One of the most basic parts of any website is the domain name. Each site has one. It’s simply the “whatever.ext”. Not much to it. You can get a domain name at GoDaddy or Full Scope Creative or any number of other providers. I’ve talked before about the importance of Domain Name Privacy Protection (we add it to every domain name that Full Scope registers for a client), but there’s one other really important thing you should always have enabled on your domain name – automatic renewal.

Earlier this week a client called and said his site and email were down. I checked the server and everything was fine – but the site was definitely down. I looked into it a bit further and realized that the domain name was no longer pointing to our server. Turns out, the domain name had expired. Once that happens, the domain name DNS is set to whatever default page the registrar picks (not your site, I can all but promise that), and the site and email won’t work anymore. The really tricky part in this is that the client was not the actual listed registrant of the domain. Several years ago he purchased the business from the founder and for one reason or another left the domain name with that person. The founder had long since changed email addresses and had no idea that the domain name was expiring. Unfortunately, it’s a lengthy and expensive process to get domain names back when they expire. If another individual is able to register the domain name before you have a chance to renew it, your odds could be at zero.

Simply enabling “auto-renew” on the domain name would have prevented this whole issue. Due to reasons like this, here at Full Scope we always enable automatic renewal for domain names. I have about 100 domain names I oversee and there’s no way I could keep up with all the renewals if it wasn’t for auto-renew. How much do I believe in auto-renewal on a domain name? So much that even if you ask, even if you ask really really nicely, I won’t register a domain name without auto-renewal; auto-renewal is our default. We’ll be happy to transfer the domain name to any other registrar you choose (GoDaddy, HostGator, ENOM, etc.), but I will not host a domain name that doesn’t have auto-renewal enabled.

If your domain name does expire, it could be several hours of phone calls, emails, and negotiations to get it back – and the sky’s the limit for how much the financial cost could be at the end of the day. Alternatively, it takes all of about 2 minutes to log into your domain name registrar account and check to confirm that your domain name is set to auto-renew.Take those 2 minutes and save yourself a lot of time, money, and stress.