Have you forgotten to renew your domain name or hosting ever? If the answer is no, then congratulations, and please keep in mind to renew them on time. However, not everyone is that lucky to renew their domain name and hosting service once they are expiring. Usually, the domain vendor or hosting vendor will give one month buffer period for us to pay the bill before they completely release the domain name or delete whole files on the hosting. Most of the case, lots of people forget to renew the plan, but they will find the website unavailable to access. Eventually people will renew the plan in time. However, there are always worst cases, and this time, it happened on one of my friend.
What Happened When Domain Name Expired
When the worst case happened, we would have to pay much more for the lesson, than renewing the plan on time. For example, if the domain name expired, the domain vendor will give one month buffer time (grace period) to renew. During grace period, the owner can still renew the domain name with normal price. After grace period, the expired domain name enters redemption period, the period can last from 2 weeks to 1 month. During redemption period, the owner has to pay more than only the renewal fee. The extra fee is called redemption fee. If the owner still doesn’t realize the problem duration this period, he will lost the right to claim his domain. If you miss this opportunity, it’s high possible you will lost your domain. As after the redemption period, the domain will be released for public auction. When you are in such situation, you will have to pay far more than you expected to get back your domain. So, go luck. This is how Godaddy explains the domain expiration timeline.
Lost Both Domain Name and Hosting Files
However, losing your domain name is not the worst case so far. What happened if you lose both domain name and website files (deleted from hosting when your hosting service expired). That could be the nightmare. Here I will demonstrate how I help my friend recover a website after he lost his domain name and hosting file.
Recover Expired Domain Name
In previous section, I already explain what happened if a domain name is expiring. In grace stage or redemption stage, you still have the right to claim your domain. After that, you have to auction or buy the domain from new host.
Renew Expiring Domain Name on Time
Keep watching on expiring domain name is a very good habit. Usually, when your domain name is expiring before the exact expired date, the domain name vendor will keep sending your notification email. To reduce the risk of losing the domain name, please be careful and keep in mind to renew the expiring domain name.
Buy Back the Domain Name with Huge Price
When I find it doesn’t belong to me anymore, it’s too late already. I am using the whois service (provide by namecheap) and find out the new master is selling the domain at a huge high price. I have no choice but accept the price to redeem the domain name (otherwise I give up this website). In the end, I get the domain name back with a huge cost.
Recover Deleted Website Content
The next step to recover a deleted website is getting the website content back. There are two ways, restoring from the backup or restoring from historical web cache.
Restore from Backup
That’s an easy job if you have the backup file. If you have a good habit to make backup from time to time. Then it will be a wonderful way to restore your website. Unfortunately, if you don’t have that good habit, or you don’t have the latest backup. Please continue to read the following section.
Restore Website from Web Cache
The most famous web cache is Google search web cache or the wayback machine (archive.org). This way is really depending on 3rd party service and your website quality. For website with google quality, for example, with good traffic. The 3rd party cache service like Google search or Wayback Machine will take the snapshot of your website at a very high frequency if you regularly update your website content. Then, you can get back your website content from their cache.
Restore Deleted Web Page from Google Cache
From Google cache, you can get back the latest content of your website page which Google take the snapshot of web page as a backup. It is reliable if the website is offline for a short period time. If your website is down for months, this way will no longer reliable as Google also clear their caches from database. To view web pages cached in Google search results, please check this Google document.
Restore Deleted Web Page from Archive.org
If your website was deleted several months ago, and you don’t have any backup, archive.org will be the last opportunity. To restore the website from archive.org, here are several steps:
- Step 1. Go to archive.org and search your website with domain name
- Step 2. Pick up the latest cache from calendar
- Step 3. Trace way back until finding the correct web content
- Step 4. Copy and paste content to your new website.
Archive.org provides a simple UI for you to search website cache. Just like Google search, you can type in the website address in the search form. It will automatically popup all result it has. If you are luck, you will find the record in the result.
In the search result, you can choose a specific cache by date in the calendar. When you click on a date, you will get the snapshot of the website on that day.
Sometimes, the latest cache may not be the right cache you want to. Then you can click the left arrow to check the older version.
Once you find the correct web page cache, you can simple copy and paste the text and image in your website. Here you have to be careful that it’s better to keep your new website link as same as the old one, which will benefit traffic from old links.
Archive.org doesn’t guarantee that it can cache 100% of your website content, for example, some images may miss. But it is still the best way (sometimes it is the last way) to restore a deleted website. Still, good luck for you.
5 Best Ways to Backup Your Website
Usually, it’s too late to restore a website once it is gone by accident. To avoid this or reduce the loss to lowest, backup your website from time to time is still the best. It sounds simple, but hard to continue to do that regularly. Here is the 5 best ways to keep your website safe.
Enable Your Domain Name Auto Renew
Most of the domain name vendor like Godaddy or Namecheap, they have auto-renew feature on their portal. This will be the safest way to keep your domain name safe. Otherwise, you have to check your domain name at a fixed duration to make sure they are renewed on time.
Backup Your Website File
I believe most of us using sharing hosting service with cPanel. Then, go to the cPanel, compress your website files, download the zip file and save it in a safe place.
Backup Your Database
If a database powers your website, for example, MySQL or MariaDB, please backup your database along with your website files. The database is as important as your website files.
Schedule Your Backup Task
If your website is powered by WordPress or Joomla, there are several plugins or extension which can help you run the backup task on time. For example, updraftplus for WordPress or Akeeba Backup for Joomla.
Schedule Backup Script in Server
This way is more professional. For normal people it may not be applicable. If your website hosting supports script, such as VPS or cloud server, you can run a backup (bash) script as a cron job, to backup your website and database together on time. Here is a backup bash script example which I am using on my cloud Linux server.
Website Backup Service
If you are too busy to do all these, choosing a nice agent to do so will be a good decision. The professional agents will help to keep watching on your domain name and website status. Their service will include backup your website content and database in time, restore your website if there is any accident, and security checking. If you want to know the details about this website management service, please contact us.