300 Seconds: When does your domain name expire?

File this one under ‘lesson learned.’

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if my website was up-to-date. Not booksandwhatnot.com, but my personal site. You see, I create art when I allow myself some time, and I had been asked to be the featured artist for a fundraiser. Since my work was going to be showcased so prominently in the campaign, it was suggested that I update my website, bethgolay.com.

I hadn’t captured images of all of my work, but I updated a few items and decided to do more the next day. But when I returned to the site the next morning, bethgolay.com was nowhere to be found.

I sent a message immediately to Kenton:

“Did my bethgolay.com domain name expire?”

Kenton:

“It looks like it. I can renew it if you want.”

I did. He did. And it was back up that day. I completed my updates, but something in the back of my mind was bothering me.

Then I remembered the day we bought bethgolay.com. It was 3 years ago, and we were trying to come up with the name for Books & Whatnot. We bought several domain names around that time. We owned grassandvanilla.com (the smell of old books). We really wanted marginalia.com, which was to expire in a few days.  (We failed.) And I remember when Kenton told me, “I just bought bethgolay.com for you. Everybody should own their own URL name.”

Nagging feeling identified, I sent another message to Kenton:

“Do I need to check when booksandwhatnot.com expires? I think we bought bethgolay.com around the same time.”

This time I didn’t receive a reply and I forgot about it. Until I tried to log in three days later and was rewarded a painful reminder.

Beth to Kenton:

“booksandwhatnot.com is down.”

Kenton:

“Whoops.”

My domain name expiration truly was ‘whoops’ caliber. But if you have eCommerce associated with your domain name, you can’t afford to have any ‘whoops’ moments.

Today, spend however many 300 Second sessions you need to determine when your domain name expires. I caught Kenton in his car and forced him to talk-tech with me for a moment and made him outline the steps for how to do this. I’ve included our conversation below, but it basically boils down to these steps:

  1. Know who maintains your domain.
  2. Make sure you have a login so you can maintain that domain yourself.
  3. If you do not trust the person/organization who has access to your domain, you can request a domain name transfer. (Kenton has offered to help with this public service. He can be reached here, assuming the domain name hasn’t expired.)
  4. When you login to the registrar, it will tell you exactly when it expires. Not only that, you can at any point in time extend your existing contract. You do not have to wait for it to expire.
  5. If your registrar has an auto-renewal option, select it.
  6. If you do not select auto-renew, you should receive an email reminder about 1 month before your domain name is set to expire. Don’t delete this email. Act on it.
  7. Go ahead and set a back-up reminder in your calendar, so you will not forget.

Important note: If you have an eCommerce site through the ABA, according to their website, ABA does not register domain names. In order to keep your web address, you will need to renew your domain when the time comes. Also, ABA should never be listed as the registrant on your domain, only the Technical & Administrative Contact on your Whois information.


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay