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I have a site that I hosted on a shared hosting plan where the domain was sold along with the site.

Long-story-short, the website registration has lapsed and the plan has been cancelled and now the hosting company wants me to pay $250 to purchase my domain name back. Is there anything I can do about it or do I have to pay whatever they ask?

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    This is impossible to answer properly without details. Who is the registrar (is it the hosting company or someone else)? Who is the owner of the domain as reported in whois/RDAP ? What TLD it is (rules for gTLDs are uniform and imposed by ICANN that has specific policies upon what happens at expiration) ? etc. Other than that, as unfortunate as it may be, it can teach a lesson of NEVER waiting for the last time. In almost all TLDs, but not all, you can renew at any time in advance and it increases the current expiration date, so you don't gain anything to wait in the last time. Plus monitor! Aug 10, 2022 at 15:50

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You need to read the licensing agreement that you agreed to when you registered you domain with them. If what they are doing is in the section about what happens if your domain lapses and you want it back then you are probably going to have to pay the money.

Otherwise you have a chance at fighting them but I wouldn't. That fee is set in a sweet spot where they are going to make money off of you but it isn't to your advantage to call a lawyer. As the lawyer will cost your much more than that fee.

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  • I guess it's important to read the fine print. I had this happen on a site design I inherited where InterNIC took the .com address hostage because the original webmaster didn't bother to renew the registration in time ::sigh::. We ended up switching to .net (because the site hadn't really been fully established yet) and waited 5 years for InterNIC to give up on it before buying it back. Jul 9, 2010 at 9:21
  • I've read about similar horror stories along the same lines about GoDaddy and NetworkSolutions. Jul 9, 2010 at 9:23
  • "InterNIC took the .com address hostage ". Certainly not, "Internic" was never in the business of selling names to anyone. That was a service/function inside the early registration offices, and then taken by ICANN. It was not a registrar. And .com and .net were ALWAYS handled by the same registry, with the exact same rules, first NetworkSolutions that sold its registry side which rebranded as Verisign, as it is still today. But consumers only deal with registrars and never registries, so rules can differ there too, besides ICANN requirements applying to all. Aug 10, 2022 at 15:52

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