auDA’s compliance team often receive panicked calls from businesses whose website and emails have stopped working because their domain name licence has expired.
For many businesses, this is a genuine crisis.
All too often, this is the result of renewal notices being missed because the contact information associated with the domain name registration is out of date.
Once a licence expires, the domain name is removed from the DNS which means the services relying on it like websites and emails will no longer work.
In a best-case scenario the company is able to re-register the licence and regular service resumes in a few days.
Worst case scenario is the licence expires and is registered by someone else.
You need to keep your details up to date
You can avoid a lot of stress and expense by ensuring your registrant data is kept up to date.
When you register a .au licence you agree to the mandatory terms and conditions applying to .au domain names.
In these terms and conditions is a requirement for you to keep your contact details, known as registrant data, up-to-date for the entire term of the licence.
The mandatory terms and conditions also require you to agree that it’s up to you to renew the licence before it expires. This means that it’s not the registrar’s fault if they couldn’t get in touch with you to renew it.
How do I update my registrant data?
You can update the registrant data for your licence via your registrar or reseller.
You can view the current registrant data for your licence by performing a WHOIS lookup.
When you are providing or updating your registrant data make sure the email account you provide:
- is active for the life of the licence,
- can be accessed by you or others if needed (preferably utilise a centralised email address),
- gets checked regularly.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using a single staff members’ individual email address as these run the risk of becoming inactive or inaccessible if that staff member leaves your organisation. Instead, consider a central email address, which more than one person can access or receive messages from.
My domain name has expired, what are my options?
If your .au licence has expired, your options depend on how long it’s been expired and its status at the registry.
Within 30 days of expiry
For 30 days after the expiry date the licence will have the registry status of ‘Expired Hold’. You’ll still be able to renew it via your registrar, however they may charge you additional fees to renew it in this period.
After 30 days of expiry
30 calendar days after the name entered the ‘Expired Hold’ state, the licence enters the ‘expired pending purge state’ and is added to the ‘drop list’ of expired names. In this status, you cannot renew it.
One calendar day after this, the licence is purged (removed) from the DNS at the next purge cycle. If it’s been purged, this means it’s available to be registered by the first eligible registrant.
You can attempt to re-register it yourself, or engage a company – known as a drop catcher – to secure the expired licence from the drop. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee either of those options will get you domain name back.
Someone else has registered my name
This is where it gets really tough, and potentially costly, especially if the new registrant is eligible to hold the name.
- You can offer to buy the name back, but keep in mind the new registrant is under no obligation to sell it back to you.
- You can raise an auDRP dispute.
Again, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to retrieve the domain name.
Seriously: Keep your details up to date.
We understand that managing your registrant data isn’t exciting, but it is important and it is part of your licence obligations as a domain name registrant.
Making sure you keep your registrant details up to date will help save you from an easily avoidable nightmare for your business and the people who rely on it.