Renewal Failure, ONLY specific domains

Has anyone else run into this perplexing problem?

My default payment method has worked for over a thousand Cloudflare transactions but is now glitching over the renewal of just 2 domains. It is working fine for ALL other Cloudflare transactions, including all domain renewals (auto and manual), and domain transfers.

The auto renewal of domain A failed on Nov 17th, as did an automated re-attempt on Nov 22nd.

The auto renewal of domain B failed on Nov 22nd, as did an automated re-attempt on Nov 27th.

What is interesting is that before, during and after those attempts, there were many other auto renewals, ALL of which processed with no problem using the same default payment method. The problem is not the card. The problem is domain-specific.

My own attempts to manually renew those 2 domains generated no indication of failure in the dashboard (only the absence of the usual green pop-up announcing a successful renewal) but resulted in emails titled “We were unable to renew your domain” that stated “It looks like we had trouble processing your credit card”.

To confirm that the card itself was not the problem, I immediately transferred a domain from Godaddy to Cloudflare, using the same default payment method. The payment and transfer processed and completed with no problem at all. I then manually renewed another domain, no problem at all. I then re-attempted manual renewal of both problem domains, failure again.

SO, it appears that these two domains have gained some sort of flag that is preventing Cloudflare’s system from processing them. My card provider confirms that these requests are not reaching them. My guess is that the original auto-renewal failures created these flags, effectively “blacklisting” these domains and preventing Cloudflare’s system from proceeding with any transaction involving them.

The fact that domains that experience a payment failure at some point receive some sort of flag is confirmed by the fact that each such domain has a special alert on their domain management page, saying:

We were unable to process your payment. To keep your domain registration, update your payment method.

Again, the card is not the problem, something else is preventing these 2 domains, and ONLY these 2 domains, from successfully initiating transactions.

This domain-specific failure is dangerous because it means that Cloudflare’s auto renewal system is not truly automated. You MUST pay close attention to the emails you receive because, whereas an actual card problem would become obvious when none of your domains are renewing, the failure of individual domains to auto renew (even on the system’s repeat attempts) could easily slip your notice.

When you do notice it, a temporary solution would be to transfer the domain out of Cloudflare, but this is not ideal because we all prefer to centralize our domains in one registrar.

A better solution would be for Cloudflare Support to, at customer request, process these “stuck” renewals against our default payment method, overriding any flags. In my experience, however, it is extremely difficult to get Cloudflare Support to actually read support tickets. You usually have to battle through a series of canned responses based on their guesses, from the ticket title, of the most common answer that is vaguely in the same area.

The best and permanent solution would be for Cloudflare to identify the domain-specific flag that is preventing the initiation of transactions. The specific domain should be irrelevant as far as the actual transaction is concerned. The purpose of this post is to signal that this is not currently the case.

Just updating this in case anyone else has a similar problem.

After a week, my support ticket is now being addressed by folks from both the Billing and the Registrar teams.

I am hopeful this glitch will be fixed for everyone and that we can all just leave our renewals on autopilot.

Three weeks on, Cloudflare have been unable to work out why these two domains cannot be renewed by me, and a third domain has now emerged with the same problem.

The same payment method has continued to be used for well over a hundred other Cloudflare transactions with no problem at all, so, I am remain confident that this is a bug in Cloudflare’s system, somehow flagging these domains and preventing the renewal transaction from proceeding before they ever get beyond the system.

Cloudflare support have assured me that, as a last resort, the domains will be manually renewed by them. The first has now passed it’s expiry date without any sign of that renewal, so, I am somewhat worried.

I will update this thread to let you know how it all goes.