When running a website it’s important to know when your services run out and who you have to pay for them. If you don’t . . . bad things are going to happen.
Just like a bad thing happened to me.
Many moons ago when I first hit the interwebz I bought my very first domain name. It’s the site which has become my photography website. On The Fly Photography.
Over time I have purchased website hosting from two companies (Midphase and Bluehost) and bough my domain names through both of those companies. I have all my domain names set to auto-renew. Each company sends me notices when the domain names are up for renewal and processes the renewals with no problem.
Little did I realize . . .
When I bought 204EastSouth.com I did not buy it through Midphase (where I host that site) but instead through some fly-by-night outfit called Name Registrars.
This was 14 years ago. I registered my domain name for 14 years when I bought it and after all this time I’d simply lost track of the fact that it wasn’t registered with Midphase and that it wasn’t set to auto-renew.
Thus one day my website suddenly went down and at first I had no idea why. I’m not going through the process here, but when the site when down I started all the troubleshooting procedures which eventually lead me to discover that my domain name had expired. Logging in to Midphase I found the domain wasn’t registered there. Thus I dug through old emails and was reminded about Name Registrars.
This is also why you keep all emails you get from companies which are associated with setting up your website. Create a folder and save them all. You never know when something like this will happen to you. I know you think you will remember. You will not.
Why do I classify this “company” as fly-by-night?
- No phone number to contact them.
- No live chat to contact them.
- They sent no notifications that my domain name was about to expire.
- They ignored multiple emails to all three email addresses which are listed on the website.
- Twenty-four hours after I paid for renewal they still hadn’t actually renewed my domain name.
I’m still not sure what has happened, but another company appears to be my register for 204EastSouth.com. That company would be OLM.net and I have no idea where they came from. I found this out when I went to PayPal (I renewed the domain name at the Name Registrars site via PayPal) and filed a dispute.
This process allowed me to contact the recipient of my money directly and that’s when I discovered OLM existed.
Eventually things got sorted out and my domain name renewed.
After Action Report:
My site was down for three days.
Traffic to my site has of course plummeted and will take some amount of time to recover.
During this time all my email accounts at this domain were not receiving mail of course.
What must be done before the next year goes by? Transfer registration of the domain over to Midphase where the account is hosted so this doesn’t happen again.
- Know who provides you with what.
- Know when it expires.
- Know what you have to do to renew it.
- Deal with companies you trust.
I learned this the hard way so you don’t have to.