Believe it or not people still forget to renew domain names, folks like, oh, the Dallas Cowboys. I shouldn’t be so smug, I’ve forgotten to renew some key domains now and then (this year even). You get those reminders that your domain is up for renewal, and a month seems so far away, then a couple weeks, then days, then…oops.
To give you a hand with this important task here are my tips not missing domain renewals:
- Use a single domain registrar. My favorite is NameCheap, but really it doesn’t matter which one you pick, just pick one so you have one place to check for domains that are up for renewal.
Email address tips:
- Companies: Use a catch all or group-forwarded email address for registrations. For example create a forwarding address like webmaster@ and have it go to several people in your organization. This should help to prevent a long vacation or person leaving the company causing no one to notice that your domain needs to be renewed. For a company’s primary domain have a special Gmail, HotMail, or something permanent that auto-forwards to several people. You just can’t afford to miss reminders on your key domain.
- Individuals: Use a permanent email address like Gmail, HotMail, or YahooMail for your registration reminders. If you use, for example, an email address given to you by your ISP, that might change or if you leave that ISP it’s gone.
- Renew for more than a year. If you don’t want to be bothered every year to renew your domain, renew it for a couple years or more. Some registrars allow for even up to five years. Potential drawback—your information might change a lot in the interim and if your WHOIS information isn’t up to date…
- Set critical domains to auto-renew. We’re not going to wake up here one day and think, “oh you know we don’t want thenextweb.com” nor am I going to decide that I don’t care about trishussey.com any more. For your most critical domains like your company .com, the one mapped to email addresses, or your name; just set it to auto-renew once a year. The small amount to renew, even if for some strange reason you change your mind, is a small, small price to pay for piece of mind.
- Keep your WHOIS information current. WHOIS is the system that records who the contact person/people are for a domain. Recent ICANN (the overseer of all domains) rules require registrars to ask people to check their information once a year. Don’t ignore these reminders, just double check to make sure all your contact information is correct.
- Have a master spreadsheet of all your domains and renewal dates. This might be rather excessive for most of you, even me with a paltry 20-ish domains in my sphere, but for large companies, with lots of brands, this could be essential. Add into that sheet the login details for the registrar(s) as well, just to be safe.
- Put renewals in your calendar. When you renew a domain, note when it’s up for renewal again and put that date in your calendar, plus a week before and a month before. Sure your registrar should send you emails, but what if because of a snafu you don’t get them? Exactly better safe than sorry.
Those are my tips, please add yours in the comments. You know domain names are so critical to how we do business now, it goes beyond just websites and email, your domain is your brand identity, your place marker, and your corner of the Internet. Best not to get shoved off that corner.