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Registrar renewals procedure

At a glance

  • At three months and again at 14 days in advance we will email you a list of domain names on your tag that are due to be renewed
  • If you have not submitted a renewal request when the expiry date for a domain name is reached we will start our renewal reminder programme for registrants
  • You can use the auto-bill and next-bill fields to indicate how many days before expiry you wish to automatically renew a domain name
  • You can use the period, auto-period and next-period fields to indicate how many years you wish to renew a domain name for
  • You have a minimum of 7 days in which to cancel a renewal request once it has been submitted to us

Advance warnings

Three months in advance we will email you a warning of domain names on your tag that are due to be renewed.  For example, on 1st May 2012 we will send you a list of domain names that are due to expire in August 2012.

You can opt out of receiving these emails by selecting 'unsubscribe' at the bottom of the email.  You can also use our Online Service to opt in or opt out, or amend your email address.  Alternatively, if you prefer, you can submit a list request by expiry month through our registrar systems to return a list of domain names due to expire in your chosen month.

Renewing a domain name

You can renew a domain name on your tag on behalf of the registrant at any time.  You do this by submitting a renewal request through our registrar systems.  When we receive a renewal request the expiry date will move forward by the appropriate number of years.  Registrars that are members of Nominet can renew domain names for between one and ten years.

The 'auto-bill' field

You can use this field to indicate how many days before expiry you wish to automatically renew a domain name.  You do this by setting the 'auto-bill' field in the register to a value between 1 and 182.  This will indicate the number of days (up to six months) prior to expiry that you wish to renew the domain name.  If you set a value in the 'auto-bill' field, we will raise an invoice in the usual manner when the relevant time arrives.

You cannot set the 'auto-bill' field retrospectively, so the value you add to this field must always be in the future.  You also need to add the value to the 'auto-bill' field at least one clear day in advance of the day you intend to make the renewal.  For example, if you want to renew a domain name 10 days before it expires, you should set the value in the 'auto-bill' field to 10.  You need to do this by midnight on day 12 before the domain expires.  This means that, if a domain name is due to expire on the 24th and you want to automatically renew it on the 14th, you need to set the 'auto-bill' field to 10 at the latest by midnight on the 12th.  If you do not have enough time to add a value to the 'auto-bill' field before the domain name expires, you should submit a renewal request.

If you would like to cancel an 'auto-bill' request before the domain name has been automatically renewed, you should set the field value to zero at least one clear day in advance of the day on which you intended to make the renewal.

If you want to cancel a renewal request after the domain name has been automatically renewed and before we generate our invoice, you should first set the 'auto-bill' field to zero.  You can then cancel the renewal request by using the 'unrenew' function that is available in all our registrar systems.  We will then send an email to the registrant notifying them of the cancellation.

When you register a domain name, if you do not add a value to the 'auto-bill' field, the field value will always default to zero.  If there is a value in the 'auto-bill' field and the domain is later transferred to a new registrar, the field value will default to zero when the domain name is transferred.

The 'next-bill' field

You can also use the 'next-bill' field to indicate how many days before expiry you wish to automatically renew a domain name.  You do this by setting the 'next-bill' field in the register to a value between 1 and 182.  This will indicate the number of days (up to six months) before expiry that you wish to renew the domain name.

The 'next-bill' field is set for a single registration period only.  If you set a value in the 'next-bill' field, we will raise an invoice in the usual manner when the relevant time arrives.  We will then reset the 'next-bill' field to zero.

You should add a value to the 'next-bill' field at least one clear day in advance of the day on which you intend to make the renewal.  For example, if you want to renew a domain name 10 days before it expires, you should set the value in the 'next-bill' field to 10.  You need to do this by midnight on day 12 before the domain name expires.  This means that, if a domain name is due to expire on the 24th and you want to automatically renew it on the 14th, you need to set the 'next-bill' field to 10 at the latest by midnight on the 12th.  If you do not have enough time to add a value to the 'next-bill' field before the domain name expires, you should submit a renewal request.

If you want to cancel a 'next-bill' request before the domain name has been automatically renewed, you should set the field value to zero at least one clear day in advance of the day on which you intended to make the renewal.

If you want to cancel a renewal request after the domain name has been automatically renewed and before we generate our invoice, you should first set the ‘next-bill’ field value to zero. You can then cancel the renewal request by using the ‘unrenew’ function that is available in all our registrar systems. We will then send an email to the registrant notifying them of the cancellation.

Note: You can only add a value to either the 'auto-bill' or the 'next-bill' field.  You cannot add a value to both.

The 'period', 'auto-period' & 'next-period' fields

The period field may take one of the values 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and represents the number of years that a domain name is registered or renewed for. The auto-period and next-period values are limited to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and represent the number of years that a domain name will be renewed for.

  • period – used in registration and renewal requests to set the number of years to register or renew a domain name for. 
  • auto-period – may be set in registration or modification requests when auto-bill is set and represents the number of years that the domain name will be renewed for when an auto-bill renewal occurs. Note: this field is only used for auto-bill renewals.
  • next-period – may be set in registration or modification requests when next-bill is set and represents the number of years that the domain name will be renewed for when a next-bill renewal occurs. Note: this field is only used for next-bill renewals.

The period, auto-period and next-period fields may be set at the same time as the auto-bill and next-bill fields.  

If a registration period is not specified then a registration or renewal will be for the default period of two years.

Cancelling a renewal request

You can cancel a renewal request up until the generation of our invoice at midnight at the end of the 7th day in the month following renewal. This will give you a minimum of 7 days in which you can cancel a renewal request. You should do this by using the ‘unrenew’ function that is available in all our registrar systems. We will then send an email to the registrant notifying them of the cancellation. There is no limit to the total number of renewal requests that you can cancel. However, although you can submit a second renewal request for a domain name that you have previously ‘unrenewed’, a domain name can only have its renewal request cancelled once.

Where a registration and renewal request have been received in the same month they are consolidated into a registration request for the combined period of time.  In this situation the unrenew facility is not available.  If you wish to cancel the domain name, the delete operation should be used instead.

You cannot cancel a renewal request after we have generated our invoice at midnight at the end of the 7th day of the month following renewal.  You will have to pay the invoice in full and we will not issue a credit note even if you later detag a domain name.

If you (as current registrar) perform the renewal, we will invoice you for the renewal fees, even if you subsequently change the tag on the domain name.

If you do not submit a renewal request

If you have not submitted a renewal request when the expiry date for a domain name is reached, we will commence our renewal reminder email programme for registrants:

On expiry: We will notify the registrant 1 day after the date of expiry if we have not yet received a renewal request. The reminder will include the name and public URL of the registrar associated with the domain name and a recommendation that they contact their registrar to arrange renewal.

Suspension warning: Sent 23 days after the expiry date to warn the registrant that the domain name will be suspended in 7 days. The email explains the consequences of suspension and advises them to contact their registrar to arrange renewal.

Suspension notice: Sent 30 days after the expiry date to advise the registrant that the domain name has been suspended and that it is still not too late to renew through their registrar. We also warn of the consequences of the domain name being cancelled.

Cancellation warning: Sent 83 days after the expiry date. This email warns the registrant that the domain name will be cancelled in 7 days. The email explains that cancelled domain names are then available for anyone else to register and that it is still possible to renew the domain name, even at this late stage.

All of the emails above contain details of the specific domain name, its expiry date and the registrar and public URL for the registrar to help the registrant make their renewal. At no point in our emails to registrants with domain names on your tag do we mention the ability to renew directly with Nominet. Furthermore the ability to renew directly with us is only available in their online account 23 days after the expiry date (7 days before suspension).

Renewal reminders for domain names that are either detagged, on the Nominet tag or marked as BC (bill customer) do contain details of how to renew directly with Nominet. We do, however, advise registrants that it is usually cheaper to renew their domain name through a registrar and for detagged and Nominet tagged domain names, direct them to the registrar change function in online services. We also promote www.keepyour.co.uk in all renewal reminders as a source of information about .uk renewals.

We have also introduced the facility for registrars to add personalised text to our reminder emails. This text could be used to advise customers of renewal prices, hosting offers and promotions to encourage renewal. You can also supply us with a dedicated renewals URL so you can direct clients to a renewals landing page on your own site.

Direct renewal warning

In addition to our renewal reminder programme (explained above), you can submit a message and URL that will be displayed within our online service function at the point at which registrants make the direct renewal with us. This message will be seen by all registrants with a domain name on your tag who are attempting to renew directly with us. It will not prevent them from making that direct renewal, but provides you with the final opportunity to persuade them that they should renew through you, their registrar.

You should submit the message to us for your registrants through your online service account.

If you do not want to renew a domain name

We only invoice you for renewal fees if you submit a renewal request, so you do not need to detag a domain name to prevent its renewal.  Domain names that have not been renewed will lapse naturally.

If you do nothing, upon expiry we will commence our renewal reminder email programme for registrants (please see above). At any time up to cancellation of the domain name, you can submit a renewal request.

If your registrant has told you that they no longer require a domain name, you can set the ‘renew-not-required’ flag that is available through all our registrar systems. Rather than immediately being cancelled, ‘renew-not-required’ domain names will be suspended and cancelled in the normal way. A single notification email will be sent to the registrant to let them know that we have received the ‘renew-not-required’ instruction, however we will not send any renewal reminders.  At any time up to cancellation of the domain name, you can still submit a renewal request or the registrant can carry out a registrar change. Both of these actions will override the ‘renew-not-required’ instruction.

Detagged domain names

When a detagged domain name reaches its expiry date, we email a renewal reminder directly to the registrant.  This tells the registrant that they must act quickly if they want to keep their domain name. We tell the registrant how to move their domain name to a registrar of their choice, and  how to renew directly with us by logging in to their online service account and following the renewal instructions.  Registrants who do this will be charged at our non-member rate of £80 plus VAT for each domain name.  You should be particularly careful not to detag a domain name that you only feel your customer may not wish to renew.  Instead you should not renew the domain name until your customer instructs you.

WHOIS

You can see the expiry date and registration status for a domain name displayed on the WHOIS service.  There are three different registration statuses:

Registered until expiry date

This status will be used if:

i.    The domain name has not reached its expiry date.

ii.    If a renewal request has successfully been received from the registrar.

Renewal required

This status will be used if:

i.    The domain name has passed its expiry date but we have not received a renewal request and therefore a renewal reminder email has been sent to the registrant.

Registration not required

This status is displayed if the registrar has set the ‘renew-not-required’ flag on the domain name.

Any questions?

If you have any queries about the renewals procedure, please send your enquiry to [email protected] with the subject line 'renewals'.

Minerva House, Edmund Halley Road, Oxford Science Park, OX4 4DQ, United Kingdom