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What You Need to Know About “Domain Renewal Letters”

If you’ve received an email or letter recently titled “Domain Name Expiration Notice,” you’re not alone. We’ve been receiving inquiries from our clients wondering if they need to do anything to pay these notices, which typically start by listing your domain and the date it will expire, offer pricing options for renewal, and then conclude with the website and/or mail-in form where you can renew your domain.

These notices look very legitimate and are correct in stating that your domain needs to be renewed… but they do not require any response from you and should not be a cause of concern.

To better understand why, let’s break down  (1) what domain registration/renewal is, (2) what the goal of these letters is, and (3) what you should do after receiving one.

Domain Registration and Renewal Overview

Your domain is the digital address of your website, so just like if you were renting a property at a physical address, you will need to pay a Domain Registrar to rent your web address (for up to 10 years at a time). Domain Registrars handle the purchasing and record updating of who has which domain.

Domain addresses have become a desirable commodity with some popular .com addresses being sold for thousands of dollars. Sometimes, companies or people will buy domain names they think will become desirable and will hold on to them while offering to resell them at a higher price (this is called “Domaining“).

With this in mind, your website’s domain registration is very important to maintain. If it expires, your website address becomes available for someone else to purchase and use for their own website or to resell.

*This is why we recommend having us maintain your domain registration in-house at Saltech, because we can easily keep track of when it needs to be renewed and do so for you so you don’t have to worry about it or try to keep track of expiration dates.

You can see when your domain registration will expire by looking up your domain on WHOIS:

The landing page of Whois

  1. Go to whois.com
  2. Type in the domain you’re checking
  3. Scroll down to the Whois Data section
  4. Check the date next to Registrar Registration Expiration Date.

This is also what the companies who send you these notices are looking at, which is how they’re able to send you accurate information on when your domain is expiring. They will usually target websites that are anywhere from a few months to a few days out from their expiration date.

So, yes, it’s important to keep your domain from expiring, but that’s not why the Domain Name Expiration Notice was really sent to you.

The Real Purpose of the Domain Name Expiration Notice

If you receive a letter that looks like other legitimate bills you receive it’s tempting to want to respond right away to protect your domain. But wait– don’t respond! Responding to this notice will actually authorize the company that sent it to start the transfer process of your domain to their registrar– which may lead to you losing control of your domain or paying inflated fees for your domain renewal.

You’ll notice in the first few paragraphs that it states: “This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to (company name).  The company that sent you this letter wants you to give them ownership of your domain.

What to Do Next

To renew your domain registration, you should always be paying the person or company managing your domain directly. If that person is us (Saltech Systems), then you can rest assured we will let you know when it’s time to renew your domain. If you’re not sure if we’re the ones managing your domain, just give us a call or a quick email and we can confirm.

If you receive a notice that matches the above description, but you want to be sure it’s just spam, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

 

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