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How to Make Sure you Renew Your Domain
You must renew your Internet Domain and never let it expire! Besides the fact you don't want to lose it, you should also make sure that no domain falls to the evil of cybersquatters
The first level of this involves having a future appointments diary and making a note a couple of months before the expiry date, and then you go to the company where you got the domain in the first place, and pay for the domain to be renewed. Appointment diaries exist as books made of paper and with pages that have dates on them, and you note future events. More recently, appointment diaries exist as software in computers, personal organisers, and other modern digital gizmos, that can warn you of events at an appropriate time.
It's important to avoid scams. It is a curious fact that even as late as the end of the zero-zeros decade, even some of the supposedly reputable official domain registries still published your name, address, phone number, and the date at which your domain was going to expire, thus leaving you potentially a victim of stalkers, cybersquatters, and religious fanatics. This wasn't simply because most official domain registries had no respect for your personal privacy; it's that they were actually deluded into thinking that it was for the public good. This continued until cases of murder started to appear, but as I'm writing this page in February 2009, these haven't happened yet. Anyway, back to the scams: The problem is that you might think that only the domain registry knows your personal address and the expiry date of your domain, so when a letter arrives telling you to renew your domain, you might be fooled into thinking it is official. Beware! It's almost certainly a SCAM! If you're fooled, not only will the scamsters take your money, but they might also hijack your domain. However you can avoid all of this by renewing with the same place your domain started. I have used 123-Reg for years, and they have always been reliable, at least until they were taken over by a big company, and then they were still ok, but with a proviso. This proviso, noted quite early by Xyroth, is as follows:
Whenever you renew your domain, the renewing needs to be verified. You do this by paying for the renewal and getting the "Thanks for paying. Your domain has been renewed" message, and then you set a future appointment event for a week or two's time, and check the domain using a reputable WHOIS lookup. By doing this, you can verify that the expiry date has moved forward into the future.
But what if it hasn't? Well then the company, even a reliable company, has made a mistake. They have taken your money and sent you a message, and even changed the data at their own records, but they have forgotten to renew your domain with the official domain registry! That is potentially a disaster, and you need to start badgering the company.
At 123-reg, which, remember, is even trusted by paranoids such as myself, it may seem tricky to get to contact anyone, but the method is to go to the official site (which you can get to by my 123 reg page), and then you follow through to the Technical Support site, log in, and then you "raise a ticket". If you have any trouble at all getting anyone to take you seriously, you can overcome this by copying the WHOIS entry for your domain into the message, complete with dangerously-close expiry date. This generally does the trick. Incidentally, losing someone's domain is about as bad for business as it would be if a safari tour company lost one of their tourists to the wildlife.
So, here's the method of domain renewing and being sure:
1. Set an appointment date in the future for the renewing of your domain.
2. When that time comes, with plenty of time before the expiry, pay the company to renew your domain.
3. Set an appointment date a couple of weeks after that.
4. When that time comes, check the official domain registry and make sure the domain has been renewed and the new expiry date is well into the future.
5. If it hasn't been done, kick up a fuss.
Plus, bearing in mind that the official domain registry of various countries have the unfortunate habit of exposing your private information so it's available to criminals, cybersquatters, stalkers, etc, make sure you're not fooled by any scam letters and messages that come in. They may be printed in ink on paper, and not sent as letters cut out of newspapers and glued onto a blackmail note, but they are as sinister as if they were done that way. Ignore them and renew your domain at the company where you first registered it.
Beware especially of letters arriving from "Domain Registry of America". They are NOT the official registrar, and if you are foolish enough to pay them, you risk losing your money and your domain. (A similar warning is on the Trademarks and Copyright page about IBIP).