I thought I would quickly post something about this, because I see it happen all the time. There are many shady domain name registrars, and illegitimate companies running domain name scams that you have to be VERY, VERY careful anytime you get something faxed, mailed, or e-mailed to you about renewing your domain name.
Most of these solicitations don’t come from your existing registrar, and are designed to get you to register a domain name you don’t need (at a very high price), or to transfer your domain name out of your current registrar and over to their company, by making you think your domain is about to expire.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid these scams:
1). Know who your host is, and who your registrar is.
These are usually two different entities. It is possible to have your hosting and domain name with the same company, but often they are different companies. The quick explanation is that the registrar is the company that you pay each year for your domain name or your address on the internet. Domain names generally cost about $10-15/year. Your host is the company that allows you to put your website files on the internet, and stores them for you. Very basic hosting is around $10-15/month, or $100/year.
2). Know when your domain name expires.
You can look up the information about your domain name by going to: www.betterwhois.com . Here you can see who your domain registrar is, when you first registered the domain, and when it expires. You can also check to make sure you contact information is current.
3). Always keep the administrative email on your domain name current.
I can’t stress this enough. If your email address is current you will receive notifications from your registrar reminding you that it’s time to renew your domain. Again… know the name of your current registrar so you don’t get tricked into transferring your domain to a shady registrar. If you lose your password, you will need the correct email address on file with the registrar in order to retrieve it. You can find out what the administrative email is on the domain by going to www.betterwhois.com.
4). When you get a notification about your domain name expiring, go to your registrar and login.
If your domain name is truly expiring, you can renew it here. Each time you login to renew your domain, check your account contact information to make sure that your email address is current. If you ever need to register another domain, login to your existing registrar and buy the new domain from within your existing account. This way all your domains will always be in the same account, and you will only need to keep track of one registrar, one username and one password.
Finally, don’t rely on anyone to keep track of your domain for you… not your web designer, not your children, and not your staff!