OMG! My Domain Name Expired

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Related posts purchasing your own domain name and/or How and why to get your own domain.

30 thoughts on “OMG! My Domain Name Expired

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  3. Dear Time Thief,
    I want to purchase an expired domain name (someone else’s, from a now-defunct business) that was originally registered through WordPress, so how do I contact them directly about purchasing it (rather than going through Pool, as you recommended to someone else)? I would probably want to host my site on WordPress, anyway. I looked all over the site, and the closest I found to info on this topic was your forum post.
    Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Expired Domain? Oh no! « WPcomMaven

  5. Pingback: Do I Need a Domain? | one cool site

  6. I would give a little bit of advice to people who are not on auto-renew. Don’t leave renewal to the last minute. Things can go wrong and it might take staff a day or so to respond. I’m glad I started the process in good time because I discovered that because I had changed user since last renewal I didn’t have the “renew” option on the dashboard. I had to get staff to transfer it to my new name, which took a couple of days.

    I have now set auto-renew, which is probably the best option for most people.

    • Even on auto-renew, it’s a good idea to check shortly thereafter that your payment has indeed been charged. I suddenly discovered at my last renewal that it hadn’t gone through due to an unexpected glitch.

  7. I guess I was just lucky when I got my domain name. Somebody had registered the name for 10 years and to the best of my research never put anything on the name. It was just a blank page when I found the domain name and saw that it was about to expire – ended up watching it progress through the redemption etc. Was going to try and contact the owner but never quite got around to it.

    Then I contacted my ISP (who also does hosting) and they said just fill out the form on the web site – I did and like many support groups he lost the request and I had to remind him of my request.

    All did turn out OK. I then had a domain name and not a clue what to do with it. My setting back web design 10 years and the evolution to a nice looking site with real content on it is for another day.

    • Hello there,
      Thanks for sailing in. It’s good to hear your happy ending domain story. :) I have no domain horror stories to tell and not even a single close call, but others I know have had expired domains they had to buy back at hefty prices.

  8. Thanks for all this information. I had a mild attack of panic when I read this post. However I must be on annual renewal as I checked back and I have a recent receipt from WordPress for domain registration mapping and private registration. Phew!

  9. Thank you for this information. I didn’t realize anyone would want to squat on domain names that didn’t belong to the rich and famous. Interesting, thank you.

  10. A friend of mine lost his domain for two years, because his hosting Co went bust. I finally got it in an auction for him since no one else tried to register it. They did try to sell it back to him, I advised him not too and thankfully he listened. Registered a .net name and used that till I got his main one back.

    Domain squatting is very frustrating if it happens. Especially when they email you to offer it to you at a bargain price.

    Jim

    • I have mine on annual renewal as well. I’m hoping no one will fall for these Domain Registry sites that Mark and I have received stuff from. Their aim is to get you to change Registrars and register your domain with theme so they can charge $4o. annually for what I currently pay $17. for annually.

  11. I had a domain name once. When it expired it was purchased by a squatter who wanted 10K to sell it back. I had no idea such a stupid name would be desirable by anyone. I mean, I used it to publish a pen and paper RPG game I’d developed. It was free. Obviously, I never got it back. They can squat. Bottom line: if you like it, don’t let it expire. Some idiot might sit on it.

  12. Talk about good timing… here’s a story I’d like to share with other TT readers:

    My own domain name comes up for renewal in June, and I know I can renew it for $17 thru WP. Last week I received a letter from something called the Domain Registry of America. It began as follows:

    As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. When you switch today to the Domain Registry of America, you can take advantage of our best savings. Your registration for markarmstrongillustration.com will expire on June 6, 2012. Act today!

    It went on to tell me that I could renew for 1 year for $35, for 2 years (“recommended”) for $60, or for 5 years (“best value”) for $107.

    The DROA does appear to be a legitimate company (www.droa.com), and I’m just guessing here, but I consider the letter to be an attempt to lure away another company’s business and spook people into renewing their domain names at a higher price (than they’d have to pay otherwise).

    Hope this info saves someone some grief (and money).

    • We have a similar company in Canada ie. Domain Registry of Canada that sends out official looking renewal notices and yet aren’t the registars of the domains I have purchased. It’s a legitimate company. The notices read like yours does and are you’re are correct they are aimed at luring us into changing registrars and paying them more than we do now. The price difference is a substantial one. Like you I sure hope others don’t take the bait.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I have noticed an increase in the number of people who are allowing their domains to expire and who are surprised to find they are in redemption. The seem to be unaware of the fact that they cease to own the domain if they do not renew it prior to expiration. I’ve also puzzled over the number of people who purchase a domain mapping upgrade and then canacel it within the 2 days allowed.

  13. I secured .com, .org and .net in my name but haven’t activated them up yet. Hope to do that over the next several months. If I don’t get there, I will renew until I do :) Thanks for this. A good reminder.

    • Hi Aurora,
      I didn’t include any details gained from others who allowed their domains to expire as they would be embarassed. Suffice to say they paid through the nose to get them back again from domain squatters or out of redemption. Make sure you mark your calendar so you are sure to renew them a month in advance of expiration.

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