If you’ve ever had a website, you know that finding the perfect domain name for your brand can be a time-consuming and challenging process.
However, once you have it, it is yours until it expires.
What Are Expired Domain Names?
An expired domain name is one that was previously registered by an individual, brand, or organization but was not renewed before the expiration date, or was intentionally canceled.
It signifies that this domain can be re-registered.
Related: Is it Worth Buying Expired Domains?
Why Do Domain Names Expire?
It’s all too easy to forget that a domain name registration is just for a limited time.
Even if the domain name is yours at the moment and may remain for years, there is still a chance that it may be taken away from you.
This might happen in a variety of ways:
#1 No reminder notices for renewals
If you have turned off renewal reminder alerts, you may be setting yourself up for catastrophe.
While auto emails and notifications might be annoying, they can also save you when it matters.
Even if you turn off renewal reminders manually (for whatever reason), some domain registrars will start sending reminders by email to your listed email address 30 days before the domain expires.
#2 Auto-renew is turned off
You can avoid unnecessary regrets by setting your account to auto-renew. Some people make the mistake of turning it off, thereby losing their domain name.
When auto-renew is enabled, your domain name will be automatically renewed before its expiration date, usually a day before.
#3 Billing information that is no longer valid
When you lose a credit card or it expires, it’s easy to forget about all of the websites, services, and subscriptions you’ve linked to that card and have set to auto-bill.
In such circumstances, updating the billing information on a domain name you registered years ago and then configured to auto-renew will be the last thing on your mind.
If you lose or get a new credit card, log into your billing account to determine what needs to be updated with accurate billing information.
#4 Different domain registrars
The more domains you have, the easier it is to lose track of them or mix them up.
It’s all too easy for domain names to fall through the cracks and expire especially if they are registered through many different registrars.
We recommend merging all your domains into a single service. By doing so, you consolidate all of your domains into one place and attach them to a single billing account.
#5 Wait too long to renew
Domain owners might have received several renewal reminders or notifications, but some of them just wait too long to renew their domain and reach the point at which nothing can be done.
When A Domain Name Expires, What Happens?
During the expiry of a domain name, several things will happen:
1. Domain name registration expiry reminders
The registrar will start sending you email notifications before the expiration of your domain name registration.
2. The registration of a domain name expires
If the domain is not renewed by the owner before the expiration date, the domain’s status is changed to Renewal Grace Period. When a domain expires, it enters a three-stage Redemption Grace Period (RGP) during which you can still renew it before it’s deleted and re-enters the market.
- Auto-Renew Grace Period: For about 29 days after the expiration date, you can renew your domain at standard rates. Once the renewal payment is processed, your domain will be reactivated.
- Redemption Grace Period: After 29 days, your domain enters the Redemption Grace Period, which typically lasts 30 days. During this period, your domain is managed by ICANN/Enom and is removed from the zone file, causing the website and email to stop working. To renew the domain during this period, the fees are usually higher.
- Post-Redemption Period: After about 30 days in the Redemption Grace Period, the domain name will be deleted. Once deleted, the domain name may be available for registration at standard rates. However, during the Redemption Grace Period, your domain name may be listed for auction, and if it is sold, you will not be able to re-register it.
During the 30-day grace period, you still have a chance to renew the domain name without paying additional fees.
Your domain name will be deactivated and replaced with a parking page saying the domain name has expired as soon as one day after expiration, and other services you have associated with the domain name may no longer operate.
3. The renewal grace period expires
The status of the expired domain name is moved to Registrar Hold once this term expires.
The original domain owner has 30 days to pay a redemption charge as well as the renewal fee.
4. Registrar auction
While the domain name is on hold with the registrar, the registrar may attempt to sell it in a domain auction to the highest bidder. This process allows interested parties to bid on valuable domain names that are currently unavailable for general registration.
If it sells, the highest bidder will have to wait the entire 30 days for the registrar’s hold to be lifted before they can take possession of the domain name.
If the original owner decides to renew within this time, the bidding cost is reimbursed, and the domain name remains in the original owner’s possession.
If the original owner of the domain name does not renew it within 30 days, the domain name is transferred to the auction winner.
5. Closeout sale
If the domain name is not acquired at auction or renewed by the original owner, the registrar will frequently advertise it as a closeout sale, where it can be purchased for a lower ‘buy it now’ price, in addition to the domain name registration charge.
6. Redemption period
After the registrar hold expires and the domain name has not been acquired or renewed, it is returned to the registry.
The domain name is put into redemption period status when it is released, which means it cannot be modified or removed for 30 days.
During this time, the original owner can pay the redemption price as well as the renewal charge to have the website and email restored.
7. Registry grace time expires
The domain will eventually be erased if no restoration efforts are made by the original owner, registry, or registrar.
After this deletion, the domain name will be available for general registration again.
Related article: What is Domain Grace Period and Redemption Grace Period?
Is Utilizing an Expired Domain Possible?
Yes, you can utilize an expired domain, and it can be a strategic move from an SEO perspective. Expired domains can be valuable for starting a new website with pre-existing SEO value, boosting your site’s authority through redirection, sourcing valuable backlinks, flipping for profit, or building a Private Blog Network (PBN).
However, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough analysis of the domain’s past, its SEO metrics, and its authority levels before purchasing. While expired domains can be a valuable SEO resource when used correctly, this strategy comes with risks and should be undertaken with a clear understanding of these risks.
How To Keep Your Domains From Expiring
Some domains are allowed to expire intentionally, while others do so by mistake. There are a few key things you can do to avoid expiration by accident.
To begin with, renew your domains as soon as possible. Second, make sure your domains are configured to renew automatically.
Your domains will automatically renew when they near their expiration date.
Finally, double-check that your renewal billing information is updated. If the credit card on your account has expired, your domain will not be renewed.
Getting to Know Domain Lifecycle
Before you can invest in expired domains, you must understand how domain names function.
Each domain name will have a unique lifecycle. Here are the six phases of a domain name’s lifecycle:
- Renewal Grace Period
- Redemption Grace Period
- Pending Delete
To assess domain availability, you must first know which phase of the domain name’s lifecycle it is in.
If the domain name is in its renewal grace period, you are unable to register it since this time is reserved for the domain’s current owner to renew it.
You must wait until stage 6 – Domain Released – before you can begin registering the expired domain name.
You may read more about the domain lifecycle here.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced website owner, keep in mind that you’re only renting a domain name for a set period.
To preserve your domain name, you’ll have to pay a renewal price now and then. If you let your domain name expire, someone else may register it and you’ll lose ownership.
To avoid losing your domain name, keep your credit card up to date, choose auto-renewal domain, and keep your contact information updated in your account.