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What does clientHold mean? / Why is the domains suspended?

Updated Oct 31st, 2017 at 13:07 GMT

If a domain status (can check in WHOIS usually) shows as "clientHold" or "serverHold" it means that it's been suspended and the domain will not work while in this state.

clientHold can be due to various reasons, the most common are:

  • ICANN Contact Verification was not completed
  • Domain has expired
  • It has been locked due to a compliance issue

ICANN Contact Verification:

As of 1st January 2014 registrar (us and OpenSRS) is now required to verify WHOIS contact data.

This means that when someone updates the Registrant name and/or email address it will trigger the verification process and an email will be sent to the registrant asking them to click a link and verify the domain.

If the registrant fails to click the link and verify their details within 15 days then the domain will be put on clientHold and will stop working.

To fix this, the client needs to click the link in their email. 

If the email address doesn't work, or is old they can update the contact details normally - this will then re-trigger verification and a new email will be sent to the new address - once that's clicked it will unsuspend the domain.

Domain has expired:

When a domain expires, sometimes it might be put on clientHold - other times the nameservers are changed.

If this is the case all that needs to be done to bring it back online is to renew the domain normally.

Compliance issue:

This one is trickier, sometimes you might be able to see that a special lock is applied in the domain view in OpenSRS or HRS - other times you might not be able to check this.

If you have check and you're sure that the domain has not expired, and the verification status shows that it's NOT pending verification then you should escalate this to Dan, who can then determine if it's a compliance issues where we have placed a lock on the domain or follow up with the appropriate registrar partner's compliance team to hopefully try and resolve the issue and get the domain back online.