Irrespective of where you registered your domain name, it helps to renew your domain name on time. Not doing so can cause a lot of problems.
At Web4Africa, we have dealt with a lot of difficult situations, where clients have not renewed their domains early enough. We do send out 5 notices via e-mail, before a domain eventually expires but for varying reasons, some still fail to renew their domain name(s) on time.
Though most domain extensions can be renewed within 30 days after their expiry, the registrar usually parks the domain name, immediately after expiry. Thus even when the client decides to renew, the domain name can take up to 48 hours to start working again, due to DNS propagation issues.
A worse scenario is where the domain name enters REDEMPTION PERIOD. In this state, the domain name cannot be renewed through the normal means and is typically expensive to redeem. In addition to the high expense, redeeming a domain takes a few days.
Things can still get even worse. A worst case scenario is where a domain is deleted from the registry and taken-up by someone else. Domains are typically deleted from their registry after the redemption period if the owner fails to redeem them. Once deleted, they become available once again, to the fastest taker. The rush would depend on how valuable the domain name is. A valuable domain can be taken within minutes after it is purged from the registry while “useless” domains are usually never re-registered.
In a nutshell, it helps to renew your domain name on time, to avoid the embarrassment, higher cost or outright loss of a domain name you might have invested in over the years.
A much easier way is to always register/renew your domains for multiple years. Most domain extensions can be registered for up to 10 years. Doing so can give you some peace of mind and it also helps to ensure that only your important email addresses are used with your domain service provider. That way, you can be sure to receive the expiry notices.