How are Auto-Renew domains renewed and charged?

The following is an overview of how auto-renew domains are charged, billed, and renewed at DreamHost.

What is the difference between the expiration and renewal date?

First, it's important to understand the difference between the expiration date and renewal date of a domain:

Expiration date

This is the date the domain name officially expires. For all domains, it is one day before a full calendar year from when you originally purchased the domain.

You can view this date by visiting the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page, or running a WHOIS query and looking for the 'Expiration date' line item. 

Renewal date

This date is different depending on if your domain is a general domain (such as .com) or a specific 'Auto-Renew Only' domain (see below).

  • General domains — The credit card is charged, the account billed, and domain is renewed 31 days prior to the expiration date.
  • 'Auto-Renew Only' domains —  The credit card is charged and account is still billed 31 days prior to the expiration date, however the renewal date is different: the renewal date is the same as the expiration date.

What is the difference between ‘Charging the card’ and ‘Billing the account’?

The ‘Charge date’ is the date your credit card is charged for the domain renewal.

‘Bill account’ is the date your DreamHost panel posts the charge that is due. Billing the account only posts the information to your DreamHost panel—it does not actually attempt to charge the credit card at all.

How to check if a domain is set to auto-renew

New domain registrations and domains transferred to DreamHost are automatically defaulted to 'auto-renew'. You can adjust this setting by visiting your panel using the following instructions.

Regular domains

You can set a regular domain to auto-renew on the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page. When you set it to auto-renew, the option is set to 'YES'.

'Auto-Renew Only' domains

The auto-renew setting is found on the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page.

The "Auto-renew by" or "Delete by" deadline is listed on the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page, directly beside the expiration date.

To renew an 'Auto-Renew Only' domain correctly, the domain's auto-renew setting must be enabled prior to the “Auto-renew by” or "Delete by" date found in the panel.

When you hover over the tooltip, the following note box appears:

If the domain is not auto-renewed on the expiration date as described below, it goes into a redemption period during which it can usually be recovered for an additional fee.

How regular domains are charged and billed if they are set to auto-renew

31 days prior to expiration date:

  • The credit card is charged.
  • If the charge is successful, the account is billed for the renewal.
  • If the charge is unsuccessful, the domain’s renewal status changes to ‘ASK’. An email is sent to the account owner notifying them that an attempt to charge the credit card was made and was unsuccessful, along with instructions on how to manually renew/turn back on auto renew.
Date of purchase Charge card Bill account Renewal date Expiration date New annual term begins
Jan 1, 2017 Nov 30, 2017 Nov 30, 2017 Nov 30, 2017 Dec 31, 2017 Jan 1, 2018

A renewal receipt is emailed to the account owner that shows the date of charge and the date of renewal.

How 'Auto-Renew Only' domains are charged and billed

What are 'Auto-Renew Only' domains?

Certain country-code and specialty top-level domains (TLDs) do not renew the same way as a .COM or other generic TLDs. These are referred to as 'Auto-Renew Only' domains.

These domains are specific domains determined by the registry. They do not have an "Add Years" button on the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page, and cannot be renewed by manually placing a renewal order.

List of 'Auto-Renew Only' domains (TLDs) at DreamHost

The following domains (TLDs) are 'Auto-Renew Only'. DreamHost strongly recommends that the auto-renew setting remain enabled on these domain names, unless the registrant chooses to discontinue renewing them:

  • .AT
  • .DE
  • .IO
  • .JP

How does DreamHost charge and bill my 'Auto-Renew Only' domain?

31 days prior to expiration date:

  • The credit card is charged.
  • If the charge is successful, the account is billed for the renewal.
  • If the charge is unsuccessful, the domain’s renewal status changes to ‘ASK’. An email is sent to the account owner notifying them that an attempt to charge the credit card was made and was unsuccessful, along with instructions on how to manually renew/turn back on auto renew.

On the expiration date:

  • 'Auto-Renew Only' domain renews:
Date of purchase Charge card Bill account Renewal date Expiration date New annual term begins
Jan 1, 2017 Nov 30, 2017 Nov 30, 2017 Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2017 Jan 1, 2018

Within the 31-day period between when it is charged, billed, and expires, you are not able to change the status of 'auto-renew' in the panel. This is a safeguard that ensures the domain does indeed renew, since you’ve already paid for the renewal. All of these details are reflected in the receipt that is emailed to you when the charge occurs.

See also

 

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Article last updated PST.