Domain name is the internet address or the network address of your website. It is how the internet users can visit your website. Getting the right domain name is, therefore, a stepping stone to the success of your online enterprise. Due care should, therefore, be taken while choosing a name for your website.
Simply put TLD is an acronym that stands for Top Level Domain. In any URL or web address, it is the part which appears after the final period or dot. For example, if the web address is https://www.seomator.com then its TLD is “.com”.
There are two broad categories in which one can classify the Top Level Domains.
Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) are those TLDs that do not refer to any particular country but are completely generic in nature. Theoretically, gTLDs can be used on the internet by anyone and anywhere in the world. Some examples of gTLDs are .com, .org, .net, .biz, .info etc.
A very common belief is that a domain name can be purchased. This is absolutely not true. You can only lease a domain name. The lifecycle of all domain names starts when they are available for registry and end at its deletion. Usually one can lease a domain name for anywhere between 1 to 10 years. Post this if the domain name is not renewed then it lapses and becomes eligible for deletion.
A typical gTLD domain name life cycle follows a very set path. This path can be broken down into 5 stages. These stages are discussed in greater detail below.
Stage 1 – Available Domain Name – there needs to be a starting point for any lifecycle to begin. This starting point becomes the first stage. In case of a gTLD, the starting point is when the domain name is available for registration. In plain terms, it means that the domain name that you are looking for has not been registered by any other user. The easiest way to search for domain names is by logging on to a registrar site like GoDaddy.com etc. Reiterating once more, by registration we mean just leasing the domain name and not outright purchasing it. You can lease a domain name for anywhere between 1 to 10 years.
Stage 2 – Registration or Leasing– the second stage involves registration of the available domain name. After paying a registration fee your domain name becomes active. You need to stay with your current registrar for a minimum period of 60 days post which you can transfer your domain name to any other registrar if required. This changeover will not cause any setbacks for you in terms of the status of your domain. This is because the domain name will remain active for the duration that you have paid for. Nevertheless, such changeovers are very rare as most registrars provide the same services and have a similar set of rules.
Stage 3 – Expiration and Renewal – as the time of expiration draws nearer, most registrars will send out reminders to their clients. This helps the clients to get their website addresses renewed well in time. Once the expiration date is crossed, the domain name gets deactivated. This usually happens within 24 hrs of expiration. However, your domain name is yet not free to be taken and registered by someone else. You are now in the grace period which varies anywhere between 0 to 45 days. While in grace period you can still renew your domain name without paying any extra fees.
Stage 4 – Redemption Period – once you cross the grace period, you still have a chance to recover and renew your domain name. However, at this stage, you will have to pay the redemption fees to get your domain name active once again. This period is usually 30 days long. The most important thing to bear in mind is that if you wish to keep your domain name active then the best thing is to renew it well in time and not to let matters slide until it is too late to do anything. Such matters can also harm the goodwill of your brand, product or service. All can be lost just because you failed to take adequate steps and that too well in time.
Stage 5 – Pending Deletion – as the redemption period expires, your domain name enters the deletion stage. This stage is usually 5 days long and at this time you can do nothing to recover your web address. If you still want your domain name then all you can do is wait for it to get deleted and then get it registered once again as it becomes available. The major drawback in such scenarios is that you will have to be really quick in grabbing your domain name before somebody else can. So at this stage, you are at a really high risk of losing your domain name altogether.
In the virtual world getting the right domain name at the right time will go a long way in making you and your venture successful. Smartness is in ensuring that from your side you take all the necessary steps that will guarantee the same. The domain name might seem like a very small thing once you have built your reputation in your niche. Yet all good comes undone when somebody else cash’s on your available domain name and lures away your customers. A small mistake like letting your domain name expire will then lead to big consequences. Hence the most important thing to bear in mind is to renew your website address or domain name well in time. This will save you a lot of heartache at a later on time.