In the process of setting up your own website, one of the first things you will need is “domain name.” Often people ask, can you buy a domain name permanently or keep ownership forever? That’s exactly what we will answer in this article.
First, we need to understand your website’s domain name is the address or location of your website. Computers use IP (internet protocol) addresses, and domain names are the “human-readable” version of your website’s location on the world wide web.
That’s why finding the perfect available domain name for registration is a critical step into building your website and this is what we will be talking more about here. If you want help finding the perfect domain name, use our free domain name generator tool.
Registering a domain name is, essentially, reserving a name for your website on the internet for a prescribed period. The length of registration will depend as you will see.
But can you buy a domain name and own it permanently? What you need to know is that a domain you buy will remain yours for as long as you renew it, but there is no way to buy a domain name permanently. While you can’t own a domain name forever there are ways to ensure you maintain ownership for as long as desired.
Continue reading for the keys to keeping ownership of your domain for as long as you want.
Does The Domain Registrar Impact Potential Length of Ownership?
It is important to understand that you can keep the domain name for the life of the domain name registrar that you used. As long as the company remains in business, you keep your domain name (that is, with the proper renewal channels).
However, if the domain name registrar who registered your domain name goes out of business, your domain name goes with it. So, keep that in mind when selecting a domain registrar, try to stick with industry leaders.
You can buy a domain name from any domain registrar of your choice. This usually costs you around $7 to $12 for every year that you wish to keep the domain name.
When you buy a domain name from a domain name registrar, make sure to write down the exact date of the purchase. Note the date somewhere visible so you can remember it, or better yet, set it on a digital calendar that can notify you about it.
Typically, the expiration date for a domain name registration is exactly one year from the date you purchased it. About 30 days before the domain name is set to expire, log onto your domain manager tool, and accomplish necessary renewal steps.
As is common practice, you will have to enter valid credit card information (or any applicable payment method) to renew the domain for another year. Many domain name registrars offer a “recurring payment” option wherein your renewal fee will just be automatically charged from your credit card annually.
Selecting a domain registrar with automatic renewal options is an added protection to ensure you never lose your domain and can keep it indefinitely or as long as you continue to pay for the renewal.
What Happens After Your Domain Registration Expires?
If you fail to renew your domain registration and ownership expires, the domain name goes into what’s called a “renewal grace period” status. Under this status, you will still be allowed to renew ownership of the domain name without incurring additional fees.
This is usually a period of 30 days. The day after your domain’s expiration date, your domain name will be deactivated and replaced with a parking page indicating the domain name has expired, and other services associated with that domain name may cease to function.
During this 30-day period, the original domain owner may pay a redemption fee as well as the renewal fee.
Once the renewal grace period runs out, the expired domain name’s status is changed to “registrar hold”. In this status, the domain name registrar can try to sell the domain name to the highest bidder in an option auction.
If sold, the highest bidder will then have to wait the full 30 days of the registrar hold before they can own the domain name. Should you decide to renew during this period, the bidding fee is refunded and you can retain control of the domain name. If not, once the registrar hold status is lifted, the highest bidder gets ownership.
After the registrar hold, ends and the domain name was neither renewed nor purchased, the domain name is released back into the registry. Upon this release, the domain name is placed under the “redemption period” status, meaning it cannot be changed or deleted for 30 days. During this time, you, as the original owner, can opt to pay the redemption fee plus the renewal fee for you to reinstate your website and email services.
If all these grace periods end without the domain name being renewed or purchased, it will then be placed under the status of “pending delete”. If no actions of restoration are taken, whether from the original owner, registry or registrar, the domain will eventually be deleted. This deletion effectively releases that domain name back for general registration.
Note that certain domain names are “auto-renew only” and cannot be renewed manually. Auto-renewal usually occurs within 30 days prior to the domain’s expiration date (this may vary from one domain to another). For such domains there is no grace period. Once they expire, it’s not possible to recover them.
So, How Long Can You Purchase a Domain Name For?
The first step to building a website is to decide on a domain name and to confirm if this name is available. The good news it is easy to find a great available domain by using a domain name generator tool like NamingGenerator.com.
This, particularly, is a great jump-off point as it quickly suggests different names and gives you which are available to register and even offers you great recommendations for domain registration as well as web hosting services.
Once you confirm that the domain name you want is available, you will next be faced with the choice to register your domain on any of the several different top-level domains (TLD’s) such as .com, .org, .biz, or .net. After selecting the available TLD you wish to register with, the final decision is about how long you want to reserve the domain name.
Ultimately, You can buy domain names in year-long increments, up to a maximum of 10 years at a time.
What are the Benefits of Registering a Domain Name for a Longer Period of Time?
There are many benefits to keeping the same domain name registered for a long time. Many SEO experts believe that Google factors in the number of years a domain name is kept registered by an entity/site.
If this is accurate, it would, then, follow that just the standard one year of domain name registration is not ideal for most businesses.
After all, how committed can a business be if it is only intended to be around for just a year? Of course, the registration plan of a website’s domain is not the only indicator of its true potential, but it’s also true that the length of time that a domain name is registered for may say something about the website associated with it.
1 Year. The standard one-year domain registration is typical of bloggers, businesses, and private entities that are possible under these circumstances:
- Limited income or capital
- Trial phase
- Multiple domain name ownership
2 Years. Two years is more of standard among real or more established businesses. From an SEO perspective, two years is the minimum registration duration for businesses or entities that want to be considered credible and committed. This is also believed to help your website to rank better in searches.
5 Years. Registering a domain name for a 5-year plan shows that the business is forecasted to be operational for a considerable amount of time. Simply put, a 5-year domain name registration plan is a smart “middle ground” between one and 10 years.
10 Years. The 10-year domain name registration period is indicative of a solid organization that intends to be in business for as long as it can endeavor. If you run a serious, legitimate business, the cost of a 10-year registration is not a tall “reach” and paying in advance means you don’t want to worry about it for the maximum time allowed. Just make sure that you keep your contact information up-to-date so that when the time does come to renew, the notification email will be duly received.
If I Register a Domain Name, Can I Lose It?
When you register a domain name, you are basically reserving ownership of that domain for a specified period of time. Typically, you renew your claim over the domain annually (or periodically, depending on the registration plan chosen) before it expires. Ideally, under these standard circumstances, the domain is securely yours and yours alone.
However, in today’s highly-automated world, most domain name registrars allow their customers to manage their domain name registration records online. The accountability for ensuring the security of domain names are given to the domain owners.
Unfortunately, this level of convenience also opens the door for web thieves. Consider the scenario described below.
Let’s imagine that a cyber-criminal scopes your domain name and detects that it holds money. By hacking into your email, this cyber-criminal can potentially gain access to the account you use to manage your domain name registration record. This compromises the security of your domain.
You can avoid this by ensuring your account information, as well as all log-in credentials, are secure. Once your records are protected, secure the email address that you use in maintaining your domain registration. The email address used is ideally a newly created SMTP email account with a separate username and password. This is because hackers may have tools to be able to scrutinize the history of changes to your domain records prior to additional privacy protection.
All domain name registrars are required to show domain owners’ contact information.
This is why it is important to use a registrar that masks your actual email address to protect your domain name. This service is available in most domain name registrars.
There are many names for it, such as ‘whois protection’, “privacy guard”, or “whois proxy”, but they all function the same.
Basically, this works by placing an intermediary company to replace your contact information and email address with theirs. This intermediary company is, then, responsible for protecting your information and forwarding all contact requests to you.
Of course, you still own the domain and manage the registrations. The small fee paid to mask your email address and protect your domain is a good deal, not to mention beneficial in significantly reducing spam.
Make sure you discuss with your domain name registrar about your options for domain protection. More particularly, extra layer (or layers) of protection to your domain name registration so that it is safeguarded against unauthorized domain name transfers. You can get great domain name registrar recommendations for free here.
Does Your Domain Registrar Offer Any Protection Against Expiring Domains?
Most, if not all, domain name registrars offer some sort of additional feature that acts as protection against expiring domains. Domain expiration protection is a service that will keep your domain safe from deletion for up to one year in case of payment issues (credit card hold, for example) or failure to renew in a timely manner.
This protection ensures that your domain is not deleted from your account and save it for you until you are able to transact the applicable renewal fees. More importantly, this feature ensures that no one else can register your domain during that time.
Aside from securing your domain for up to a year in case there is a failure to renew after the contract renewal date, domain expiration protection features secure you from additional fees associated with reinstating or redeeming an un-renewed domain.
Much like licenses, a domain name registration has an expiration date on it. If you wish to keep it active, you definitely need to renew it.
One of the most common reasons a business loses control of its domain is neglecting that the domain registration has not been renewed until it expired. If you own a domain for your business’ website, make sure to take serious note of the expiration date (or dates, if you own multiple domains).
Always keep an eye out for renewal alerts in your email inbox. Check the billing information on your account as well. Make sure the information is always up-to-date. Even if your domain is set to renew automatically, it might fail due to obsolete billing info. Make sure, too, that the associated credit card (or payment method) to the renewal aspect is valid.
Even if you have your domain registered to the maximum term, it will always pay to make sure you are on top of all the information on your account.