Before you can publish your website, you have to come up with a unique name for it, known as a domain name. This is necessary so that each website can be distinguished from every other. Every name must be registered before it can be used as the address of a website. It is also necessary to do a domain renewal before the registration period expires.
While owning a domain name is somewhat similar to owning copyright on a book or a musical composition, there are major differences, and you need to be clear on these if you are not to run into difficulties holding on to your chosen domain names. You should ensure the domain renewal date is in your calendar. If you forget to do your domain renewal, you may not be able to continue using the name.
How domain services work
Much of the technicality in bringing surfers to websites is fortunately hidden from website owners. However, it helps to understand something of what goes on in the background.
Your website consists of one or more computer files residing on a server that is connected to the Internet. For the most part, your website sits there waiting for visitors to connect to it.
They can arrive at it by typing its name in a browser address bar, by clicking on links to it that they find in search engine results, in emails from you or from other people, or from their saved sites.
When they click on a link or type the name, the browser sends a request to a domain name server (DNS). If the domain exists and has been pointed at a website, the IP address of the website, which will point to the physical location of the website, will be retrieved from the DNS, and the surfer will be connected to your website’s server.
For this system to work properly, every website must have a unique domain name. Otherwise, there would be no way for a DNS to provide the information needed to connect to the correct website. It is your responsibility as website owner to let DNSs know the physical address of your site. You do that from your control panel. To keep the DNS record pointing to your site, you must not forget your domain renewal.
When you go into our Register Domains page, one of our domain services is to check that the domain name you want has not already been registered by somebody else. If it is available, you can go ahead and register it. If it’s not available, you will have to come up with a different domain name.
Your domain name is exclusively yours
Provided you remember to do your domain renewal, nobody else can legally use that name to point to their own websites. However, you have to be security conscious and make every effort to prevent unauthorized access to your domain account. If people can get access to your account, they could change the DNS to point to a different website, or redirect your visitors to their sites.
Ownership is temporary
When you register your domain name, the registration will be for a fixed period, which you select. You can register your domain name for 1 to 10 years. This is the key difference between exclusively owning a domain name and having copyright. Your copyright entitlement is fixed for several decades, after which the items you have copyright for can legally be used by others. You cannot extend your copyright for an additional period.
As your domain expiration date approaches, we will send you domain name renewal reminders to minimize the risk of you letting them lapse accidentally. That is why you must make sure the contact information we have on file for you is always up to date. You should also set up your own reminders using an automated calendar. The renew domain name procedure is very straightforward, and only takes a few minutes to complete.
Domains and hosting
You can register domain names and purchasing hosting accounts with us, but you need to be clear on the differences between these types of account. Your hosting account lets you put the files that make up your website on a server that can be accessed by the public.
If you do not renew a hosting account, your website will no longer be visible to the public, but you will still own your domain name. In contrast, if you let your domain lapse, your website will still be physically present on the hosting server, but the DNS will no longer connect the domain name with your physical website. This will also make it impossible for the public to access your website.
Why renewal is important
1. Brand protection
You cannot protect a domain name in the same way you could protect a brand name, for example by registering a trademark. Nevertheless, your domain name is just as important in branding your online business as a registered trademark would be. The only way to protect it is to recognize the importance of domain name renewal.
2. Repeat visits
Regardless of how people find their way to your website, you will most likely want to keep them coming back. If they like what they see, they will be delighted to come back, and hopefully will bookmark your site. If you fail to renew your domain name, the link they have bookmarked will no longer be valid. It may return a “not found” message, or it may even point to a competitor’s website. This will clearly reduce your repeat visits.
3. Protecting your marketing and promotional effort
Building a website is really the easiest part of establishing an online business. Once the website is up and running, the hard work of marketing and promoting it begins. You will not really be marketing the website per se, but the domain name. At the very minimum, you will have to spend many hours on this key activity.
You will most likely have additional financial outlay on marketing and promotion. You may engage the services of a search engine optimization company, or conduct advertising campaigns, both of which will cost money. You may have to pay to get your site listed in relevant directories or with trade associations. All your efforts will be in vain if you neglect to renew your domain name. That could end up being a very costly error.
4. Being professional
When your online business is thriving and you have built up a substantial customer base, you do not want to have to contact the customers to tell them you are now operating under a different name. You can be guaranteed that a significant number of your customers will miss or overlook your communication, and will still have your old domain name on their systems. That means lost customers and lost business.
Managing domain renewal is an important part of keeping your online business running smoothly. If you forget to renew a domain name, you run the risk of somebody else registering that name. All the work you put in to promoting and marketing your website will be wasted if somebody else is now using your domain. You can login to your webdevel.com account at any time to see your domain expiry dates. If you have any questions about domain renewal, contact our support team. We will be glad to help.