I have been in the hosting business for almost 10 years now and I see this over and over again, domain names expire without the owner’s knowledge. Letting your domain names expire can be costly. Once your domain name enters the “Redemption” period, it can cost upwards of $200.00 to get it back. Worse, it can be claimed by domain name squatters.
Here are some of the things to keep your domain names up to date!
Make sure that your administrative contact email is one that you use often and one that don’t change. Also make sure that it is not based off of your own domain name. I have a Hotmail account that I have used for 10+ years. I also get notification of incoming emails by my MSN Messenger
If your registrar has an auto-renew option, turn this on. You can always turn it off if you no longer need it.
Another mistake that I see is that your hosting company or web designer will register it under their name. When a dispute arises, they may hold it hostage. When you register for a domain name with a hosting service or through your webmaster, MAKE SURE that it is registered under your own name with your email address. Also ask for the domain name login so that you may manage it yourself.
For Non-profit or organizations that have a governing body, register the domain name under an email address that is setup for the company. This way, if there is a new person in charge of the hosting/domain name, you can simply give them access to the email address.
Make sure that you are listed as the administrative contact of your domain name, with an email address that is not based on your domain name and one that you check often.
Use the auto-renew option where available.
Use an email address that is setup for your company if the domain name is used for the company.
And check your site often!
CTO / SEO Guru
Canadian Web Hosting