The Domain Name Expiration Process

Domain Expiry – What happens when a domain expires?

Once someone decides to discontinue a website, there are still several months before the domain registration expires.

Usually five days after the domain name expires, DNS servers of the domain name will be changed & all services associated with the domain name (website, emails) will stop working. Domain name may be parked by the registrar with ads and a notice that the domain name has expired.

As there is no site, just a parked domain, the indexed pages of the site start to disappear from the search engines. Affiliates remove their links and the broken links can get taken down with time.

All domain names that have not been renewed before their expiry date are expired. They are called “expired domains.” You can look up the expiry date and other data in the Whois record.

Renewal Grace Period (RGP)

After the registration expiry date the domain name will enter the so-called renewal grace period. At this point the original owner still has the right renew the domain name without additional fees. The length of this period varies depending on the registrar.

Most registrars allow a grace period that can be as short as one or two weeks or as long as a year for registrants to renew expired domain names. The actual grace period can be different for each individual registrar and domain name extension. That is, the grace period for a .com domain name might be different from the grace period for a .us domain name, even at the same registrar.

The owner cannot transfer the domain name to another registrar, unless they renew it first.

Redomainsdemption Period

Once the renewal grace period ends, the expired domain name will be under registrar hold (redemption period). During this time, which can be 30 to 45 days, the domain can still be renewed by the original owner by paying a high redemption fee (around $75-$100, depending on the registrar). This increased cost is due to the much higher cost the registrar needs to pay to the registry for domain restorations. Domains can also only be transferred to a different registrar prior to entering the redemption period.

During redemption period, you may notice the domain’s expiration date in WHOIS lookup move ahead one year in the registry database. This is a temporary auto renewal at the registry.

While under registrar hold, the registrar tries to sell the domain name in an open auction to the highest bidder. If sold, the winner must still wait till the end of the registrar hold period before taking ownership. If the original owner renews the domain name during this period, the auction winner is refunded their money and the original owner regains possession. Otherwise the domain name is transferred to the auction winner.

Some registrars, like GoDaddy, auction only their own expired domain names. Other registrars have an agreement to pool their expired domain names and make them available for purchase on a separate website, like SnapNames and NameJet, where expired domain names from multiple registrars are sold at auction.

If the domain name is not renewed by the original owner, and it is not bought at auction, some registrars attempt to sell it in a “closeout sale”. A closeout sale offers the expired domain names at a discounted Buy It Now price (plus the regular domain name registration fee). If you buy a domain name in a registrar closeout sale, the registrar hold period is still applicable, and the original owner still has a chance to renew.


If the registrar’s grace period expires and the domain name has still not been renewed, it is placed under the status of PENDINGDELETE. The domain name will remain under this status for five days, during which time it cannot be restored. The domain can no longer be renewed and will be deleted from the registry. Once your domain reaches this status, there is nothing that can be done to renew it.

The only way to get the domain back is to wait until the domain name is dropped by the registry and made available for registration.

The Drop

On the sixth day the domain name is deleted or “dropped” from the registry. The moment it’s deleted from the registry, it becomes available for registration by the general public. Most registries typically delete their domain names once a day. Thus we have “Deleted Domain Names”.

If you re-register the domain at this point, its age will reset to zero.

Since backlinks exist independent of domains, deleted domains still have a baceklink profile, good or bad, and are therefore targeted by domainers.

Technically it is possible to manually register an expired domain name the moment it is deleted, however at that point most of the domain names that have high value are already gone and there is only a small percentage remaining. You can still find domains with OK value.

Professional backorderers have a lot more resources than regular people, therefore it’s worth looking at getting a domain through backordering services. Most domains don’t have anyone trying to register them, therefore you can also take the small risk that someone might take it and just wait until deletion and re-register it at that time. 

If you need a complete guide on how you can buy expired/deleted domains and how this is beneficial to you, you can check this post here on How to buy expired domains with backlinks.

Some domainers and companies re-regrister deleted domains and sell them at a profit. You can read more about the different ways to make money from expired domains.

Domain Expiry Variations

Different domain registrars may have different expiration schedules.

As an example, NameSilo doesn’t follow this at all. The Expired (grace period) is 1-33 days. 5 days after expiration the domain is made available for auction bidding. On day 31 the domain auction ends. The highest bidder is awarded the domain at this time if there are any active bids. Unlike with other registrars, the owner would lose your domain at this time if it was not renewed. The new owner, if there is any, doesn’t need to wait another 30 or more days to possess the domain.

The expiration schedule can also be different for some of the new TLDs. As an example, the following domains have a different schedule:

.audio, .blackfriday, .christmas, .click, .diet, .flowers, .game, .gift, .guitars, .help, .hiphop, .hosting, .juegos, .link, .lol, .mom, .photo, .pics, .property, .sexy, .tattoo

The redemption period goes between days 34-214, and the domain gets deleted on day 220.

In the case of .beer, .boston, .casa, .cooking, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .garden, .horse, .miami, .rodeo, .surf, .vip, .vodka, .wedding, .work, .yoga, the domain gets deleted on day 85.

New GoDaddy Renewal/Expiry Domain Name Policy

GoDaddy changed their renewal/expiry domain name policy:

“We are making a change to our domain name expiry process and wanted to give you enough notice to make decisions on your portfolio. GoDaddy is changing the domain renewal timeline from 42 to 30 days for most domains. Based on our research, less than 1% of our customers renew after 30 days.

Starting Dec 4, 2017 the following changes will happen to expired domain names:

After Day 5 of expiration, DNS, email, hosting, redirecting and any other DNS-dependent services will be interrupted and stop working.
After Day 30 of expiration, domain names are no longer able to be renewed or transferred away.”

So owners now have 30 days after the expiration date to renew their domains.

At that time the domain name is already in an expired domain name auction that starts at day 25 after the expiration.

So after day 30 any domain name that receives a bid is put into a GoDaddy holding account so they can ensure delivery to the winning bidder.

Domains that go into this holding account show these details:

Registrant Name: Expiry Assignment Service
Registrant Organization: Afternic, LLC – On Behalf of Domain Owner
Registrant Street: c/o GoDaddy Redemption Services

The date when this change was going to happen was initially December 4 but due to some development problems the date became December 5.

So from December 5 any domain name that receives a bid and is more than 30 days after the expiration date is moved to this holding account.

It is not possible for a domain name owner to renew these domains.

About the Author

I am into expired domains, niche sites and sales funnels.

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