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Your domain name expired. What now?

By Kira Taylor

Let’s get out with it: domain expiries happen way more than you might think. And it’s not just you, either. Even legendary, multi-billion dollar football franchises like the Dallas Cowboys have let their domain lapse in the past. So, yeah—fumbles happen.  

Here’s the thing…it’s easy to recover an expired domain and get yourself back in the game with minimal hassle. Just don’t wait TOO long.  

There’s still time to recover (even if you’re past the registration deadline) 

Even if you’re a day (or several) past the registration deadline—don’t panic. Your domain doesn’t instantly turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight!  

In reality, you have more than a few opportunities to recover it—if that’s what you want.  

So, how can you renew an expired domain—and when?  

Keep in mind—every domain registrar (the people from whom you purchased your .CA domain) will operate a little differently. But here’s a general timeline of what you can expect to happen, and what you can do, if your domain expires.  

  • The day/week before: you’ll get an email from your registrar warning you that your domain is about to expire. Think of this as your biggest cue to renew!  
    The renewal process is often as simple as logging into your domain registrar account, selecting the .CA domain (or domains) you want to renew, deciding how long you want to renew for (1-10 years), paying a fee and moving on happily with your life.  
  • After the expiration date: once you pass your expiration date, you enter the “auto-renew” grace period. This can last anywhere from 0-45 days

Because we’re such kind-hearted souls here at CIRA, we’ll automatically renew your domain for another year, but charge your registrar.  

Your registrar, in turn, can cancel this auto-renewal at any time if you still haven’t paid for the domain. If the auto-renewal gets canceled, your domain may get deactivated. That means everything associated with it—like your website and email addresses—will stop working.  

No bueno.  

That said, you can still contact your registrar during this period and renew your domain—no harm, no foul.

  • Last chance: after the auto-renew grace period ends, you enter the “redemption” grace period which lasts about 30 days.  

At this point, your domain won’t be active. This is your last chance to contact your registrar and renew your domain. 

Depending on the registrar, you might get charged with an additional “redemption” or recovery fee along with your renewal.  

  • Back up for grabs: if you don’t pay to register or recover your domain after the redemption grace period ends, it gets permanently deactivated, added to the To-Be-Released list and eventually put back up for sale.  
    Sure, you could buy it back at this point, but…really?  

If you’re still feeling curious, check out our full walkthrough of the .CA domain name lifecycle.  

What can happen if you don’t renew your domain?  

So! You’ve decided to live dangerously! (Said in a James Bond villain voice). Okay—in all seriousness—it’s entirely up to you. But you should be aware of what could happen should you decide not to renew your domain at all.  

Remember when we mentioned your website and email addresses can stop working? Well, that.  

If you depend on your site for revenue—like an online store—your customers won’t be able to shop with you. Plus—having a website disappear overnight isn’t a good or trustworthy look, either.  

Your SEO scores may take a serious hit.  

If your website goes offline for a period of time before getting re-activated, there is a risk that search engines, like Google, will de-rank your page in search results. This can put a damper on organic traffic and increase the chance of customers clicking on competitors over you.  

You can lose your membership with us.

Letting your domain expire could mean that you lose access to the coolest Canadian internet club there is.  

Being a member comes with all sorts of perks, like free events and webinars, the chance to help shape the future of the Canadian internet AND cool merch. Wanna join? It’s as simple as entering your .CA domain name and applying 

Your domain could get snapped up.  

Depending on what industry you’re in, you run the risk of your domain getting scooped up by a competitor/arch-nemesis. There are also folks who make a living from buying up expired domains, like yours, and then re-selling them at inflated prices.  

Two foolproof ways to avoid future domain expiry issues  

Let’s say you’ve gotten your domain back and all’s right with your online world. Now, let’s do you and your blood pressure a favour and keep it that way!  

  1. Set your domain to auto-renew: while you’re registering (or renewing), you have the option to set up auto-renewal for whatever term you like. It’s that simple!  
  2. Renew for longer periods: with .CA domains, you don’t have to choose between a good time and a long time. Renew for up to 10-year periods if you want!  

Need more support or resources for your .CA? Check out our frequently asked questions about .CA. 

About the author
Kira Taylor

Kira is the Marketing & Channel Specialist at CIRA. She focuses on content, digital marketing and channel strategies to help Canadian business owners make the right domain choice for their business website so they can find success online.