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“May contain nuts!”… Renewing your domain name

(“May contain nuts” – a series of short articles discussing familiar topics which we should all revisit once in a while)

You have a website, and you have emails. You know enough to know that these are linked to the fact that you have a domain “yourcompany.co.uk” registered but, beyond that, it all works and you don’t really need to know too much more. After all, that’s what the web developer is for, right?

Okay, three questions for you;

  1. Who is your domain name registered with?
  2. When is it due for renewal?
  3. How are the payments made?

There are other questions relevant to domain names but today, prompted by some recent correspondence, I want to dwell on these basics.

There is at least one company I know of (the logo is a simplified stars and stripes flag) who will send out a standard letter advising you of the approaching date of your domain name renewal – the letter comes complete with tear-off strip confirming how many years you wish to renew for along with prices, suggested domains similar to yours which you may also wish to register, and space to complete the payment details. They even helpfully put in bold the date by which they need to hear from you.

The whole process has been made so simple and pain-free that, really, they should be congratulated………were it not for the fact the organisation in question is NOT your current hosting company. The carefully worded letter never claims that it is but, using wording such as “ensure you retain exclusive rights” and “protect your domain name,” a reader can easily infer incorrectly and sign up, entering a contract to transfer the domain. At best, web and email will stop working until such time as the appropriate configuration is redone……and that is at best.

So, back to our three questions and what you need to know;

Who is your domain name registered with?

Ideally you should know both the registrant and the registrar – the former may be you, but may be the individual or company who registered the domain for you whilst the latter is the organisation who it is formally registered with and who may, therefore, contact you regarding renewals. If you haven’t dealt with this directly, be sure to know who has, e.g. your web developer, marketing manager, etc. and have a note or relevant details such as account logon details (URL, user name and password).

When is it due for renewal?

Know the renewal date and pop a reminder in the calendar with a month spare to check that the renewal is in hand with whoever is responsible. This should help you avoid being duped by bogus renewal letters and also ensures the correct renewal does go through. Failing to renew your domain will often result in the disruption of email and web traffic (the easiest plug for the registrar awaiting payment to pull) but can also open you up to having a third party snap up your domain name if it becomes available on the market.

How are the payments made?

Finally, you should also be aware of how payments are made – feeling confident and comfortable in the knowledge that the domains are renewed automatically each year can be dangerous. Which credit card was that on……the one that expired last July perhaps?

For help and advice with domain registration, DNS settings, email and web hosting, please call us on 0118 976 7111.

Avoided a pitfall or seen through a bogus email or phone call. Drop us a line and it could be the next “May contain nuts” article – email webresponse@vcisystems.co.uk