When it comes to most invoices, you probably don’t want to pay months in advance right? Perhaps your accountant has even advised you pay on the due date to make the most of your money. Well your domain name invoice is the one invoice you might want to pay as soon as possible.
Why? Well, assuming you want to keep your website up and running, you need to keep your domain name registration current. Remember it is a “registration” so on the day after the due date on the invoice, your registration is void, so you are at the mercy of the underlying registrar, regardless of who you bought it through. It is much like being an unlicensed driver on the day after your driver’s licence runs out.
So what happens if you put off the payment and inadvertently forget to pay by the due date? Two things happen: your website goes down and your domain name goes into a holding period.
Your website will go down and along with it your emails, because without a valid domain name your website and email simply cannot work. It is like a PO Box without a number on it! This is the bad news.
However the good news is that, the process for .com.au domain names means your expired domain name should go into a holding period. This means that no other person/company can purchase it in that “hold” period. You can pay your bill and the registrar should be able to reinstate the domain name. Your website will come back on automatically after payment, but this can take hours or even a day or so (a bit like your website “go-live” all over again).
Note that the above only relates to domain names that end in .au. It’s been our experience that the US registration process offers less protection for .com domain names that are overdue.
In the USA, there is a higher chance that your lapsed domain name will be bought by another company on the day it becomes available, as there are organisations that have made a business of snapping up lapsed domain names. These companies have software that blindly purchases domain names as soon as they become available. Unfortunately, when this happens, the cost to buy it back is often thousands of dollars. For a small business, this is a cost you don’t want to bear right?
Generally, domain registration is the cheapest expense of owning a website. Therefore, we believe that the risk of losing the domain name far outweighs the cost of paying it early.
With many web designers, hosting companies etc providing domain names for around $30 – $50 for two years registration, it probably is one bill that is easy to pay. It really is in your interest more than your domain provider – trust me at those prices, your domain provider/web designer/host etc is mainly providing a convenient way of registering your domain name, not making a lot of money.
Remember that if you got a free domain name registration when you had your website designed, it is unlikely that your web design company will keep paying your domain name forever, so ask them when the renewal date is.
Remember to always check the domain name renewal invoice to make sure it is:
If you ever suspect that you are being charged unnecessarily, query your domain provider as the invoice may not even be for your actual domain name. Be particularly wary of domain name renewals in the hundreds of dollars. I have not yet come across a bone fide domain provider in Australia that charges this much!
As I have already indicated domain names in Australia are commonly priced between $30 – $50 for two years registration. Slightly cheaper (around $25) might be available if you are prepared to manage your own domain name online. I would shop around if your domain provider is asking for anywhere around the $100 mark or more nowadays. (Think of it this way… you are better off to save on your domain name and spend a bit more on quality hosting.)
At Blue Platypus we believe that domain names should not be expensive. You can easily transfer your domain name to us free of charge, so you can take advantage of cheaper renewal. That way you only pay our very competitive fee when it comes time to renew. (At the time of writing this article, you would pay $30 including gst for two years registration when your renewal is due.)
Treat your domain name as an asset of the business. Your domain name is not some inconvenience or some tech thingy that someone else can worry about. You could think of it this way… just as losing a phone, computer or vehicle would cause interruption and cost to your business, so would losing your domain name.
If you need any advice about domain names or to register new domain names, please give us a call on 0430 809 122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.