Frequently Asked Questions

The NearlyFreeSpeech.NET FAQ (*)

Domain Registration (*)

Q. I let my domain expire a while ago. Now I'm trying to renew it and I get "renewal failed." Why?

If you let your domain expire, you can usually renew it as normal during the renewal grace period. After that, it moves into the redemption period ("queued for deletion" or "pending delete restorable"). Such domains can often be restored, but the desire to do so must be communicated manually all the way down the chain from you to the TLD registry, who must then perform the recovery by hand. For this reason, they charge a hefty fee for such recoveries, which we must pass along. (Or so the story goes. It used to be a manual process on the part of the registry and registrar. We're pretty sure they automated their part long ago and just conveniently "forgot" to adjust the fee accordingly.)

The fee to restore a domain is shown on our public site. For the most common top-level domains, the automated restore fee is $61 but it can vary widely for other top-level domains. We do not profit from this, nor do we have any control over the restore process. We are merely passing along our costs. It is typically not necessary, but you can also request a manually-assisted restore through our assistance request system; the manual restore cost is $5.00 higher than the automated restore cost to cover our manual processing time. (This extra cost for a manual restore is waived for subscription members.)

What does this mean? If your domain has expired and is now past the grace period, you have two options:

  1. Pay the stiff restoration fee to have your domain manually recovered.
  2. Wait for the domain to be completely deleted and then try to re-register it.

If you want to restore a domain, use the "Restore" button on the "Status" line of the "Registration Details" box of the "Registration Details" panel for your domain in our member interface. If there is no "Restore" button there, the domain is not in a restorable status.

If you choose to wait, you risk the domain being registered immediately upon deletion by domain profiteers. The chance of this happening is based on the domain's previous popularity and public perception of its traffic stats (as determined by sites like Alexa). If a profiteer registers the domain, they will often want hundreds or thousands of dollars to sell it back to you.

If you choose to pay the redemption fee, it takes 1-2 days before you can use the domain again. As with all renewals performed after the expiration date, there is no way to speed this up.

Neither choice is attractive, which is why we recommend against letting your domain registration lapse unintentionally. If a domain you want to keep expires, renew it immediately. But try to avoid letting important domains expire at all. There is no penalty for early renewal, and we offer domain auto-renewal for critical domains that must not be allowed to expire.

If you are in this situation and want to pay the redemption fee:

  1. Make sure you have the funds on deposit.
  2. Go to the Domains tab.
  3. In the domain list, select the "Manage" button in the "Registrar" column for your domain.
  4. On the Registration Details panel:
    1. Find the Registration Details box in the upper left.
    2. Find the "Status" line.
    3. Select the "Restore" button.
  5. Read the Restore Domain panel.
  6. If you want to restore the domain, select the "Place Restore Order" button.

Note: Domains in the "queued for deletion" state cannot be restored; you have to wait (up to seven days) for them to move to "pending delete restorable." Once a domain moves from "pending delete restorable" to just "pending delete" it is too late; the domain can no longer be restored by any force, and must be pursued as a new registration once the deletion is completed.