Domains can be purchased from a registrar by individuals or companies. If you own a domain name, you gain independence, more credibility and flexibility that only top level domains can provide.
Overall, it makes your site much more professional-looking, easier to find, makes it easier to move your site in the future should you care to, helps you keep your RSS subscribers if you do move; it’s a powerful branding tool and obscures the fact that you’re not paying for your hosting. — raincoaster
One would think that making sure you renew your domain prior to expiry every year is a given, but there are bloggers who aren’t on top of renewing their domains before they expire.
Here at WordPress.com upgrades for domain mapping are annually renewable and we do get plenty of advance warning with regard to renewal. A warning is posted on our dashboards 30 days prior to the renewal date, and then twice again, one week and three days before expiration.
Once a Domain registration expires you no longer own the domain. There is a brief grace period wherein you are given option to renew an expired the domain up to 2 weeks after expiration. It takes about 90 days for a domain to completely expire and become available again to register, so one option is to wait for that and try to register it before anyone else does. It’s solely up to the Registrar whether to make a specific domain available or not. Getting your domain back again is not guaranteed but, in some cases, it’s possible to pay an additional fee ranging from $80 – $100 USD to the Registrar to recover the domain from Redemption. Take note that this fee is in addition to the normal domain mapping renewal fee paid to WordPress.com.
There are three options for recovering an expired domain that has been purchased through a WordPress.com domain mapping upgrade:
- Pay WordPress.com $106.00* to reactive the domain. This includes an annual subscription to the WordPress.com domain mapping and registration upgrades. WordPress.com has no control over the additional cost as it is levied by their domain registrar.
- Go to http://pool.com/ register there and place the domain on backorder. As soon as the name becomes available Pool will try to get it for you. The domain would cost a minimum of $60* from there.
- Wait it out, hope no one else buys it, and try to purchase it again through a domain mapping upgrade for $18.00*.
*Note: prices above are subject to change.
The moral here is don’t let your domain name expire. The expired domain market is part of an industry centered on buying and selling domains and there are no regulatory price controls on penalties and redemption fees. What’s charged is what the market is willing to pay. There are even some Registrars that make millions in revenue on their domain auctioning business.
Reference: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN FAQs