This past month, my personal website has been offline. The domain expired and I didn't do anything to prevent this from happening.

There are multiple reasons why I ignored that aspect.

The most important one was that, the domain provider doesn't have a business plan that includes customer focus and satisfaction. In other words, they do not make sure the customer is always informed and up to date with everything that happens to their account.

For eg. I did not receive any prior notice that the domain will expire soon. The only thing I received was a notice that stated the following: your domain has expired, we tried contacting you via the phone number you provided in your account, and you need to pay this X sum of money in order to get it back.

/start rant

They did not try to call me. I have my phone 24/7 on and next to me. I did not receive any call from them.

Secondly, just by providing your customers with a bill after something expired, without any prior notice, is not a good business tactic.

I know from experience that, people don't like it when you don't send them updates regarding things they're paying for.

So, I'm assuming, that their business model is not focused on costumers, at all.

/end rant

After that whole fiasco was over, I still had a droplet that was in a dire need of a domain.

While I was on the lookout for a new domain name, I started turning off all the services that kept my website in a working condition.

This means that I turned off the droplet, cleared out the nameservers, turned off all the monitoring services that I have active (for some reason I'm using multiple ones, instead of just one) and paused the mailing system.

So powering down everything was easy. This impacted a lot of things. For starters, from an SEO point of view, everything went haywire. It was like my website went of the grid.

This was the situation for about a month or so. Then, about a week ago, I came across this domain, and following in the footsteps of Alphabet I registered it.

The fun part

It took about 3h to get everything back up. Since it was a new domain, and I'm the first owner, the DNS propagation took about ~3h. This was good for multiple reasons and here's why.

First off, hats off to Ghost for making it easy to change domain names. Just by replacing the domain name in the config file and restarting the service was enough.

The Cloudflare setup was just a few clicks and ... done!

Turning on, all the monitoring services, took a bit longer because the domain name was different and I basically had to add every check again.

Setting up the mail service, since I'm using a third-party one, was again just a few clicks.

Now that everything was back up and in working order, there was only one issue left. The SEO aspect. I wanted ... scratch that ... I had to update every public account that I owned to feature the new domain name. This meant that I spent about ~2h editing every account and modifying the website. Twitter, G+, Github and so on and so forth. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about this aspect, because it was a chance for me to get up to speed with every account that I own and has a public profile attached to it.

In terms of website SEO, there was not much I had to do, just adding the necessary things to Analytics and Webmaster tools was enough.

Conclusion

The question still remains, is it worth it? Does switching domains impact you as a person, as an individual that has created a brand around him / her?

Initially I would say, yes, but it all depends on your case. It could mean a brand refresh from a marketing stand point but a nightmare for a technical point of view.

You have to think very hard before making a decision like this and put everything into perspective from a SEO point of view and from a technical stand point. If it's to difficult to change the domain name then stick with it and you should increase your visibility, but that's a whole different discussion.

What's your opinion on the whole matter? What issues have you faced when switching domain names.

Until next time, code long and prosper!

Stefan