Time flies and before I knew it, my domain registration was about to expire. Of course, when I registered my domain name with Gandi.net, I chose to enable the Automatic renewal service (see Registering my domain name). However, I didn’t register a payment method1.
In keeping with my one-year anniversary series, this post describes the first renewal of my domain name.
Domain names are not automatically renewed unless you have specifically activated that service.
If you have not enabled automatic renewal on your domain name (and you don’t renew manually), you will not be charged, your domain registration will expire, and your domain name will be deleted.Gandi.net
According to Gandi documentation2,
automatic renewal can occur at 31 days, 15 days, and 1 day before the expiration date of the domain (depending on if funds are available in the chosen prepaid account at those times).
As I said, while I did enable this service at the time of my domain registration, I didn’t register a payment method – an omission that would prove fatal.
Opportunely, in addition to the Automatic Renewal service, Gandi is supposed to send Renewal reminders
according to the following schedule2:
- 2 months before the expiration date (only to the billing contact)
- 1 month before the expiration date (only to the billing contact)
- 15 days before the expiration date (to the owner and the billing contact)
- The day of the expiration (to the owner and the billing contact)
- The day the domain is deleted at Gandi (to the owner and the billing contact)
However, the first e-mail I received – approximately one month before the due date – was about my pending order; i.e. not a renewal reminder! Specifically, it was informing me that my order (automatically placed few days earlier) was awaiting funds from my prepaid account. There was also a link (to the billing section of my Gandi account) in case I decided to cancel my order. Clearly, Gandi had attempted to renew my registration 31 days before the expiration date of my domain, but given the lack of fund, could not complete the transaction.
Five days later, I receive a second e-mail, which was the exact same one as before. Yet, I didn’t provide any payment method to see how it goes. Besides, my credit card was about to expire as well, and I was waiting to receive the new one in order to register it as my payment method (see next post).
Two weeks before expiration, I received a third e-mail. However, this time, it was a “real” renewal reminder. Briefly, it was explaining that if I wanted to keep my domain name, I had to renew it before its expiration date. There was also some mention of other renewal deadlines (e.g. Late Renewal, Restoration and Deletion), but I was nowhere to jeopardy my domain name and I decided to renew it manually.
Straight away, I logged into my Gandi account. There was an expiration notice with a Renew button (with a little shopping cart icon) and a Details button (with a magnifying glass icon). Without checking the latter, I directly clicked on the former button. The renewal process was straightforward and involved four steps.
Owner and billing
This step consisted in verifying my info. I simply clicked on Continue.
The next screen was disclosing the renewal price (excluding VAT). This was the first allusion to the price (i.e. not mentioned in any of the e-mails nor in the expiration notice on my dashboard). There was also the possibility to add a country specific extension3 (to my shopping cart) and to provide a promotional code. After checking again my billing address, I had to read and accept (i.e. checkboxes) two contracts related to 1) the use of my chosen top level domain, namely .com, and 2) the terms of registration with Gandi. After rectifying the VAT4, the final price was very close to the one of my first registration5.
Gandi provides several methods for payment, including credit cards. After choosing this method, I was redirected (popup window) to a different interface where I could proceed with the payment safely. Once the transaction confirmed, I followed a link back to my Gandi account.
For this final step, Gandi explained that my order was registered and that an e-mail will follow upon the transaction completion. Almost immediately, I indeed received a confirmation e-mail.
My domain name was renewed for one year.
The new expiration date was one year after the original one – exact to the second – and not from the time of renewal. Oddly, I didn’t see any option during the process where I could select a (longer) registration period. Indeed, their documentation specifies that you can
choose the number of years if applicable and .com domains can be renewed
from 1 to 9 years. Not that it matters anyway.
The taking home message is that the Automatic renewal service depends on funds available. If you didn’t register a payment method purposely or add credit to the prepaid account6, your domain registration will expire, and your domain name will be deleted. No fund, no renewal. Fortunately, you will be notify by e-mail that the renewal is pending. As for the actual renewal reminder, beware that you may receive only the one 15 days before the expiration date.
1 As opposed to what happened with the renewal of my hosting provider (see SiteGround Auto-renewal), Gandi.net did not keep my payment details (from my signing up). Indeed, you have to register a payment method or to save deliberately your credit card for future purchases. ^
2 See Domain Renew. ^
3 I was in a different country at the time (i.e. Germany) and I was offered the possibility to purchase cogitactive.de in addition to my .com. Personal note on that matter: I hate this IP-based geolocation that enables websites to serve content based on your location. I understand the usefulness of this feature; yet, I just like to decide myself. Besides, this automatic functionality is particularly annoying when you don’t speak the language of the corresponding country. ^
4 In keeping with this geolocation, the VAT, which differs from country to country, was not the correct one and I had to adjust it to the correct value. ^
5 In contrast to the industry norm, my registrar does not lure customers with extremely cheap first year registration prices that turn into sky-high renewal fees. ^
6 The latter is opened automatically during your first purchase, but need to be credited. ^