9

My .com domain is expiring in a few weeks. I do not want to renew with the same company. If I wait until the expiration date, can I renew with a different company? Is the domain instantly released the day of the expiration date? I do not want to risk losing the domain. I tried to transfer my domain but the company will not unlock it without a $60 fee.

4
  • 1
    Define "few". If less than 3 weeks I wouldn't recommend to attempt the transfer. As a ballpark. It may also be good to specify current registrar and future one. Nov 18 '20 at 1:58
  • 7
    The name of this registrar should be disclosed as a public service. Nov 18 '20 at 7:17
  • 8
    Seconded. I've never heard of a registrar charging a $60 "unlock fee". Even the shadiest registrars don't do this. Name and shame. Nov 18 '20 at 7:37
  • Without full details on the domain and service, just the registrar name may lead to false conclusions. At this stage of the question it is not even clear if the domain was brought directly at a registrar or a reseller or hosting company and what this fee is about exactly. We can't even be sure if the domain is not deleted already and then the fee could be the redemption one which is totally legit (in the sense that redemption is billed by the registry). So all details are needed. Nov 18 '20 at 14:58
12

is the domain instantly released the day of the expiration date?

No there is a grace period, then redemption period, pending delete then the domain name is deleted and becomes available for registration again. The process could take up to 75+ days. The problem is that there is intense 'dropcatching' activity, any domain name that is remotely interesting will be snapped by somebody else within milliseconds. And everybody can see the lists of dropping domains, so don't expect that the drop will go unnoticed.

In short: allowing your domain name to expire is very dangerous.

I do not want to risk losing the domain.

Then do not take any chance. Do not wait until it expires to renew it.

I tried to transfer my domain but the company will not unlock it with out a $60 fee.

I don't think a lot of registrars have such a fee. Surprisingly this is allowed by Icann, see: #9: My registrar is charging me a fee to transfer to a new registrar. Is this allowed? But the fact that such a fee exists is a good reason to leave that registrar imo. I am willing to bet that the annual fees are not competitive either. So by transferring to a better registrar you may save money in the long run.

7
  • 4
    The FAQ you quote at ICANN is spectacularly unclear: "However, a transfer cannot be denied due to non-payment of this transfer fee." Nov 18 '20 at 2:04
  • 10
    @PatrickMevzek Huh? What do you perceive as unclear in there? It means exactly what it says: The registrar cannot refuse a transfer just because you haven't paid their transfer fee. The registrar can only deny a transfer for the reasons listed in #8, and this is not one of them. So they cannot deny the transfer, but that doesn't mean you don't owe them the fee anymore. They're still perfectly entitled to make you pay your debt using any means necessary, but holding your domain hostage is not one of them.
    – TooTea
    Nov 18 '20 at 8:55
  • 1
    "What do you perceive as unclear in there? " Saying: the registrar can have a fee but you can not pay it does not seem to me clear. Otherwise the OP wouldn't have had the question. If you refuse to pay it, obviously the registrar refuses the transfer. But it is said it can't refuse the transfer. Once the domain is transfered they have no real way to make you pay anything. As I commented below the policy is at icann.org/resources/pages/transfer-policy-2016-06-01-en and sections 3.7 3.8 3.9 explains what registrars can and can not do. Nov 18 '20 at 14:48
  • "The problem is that there is intense 'dropcatching' activity," The other problem is that the domain at some point during the process may stop to resolve (registrar either changing the nameservers or putting it on clientHold), hence if you do business with it it will be disrupted. And as you said you have low chances to snap it again once deleted hence it is really not the good course to pursue. Nov 18 '20 at 14:55
  • 3
    @PatrickMevzek When you go to a restaurant and order dinner, you normally get the check after the meal. There is no way they can take the meal back, but they can make you pay. This varies between jurisdictions, but here in the US not paying is generally considered 'theft of services' and can be a crime. In the case of a registrar they have a record of what they did and that you owe them $60 and they can try to collect through debt collectors. If they want to go through the trouble, they can get a judgement against you and have the authorities confiscate your property to make up the debt. Nov 18 '20 at 14:58
3

I tried to transfer my domain but the company will not unlock it with out a $60 fee.

Unfortunately, this is the problem and needs to be resolved. Why will the company not unlock it without a fee? There shouldn't be a "fee" to unlock the domain, unless maybe the contact details have recently changed (although I'm not sure that the registrar can do much about this anyway, since it is a restriction imposed by the registry/ICANN). Or it's something that has been in the registrar's T&Cs from the beginning?

The domain needs to be unlocked before it can be transferred to a different registrar. (You will also need an EPP code.) However, if you have recently changed the contact details of the registrant on the domain then you will need to wait 3 months before it can be unlocked and transferred.

If I wait til the expiration date, can I renew with a different company?

If you wait until the expiry date then you can transfer it to a different registrar and "renew with a different company", however, you will likely experience some downtime. And you need to clarify with the current registrar that the current $60 "unlock fee" will not still be in force. But you will likely need to have already unlocked the domain and acquired an EPP code (required by the new registrar) prior to expiry.

Ordinarily, the domain should be transferred some days (preferably weeks) before expiry.

is the domain instantly released the day of the expiration date?

No. With .com domains they go into a 42 day "grace period" after expiry, during which time they can still be renewed at no additional cost (unless the current registrar is imposing additional fees for some reason). No one else can register the domain during this period. You can also transfer the domain during this time as well. But, as mentioned above, you will likely need to have already unlocked the domain and acquired an EPP code prior to expiry.

After the "42 day grace period", it's still not "released" but there will be additional costs involved in renewing the domain (imposed by the registry/ICANN).

8
  • 2
    Just an addendum regarding .com's: many registrars will charge a "redemption fee" after a certain number of days past the expiration date (GoDaddy's for example is $80 after day 19). You can sometimes get that waived or reduced by contacting them, or transfer it to another registrar to avoid paying it...
    – dan
    Nov 18 '20 at 1:07
  • Redemption fee only happen if the domain name is deleted. If it has not expired yet, there is no reason for the registrar to delete it. And if the domain is deleted it obviously can not be transfered anywhere else (until it is first redempted) Nov 18 '20 at 1:59
  • 1
    "With .com domains they go into a 42 day "grace period" after expiry" This is 45, not 42. See archive.icann.org/en/registrars/gtld-lifecycle.jpg. Of course this is what the registry gives the registrar and then registrars are free to decide if they give their customer 2, 5, 10, 42, or 45 days to decide, or any other value in between. Hence it won't be uniform among registrars. Nov 18 '20 at 2:00
  • "(although I'm not sure that the registrar can do much about this anyway, since it is a restriction imposed by the registry/ICANN)." For gTLD there is a specific list enforced by ICANN of reasons for a registrar to deny a transfer, and by inference any other reason is not ground for transfer rejection. See 3.7 3.8 3.9 at icann.org/resources/pages/transfer-policy-2016-06-01-en Nov 18 '20 at 2:02
  • @dan It would seem that GoDaddy's "grace period" ends after just 12 days (or is that now 19 days?), so the "redemption fee" would seem to be during the "redemption period".
    – MrWhite
    Nov 18 '20 at 12:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.