Your Domain Registration Has Expired: How Long is Your Auto-Renewal Grace Period?

It’s an important question. Because if you don’t register within that period you could find yourself paying as much as two hundred dollars to get your domain back. Or, you might not get it back at all. How would you feel about that?

Let me explain. Yes, ICANN understands how emotionally traumatic and financially disastrous it can be to lose your domain due to registrar error or your own poor bookkeeping. To paraphrase what was once so famously said, “They feel your pain.” And ICANN has made proposals to alleviate this trauma. Evidence of this can be found at the ICANN website under the heading “Life Cycle Of  A Typical gTLD (generic Top Level Domain; i.e., Com, Net, Org, etc.). There you will find this clever illustration made up of several arrows demonstrating the life cycle of one of the above mentioned TLDs.

One of the arrows has the title in large print: Auto-Renew Grace Period. “Great!” you think. But under this title in small print is the kicker (0-45days). In other words that Grace Period is just as long as the entity controlling the domain wants it to be. It can be as long as a month and a half-which strikes me as a bit much-or as short as zip (a bit little). And guess what, Mr. Mrs. and Ms. Registrant, that controlling entity isn’t you.

But don’t worry, you should know in advance what the policy of your Registrar is regarding the length of the Auto-Renew Grace Period under his aegis. After all, the RAA (Registration Accreditation Agreement), the controlling agreement between ICANN and the registrars, says that the Registrar should clearly state on its website its auto-renewal policy. I fear the determinative word here is “should.” I’m no lawyer but I don’t think “should” is a synonym for “will.” In my experience that information is usually on the website somewhere-but not exactly front-and-center. So if you’re not sure, ask. Better yet, watch your domains closely and don’t let them expire. Now let me ask you again, “How long is your Auto-Renewal Grace Period?”

Mike Nardine is a small businessman and owner of cheapmikesdomains.com He sells domains, web hosting and appraises domains at competitive rates.

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