What Is a Domain Name and How Do I Get One?
For those with little to no knowledge of web hosting jargon, the term “domain name” is frequently thrown around with little explanation of what it is or how it functions. You can think of a domain as the address you live at and your website as the actual home. If you want others to come visit your home, you give them the address. The best domains are short, sweet, and memorable. Unfortunately, with over 1 billion websites, a lot of the common domain names are taken, but you can get creative with subdomains and TLDs (the ending of your website like .com, .io, or .net) Domain names are also referred to as web addresses and URLs. For example, the domain name of this blog is blog.canadianwebhosting.com and this is the name we give to anyone searching for our blog online.
If you want to register a domain name, you can do so through a web hosting service, like Canadian Web Hosting. Once you purchase a domain name, it’s yours for a certain period of time. But how long is it yours for? And what happens if you no longer want it? There is actually a domain lifecycle that clearly lays out the process and how much it will cost you. Below is a guide on how to it works and how to avoid paying extra fees!
The Domain Lifecycle
The domain life cycle consists of 4 phases.
Registering A Domain Name
Before we jump right into it, let’s start with the basics. First, you can register an available domain name for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 10 years. When the time comes to renew your domain, your hosting provider will notify you in advance that your domain name is expiring, so that you may have a sufficient amount of time to renew it or lose it.
For example, imagine you’re a local pizza place owner and you’ve just snagged www.leaningpizza.com. You register the domain for a year with your hosting provider, at the same time as you purchase a hosting plan. For one full year, the domain name belongs to you. When the next year comes around, you will be asked by your hosting provider if you want to renew the domain name or let it expire.
The Grace Period
If you decide not to renew your domain name, or you forget to renew it by the expiry date, any services associated with the domain name will be shut down until you have done so. During this grace period, you will have between 30-45 days to renew your domain, while still paying the regular domain fee at no extra cost. Note that if you would like to transfer your domain to another registrar, your domain cannot be expired. That is, if you would like to transfer your domain into or out of Canadian Web Hosting, your expired domain name must be renewed before any changes can take place.
For example, let’s say as the owner of www.leaningpizza.com, you go on vacation to Italy. While away, you do not check your emails and during this time your hosting provider has emailed you that your domain name is expiring. Upon return, you are horrified to find that your website is no longer up. You contact your hosting provider, and luckily, because you are in your grace period, you are able to renew your domain at no extra cost.
Unfortunately, if you have still been unable to renew your domain name at this point, your domain goes into the redemption phase, which places your domain in a precarious position. The redemption period lasts 14-30 days and is essentially one of the last chances you will have to renew your domain before it either gets deleted or released back to the public for someone else to register it. Additionally, if you would like to renew, you will have to pay an extra “late” fee for it, which ranges from $80-250USD.
Luckily for you, you renewed your domain name during the grace period phase. If you had waited longer than 45 days to contact your hosting provider, www.leaningpizza.com would cost more than normal if you would like to renew it during this redemption period.
Once the redemption period is over, your domain immediately goes into pending deletion, which can last up to 5 days. In some scenarios, if your domain is sought after, there are cases where the pending deletion phase is skipped entirely, and the domain is sold to the highest bidder. In most cases, if you have waited this long it’s likely that you no longer want the domain, making the pending deletion phase more of a safety measure before putting it back on the market. Although your domain does get deleted, it is possible to wait it out before registering the domain again, so that you may avoid the redemption fee. While this seems feasible, you also run the risk of someone snagging up the domain in the process. It goes without saying that the more ubiquitous the domain name, the higher the risk.
If you had chosen to let www.leaningpizza.com go but changed your mind and decided you want it back, the most affordable thing you could do is allow it to go through the above-mentioned redemption phase, in which there are additional fees if you wanted to renew the domain. By waiting for the entire domain lifecycle to complete, you can re-snag www.leaningpizza.com again at a low price. Just be careful of other pizza places who have their eye on the domain name!
Key Points To Remember About Domains
- Remember to renew your domain as early as possible so you won’t need to worry about it expiring
- If your domain expires, make sure you renew it during the grace period where there are no additional fees
- Extra fees begin in the redemption phase. If you can afford it, you can renew your domain during this phase if you want to keep it
- It may be worth it to wait till your domain reaches deletion and re-registry to avoid the redemption fee
- The more popular the domain name, the more likely it will be registered, so act fast if you see a domain that you like available