In most cases, renewing a domain is a pretty straightforward process. You log in to your account, navigate to the renewal page, and hit the renew button. Simple as that.
But what if you can't renew your domain? What if you get an error? What do you do then? In this post, we'll explore why you might be getting that message and what you can do to fix it. Stay tuned!
The most common causes for not being able to renew a domain
There are various causes for not being able to renew a domain. I listed them by how common they are:
1. Your domain has expired
This is by far the most common cause for not being able to renew a domain. If your domain has expired, you will need to restore it through the registrar if it is still in the redemption phase. Wenn deine Domain abgelaufen ist, musst du sie über den Registrar wiederherstellen, wenn sie sich noch in der Einlösungsphase befindet.
Your domain has expired and is in the redemption phase
If your domain is still in the redemption phase you have the exclusive right to restore it. This usually comes at a cost but you are not losing the domain.
The redemption phase is a grace period that registrars offer to their customers in which they can still renew their domain name even after it has expired. This usually lasts for 30 days, but it can differ from registrar to registrar.
Once the domain name expires, the registrar will put it on hold for a few days and then release it for public auction. If you want to renew your domain during this phase, you will need to contact your registrar and pay a redemption fee. The fee is usually higher than the renewal (but also usually includes one year).
Here is a full article on the domain life cycle.
The process is fairly simple and straightforward. Usually, your provider will provide you with information in the web interface, via email, or both.
You will ultimately be led through a purchase procedure where you can pay the restore fee. Restoration of a domain usually takes a few hours to be processed by the registry (the entity above your domain registrar).
But I still listed the restore guides of the most common domain registrars to spare you some work:
Your domain has expired and is already open for registration again
If you realized it too late you might find that it already went through the redemption phase and is already open for registration again.
In this case, you should immediately take action:
Check if the domain is still available. If you are looking no one else has registered it yet. YOu can check this either with a WhoIs Tool or you can directly try to register the domain with your registrar.
- If the domain is still available: The good news is that you can register your domain again, but the bad news is that anyone else can also register it. So if you want to have your domain again, you will need to act fast and register it again as soon as possible.
- If the domain is not available anymore: This means someone else registered it. You will need to buy it from them if you want to have the domain back. You can try contacting the owner directly or use a domain broker service. Keep in mind that the new registrant has no obligation to sell it to you - but I have a full-fledged guide on how to buy domains (this way you will have the highest chance of success).
2. You have not deposited a valid means of payment
Another common (and usually non-problematic) cause is when you forget to update your payment information with the registrar. When trying to renew it, the registrar will require you to provide a new means of payment.
Your credit card expired
A classic is that the credit card you had set for your customer account expired at the end of last year and you only realize it now.
Simply update the payment details or put in a new means of payment.
Your payment method has blocked the transaction
Not quite the same as an expired payment method but also quite frequently causing trouble: if you are putting means of payment you haven't used before it might be that your payment provider will reject the payment.
This usually can be fixed by simply calling your payment provider and asking to allow payments of this kind (either for this seller in particular or online payments in general). I had countless customers who assumed their credit card had activated online payments while those were actually not.
3. Your user doesn't have the necessary rights to renew the domain name
If you are on the domain providers web interface and you either don't see the domain name in the customer account or you are getting prompted with "access denied" or some other error when trying to perform the renewal it is very likely that you are logged in with a user which does not have the proper user rights to perform this action.
In this case, reach out to the admin or the owner of the customer account and either ask them to grant you permission or to perform the renewal themselves. Alternatively, you can see with the domain registrar's support (especially if something seems odd and you are assuming some kind of fraud).
4. You don't have access to the customer account
Another reason why you might not be able to renew a domain name is that you are not having access to the customer account in the first place.
This, in particular, is a common cause if you did not register the domain with your personal data but with the data of your company or client. In this case, it can happen that the customer account is only accessible by people within the company and you are not one of them.
The solution to this problem is also to reach out to someone who does have access to the customer account and ask them to renew it for you.
If you know that you are set as the WhoIs owner of the domain name you could also contact the domain registrar's support and open a request to hand out the domain name (either by moving it to a customer account to which you have access to or by asking for the auth code to transfer to another registrar). Please note that you usually need to have access to the email put as the WhoIs owner.
5. Your domain has been blocked
If you can't renew your domain name it can also be that it has been blocked. This usually happens if the domain either had invalid WhoIs contact information or was used for illegal activities (spam, phishing, etc.) in the past.
Depending on the situation it might be either the registrar or the registry that imposed the blocking of your domain.
Your domain has been blocked by your registrar
In this case, you need to contact the domain registrar's support (or the support of your domain broker service) and explain what happened. The registrar will then unblock the domain name and you should be able to renew it without any further problems.
Your domain has been blocked by the registry
Usually. this can also be sorted out by contacting the domain registrar's support (or the support of your domain broker service). Even though the blocking came from the registry. The registrar will either ask you for the necessary information or in rare cases ask you to look further with the registry.
That should have covered pretty much all cases of why you can not renew your domain. Or could not renew your domain as you should have been able to sort it out now. If not please open a support request with your domain registrar's or broker's support. You can also reach out to me. I will be happy to help - but if it's a time-sensitive matter please reach out to the support of your provider.