That is a good question. For years I somehow didn’t trust Dreamhost to renew my registrations automatically, so I always renewed them well in advance. One time, I decided to actually test my intuition, so I set a less-important domain to automatic renewal and waited to see what would happen.
Can you believe, it went past expiration without being renewed.
Here is the message I sent to support:
[quote]The registration for my domain [mydomain.com] is set to “auto-renew” but on the “manage domains” panel it is showing as due for renewal “17+ hours ago”
i.e. it does not appear to have been auto-renewed yet, although the registration has (apparently) expired.
Should I be concerned?[/quote]
and here is the response,
Thank you for contacting Technical Support here at DreamHost. I will be
more than happy to help you.
Looking into your account, I do see that your domain [yourdomain.com] was
set to expire on [18 hours ago]. You are given a grace period of 30 days to
renew an expired domain before it goes into redemption. Rest assure, our
system should automatically renew your domain sometime today or tomorrow.
If you notice your domain hasn’t renewed by Friday evening, I would
contact us again so we can further investigate.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Have a great night,
[Dreamhost Support Person][/quote]
Shortly after that I moved all my registrations away from Dreamhost (except for the one “free” one of course). As I am still a Dreamhost customer (their hosting has good points) I hope that we can press them for a better answer about auto-renewal than the inadequate answer which they gave to me (quoted here).