I have gone through some domain issues recently and had to educate myself fairly rapidly. Because of these great pieces of knowledge I learned, I thought I’d share them with you.
Last year I used a service called Missouri Get Your Business Online. It’s an initiative to help Missouri small businesses get online for next to nothing: less than $5 a month, with the first year being absolutely free. You get a free domain name of your choice, free hosting for one year, and a great website builder to get you going. The template designer is for those who have no knowledge of web design. Being a web design major, I really hate it, but when you look at the cost, it’s actually pretty sweet. It just irks me when I see their templates, cause one glance at them and they look so unoriginal. But hey, if you’re a small business saving money by doing the site yourself, I think that’s great. In the end, you really don’t need an over the top site with tons of animations and stupid things people aren’t going to use.
I think as long as you do the following, you’ll be good to go:
- have a website to join the rest of the 21st century businesses (cause everyone has a website or some kind of web presence)
- get your main message across (what your business is all about, contact information, prices, hours of operation, location, etc.)
- link to social media (cause that’s essential to reach customers 24/7 nowadays)
So back to the point of my article… I signed up for this Missouri Get Your Business Online deal and got a domain. I upgraded to a shopping cart add-on and ended up cancelling out my $4.99 package deal. I tried to downgrade, but they said I couldn’t, so I ended up cancelling the whole site. I lost my domain. Now I could have transferred it to another host and saved it, but I didn’t know how to do all that a year ago. So here I am now wanting that domain name back and I just got an email saying it expired a few days ago. I figured it would be available once again and I could restart a new account with the $4.99 package. To my disbelief, the domain is still unavailable. So it got me thinking, ‘How long does it take for a domain to expire before you can buy it back?’
After reading a few articles and help sites, the answer is 75 days! (Source) I obviously don’t know enough about the subject, but yes, you have to wait until the site expires, then there’s a grace period where the owner has a chance to purchase the site back. Then the domain goes through more waiting, all WhoIs info is erased, the site is finally deleted (which takes a few days) and then you can buy it once again. But geez, 75 freakin’ days? Here I was the other day thinking, ‘Oh I’m lucky cause the expiration date was only a week ago’. Then I read this 75 day clause and it really upsets me. That’s 2 1/2 months, folks. I need my site up and running now. If I wait 2 1/2 months before I can get my site up, I will have lost out on a big opportunity. In the end, I should’ve done my homework before getting into this whole website/domain name/hosting deal. I know better now.