficial.
  • Feature set: Different registrars offer varying features with their domain registration services. You might desire specific features like domain privacy protection, two-factor authentication, or advanced DNS management that your current registrar lacks.

Customer Service:

  • Support quality: If you’ve had negative experiences with your current registrar’s customer service, such as slow response times or unhelpful support representatives, transferring to a registrar with a better reputation for customer service can be a wise decision.
  • Availability: Some registrars offer 24/7 customer support, while others have limited support hours. If you require frequent assistance, transferring to a registrar with readily available support might be necessary.


  • Managing multiple domains: If you have multiple domains registered with different registrars, consolidating them under one registrar can simplify management and billing.

Security Concerns:

  • Security breaches: If you’ve experienced security issues with your current registrar, such as unauthorized domain transfers or phishing attempts, transferring to a more secure registrar can provide better peace of mind.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before initiating a domain transfer. While it’s a relatively straightforward process, it can be a tedious and confusing process and there can be a slight downtime during the transfer, so ensuring a smooth transition is important.

Here’s what you need to know about domain transfers:

  • Unlock your domain: Before initiating a transfer, ensure your domain is unlocked at the current registrar.
  • Obtain an authorization code: Your current registrar will provide an authorization code needed for the transfer process.
  • Initiate the transfer with the new registrar: The new registrar will guide you through the transfer process, requiring the authorization code.
  • Transfer duration: Domain transfers typically take a few days to complete.

Name Disputes: When Your Domain Name Gets Contested

In some instances, another party might claim ownership of your domain name, leading to a name dispute. This can occur due to:

  • Trademark infringement: If your domain name infringes on an existing trademark, the trademark owner can initiate a dispute.
  • Typosquatting: Someone might register a domain name with a typo of your legitimate domain, potentially trying to attract your visitors.
  • Cybersquatting: This involves registering a domain name similar to a well-known brand or person with the intent to sell it for profit.

Years ago we had a client with a business and website of the same name, and another company in another state repeatedly tried to claim ownership of their domain. This other company had a business with the same name, and thought the domain should be theirs. Our client had owned the domain and business for longer, and had even trademarked the business name, but that didn’t stop this company from trying to claim the domain multiple times. The client ultimately had to hire legal counsel to help them navigate the challenge.

Here’s how to navigate domain name disputes:

  • Dispute resolution procedures: Most domain registrars offer dispute resolution procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
  • Legal action: In certain cases, legal action might be necessary, especially if the dispute involves trademark infringement.

Proactive Measures to Avoid Domain Issues

To minimize the risk of domain-related headaches, consider these proactive measures:

  • Choose a unique and memorable domain name: This helps avoid potential trademark conflicts and typosquatting attempts.
  • Set up automatic renewals: Ensure your domain renews automatically to avoid accidental expiration.
  • Monitor your domain name: Regularly check for any potential infringements or suspicious activity related to your domain.
  • Maintain accurate contact information: Keep your domain registration information up-to-date to ensure proper communication from your registrar.

By understanding the processes involved in renewals, transfers, and name disputes, you can proactively manage your domain name and avoid unnecessary drama. Remember, your domain is your digital identity, so treat it with care and vigilance.

Have questions about domain names or other web design services? Contact us today for help!

Amy Masson, Web Developer

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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