Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

Lessons From Forgetting to Renew the Domain Name

Imagine getting up in the morning and firing up your website to be greeted with the following deathly message, “Kiruba.com has not been renewed and is pending deletion or renewal”.

My bile secretion tripled.

I panicked at first. I had very good reasons to. Amongst the nearly dozen domains that I own, Kiruba.com is by far the most important. It’s the virtual equivalent of the real me. Six years of my blogging would now disappear. My primary email (kiruba @ kiruba.com) would now go defunct. Too many hinging on a simple domain.

And then, I became angry. With myself. This is the second time its happening. Earlier this year, I lost the domain name ‘Kiruba.net’ to a domain squatter just because I forgot to renew in time. That thought worsened my situation and I got even more angry with myself.

And then, I cooled down. After 20 minutes of vacillating between being panicky and angry, I realized I’m heading no where. It’s salvaging time. I sat down to cool off.

I went to Who.is to check the expiration date. June 15th was the last date. So, its just 15 days past the expiry date. Some sign of hope. Domain registrars usually give 30 days grace period for renewal.

I quickly head out to Net4Domains to pay for the renewal. The payment gateway did not work. Darrrn! I’m pissed with Net4. I call them up and after 5 minutes of being held on the phone, I’m told either to pay my cheque or come in person and pay by cash.

I start immediately and head out to their office which is 10 kms away. I pay for the renewal. And then I ask the lady if the domain name is safe. She said, “It should be renewed within 24 – 48 hours but we can’t give any guarantee”. Damn! She certainly wasn’t helping my case.

There are numerous back-ordering mechanisms that domain squatters use to book expired domains. These are all automated ones and the second the domain expires, its booked up. Mass Domain booking is a million dollar business. I’ve read numerous articles about it to be really worried.

So, its two days of anxious waiting. I would check up every 6 hours only to get the ghastly ‘Domain has expired’ message. And every time, my heart would sink. Finally last night, it was a relief to get the site back up. That familiar yellow colour that I’ve soaked up over the last 6 years came up. Relief.

I promised myself that I will renew the domain for the next 5 years so that I don’t have to get into a situation again. This domain is very important to me. Should do that today.

OK, here are the lessons that I have learnt.

1) I never got any warning mails from Net4India. Wait…. I did get, but they were too generic. The message would read, “Your domain is about to expire” with no specific domain being mentioned. I have a dozen domains and close to a 100 domains of clients. How do I know which one?

2) For important domains, book them for 5 to 10 years. It’s safer this way.

3) When your domain goes offline because of non-renewal, don’t panic like I did. The domain registrar (in this case Network Solutions) automatically renews your domain for an extra year. They wait for 30 days after the expiry to get the payment. During this time, you can pay your reseller (in this case, Net4Domains) and get your domain back. If you don’t, then you are toast.

4) During this grace period, other people can back-order this domain. But the first right of renewal always lies with the domain owner. So, when you pay the renewal fees during this 30 day period, you can get the domain back.

It was a good experience. Only because it ended well.