Domain names are an incredibly important aspect of any website. Not only do they clearly tell your customers who you are, but they give customers an easy way to find your business online. These reasons alone make it vital to stay on top of domain name renewals for your websites and sort them out as soon as you can.

Luckily, domain renewal is an super easy process, one that can be done in as little as five minutes. But before we dive into domain renewals, here’s a quick reminder of what a domain name is and why it’s important to have one.

What is a domain name?

Domain names act as easy-to-remember addresses for websites. They’re a unique identifier that make it simple to find a site. They're kind of similar to how you'd type a home address into a sat nav – instead you type a domain like fasthosts.co.uk into the web browser's address bar.

On a more complex level, a domain name maps a website to a specific IP address. It uses DNS software as a rudimentary translator, allowing you to type in the website URL while being taken to the associated IP address.

So long as you have a simple domain name that represents your brand, your customers will have no trouble finding you. And you'll have a website address personalised to your business. You can get more in-depth info about domains by giving our 'What's in a domain name' article a read.

Why domain names are important

There are many reasons why domain names are important. Besides being a key way for customers to recognise and find your brand, a good domain name helps establish credibility for your business. It makes your business more accessible and builds brand recognition with a personalised address to use with your web hosting.

Another reason why domain names are important is to help people avoid fraudulent content. Typosquatters in particular are notorious for using misspelt domain names to catch customers off guard and potentially poach their personal information.

Purchasing your primary domain name and misspelt variations can go a long way to reducing the effects of typosquatting.

What is domain name renewal?

Domain name renewal is a simple process associated with renewing the ownership of your domain name – just like you'd renew a lease on a car or a flat. When you get a domain name, you essentially buy/rent it from a recognised domain registrar, like Fasthosts.

All domain names are managed by these registrars, who keep track of domain ownership and let owners know when it's time for domain renewals.

When you buy a domain name, there’s a set time limit before it needs renewing, typically a minimum of one year. As it gets closer to the end of this period, your registrar will let you know your domain needs renewing.

But, while a registrar might notify you of the need for domain renewal, you are the one who actually needs to renew it.

Why is domain name renewal important?

Domain names are essentially the real estate of the internet – if you don’t pay your rent or renew your contract, you can’t keep the flat.

The renewal of domains allows you to keep control of your website's domain. If you don’t renew expired domain names, there’s a relatively high chance that it'll be picked up by someone else, possibly with malicious intent.

Some disreputable domain registrars have been known to prey upon expired domain names, buying them the moment they expire and then offering to sell them back at a grossly inflated price. One of the most costly versions of this is cybersquatting.

Cybersquatting is the act of purchasing a domain name with the express intent of profiting from a brand's reputation by reselling it to them for a profit. Unlike typosquatting, cybersquatting is outright illegal and is liable to cost you a lot.

How to renew a domain name

While it might be scary not to complete the renewal of a your websites' domains, the process of domain renewal is utterly stress-free.

To renew your domain, all you need to do is get in touch with your domain registrar and follow their renewal process. Most registrars will actually provide instructional steps in their reminder email or in an FAQ on their website, making the process as simple as possible.

Most domain renewal processes follow a similar pattern. As an example, let’s use our domain name renewal process:

  1. Upon receiving your reminder for the renewal of your websites' domains, log in and head to the domains section of your Control Panel.
  2. Then click on the domain you want to renew, press renew now, and select the length of time you want to renew it for from the drop-down menu. This can be up to a max of 10 years based on the current length of time until expiration.
  3. Once you’ve picked your renewal length, click renew, agree to changes, and we’ll send you a confirmation email that the changes have been made.

Pretty simple, right? And all of that takes as little as 5 minutes. And if you enable automatic renewals, it'll save you even more time – you'll just need to check your domains have renewed.

To make sure you don’t miss your domain renewal date, we recommend setting a reminder to alert you to renew your domain at least a month in advance, if not more.

When it comes to buying and renewing your domain name, it’s important to pick a trustworthy domain registrar. Here at Fasthosts, we’re home to over 1 million domain names and offer you full DNS control and unlimited subdomains for your website – all from just £1 for the first year!

And we don't just help with buying and renewing domains. We can help with Domain Transfers too. Plus we can even lend a hand with your website itself with our WordPress Hosting and very own Website Builder.

If you’re after even more tips, tricks, and info on how to expand your online presence, you can check out our in-depth guides or head over to the Fasthosts blog for more articles like this one.