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Forgetting To Renew (Even Banks Do It)

August 1, 2013

It's not just small businesses and individuals that forget to renew domain names - even huge companies have lapses.

National Australia Bank Group (NAB Group) is a financial services organisation with over 12,000,000 customers globally. Among its brands are the UK's Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.

ComputerWorld reports Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks' online services for UK customers failed last weekend - not because those two companies forgot to renew their names, but reportedly the domain name of DNS servers they point to lapsed - and that is controlled by parent company NAB Group. The issue would have seen any other domain's DNS settings using appearing to go offline as well.

A DNS server, or name server, acts as an address book; pointing requests to the location of where a set of resources (such as a web site) are stored. They play a crucial role in the way the Internet operates.

It's not hard to forget to renew a domain name. Even when reminder notices come in from your registrar, it's easy to procrastinate and put off renewal until "later". But sometimes later never comes until it is too late. 

For hobbyists, a site being out of action for a day or two may not be earth-shattering; however, for a business, it can translate to a substantial sum in lost sales and confused and inconvenienced customers.

While an expired domain won't be available to others for registration immediately as there is a grace period; it's just a situation that is best avoided. 

What can also happen is if you have a portfolio of domains you aren't using, you may not even be aware one has expired until the grace period is over. In that situation, if it's a good domain name; it will be quickly registered by someone else. 

Failing to see reminders from your registrar usually occurs if your domain record's admin contact details are out of date - the reminder notices may be going to an old email address.

The key points to take away from these kinds of incidents are:

a) Ensure your domain's admin contact details are up to date
b) Don't put off renewing domain names; do so as soon as you receive the first renewal notice

On a related point, also ensure renewal notices are actually coming from your registrar - not another party trying to either take control of your name or transfer your domain's management to a rogue registrar.

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