What happens when your domain name expires?

Having a domain name is a bit like a land lease. You possess the land but you don’t own it. When the lease expires, you either renew or you lose rights to the property.

Domain names are digital assets that you lease from domain name registrars who lease it to you on annual basis. A domain costs anywhere from $10 to as much as $500 per year and its renewed for between 1 year to as not more than 10 years.

When your domain name expires and you don’t renew it, you can stand to loose it. Usually there’s a grace period of between 7, 14 to 45 days after your expiry date is passed. This is the time your domain registrar gives you a chance to reclaim your domain. Within this period, your registrar might send your notifications or try to charge your debit/credit card if you auto-renew is turned on.

After the grace period has expired, some registrars have a redemption period. This period can last from two weeks to 30 days, and, during this time, the current registrant can renew the domain name by paying a redemption fee along with the domain name’s renewal fee. This redemption fee various from one registrar to another and it range from $10 to $500.

If even after the redemption period you still don’t renew your domain, the registrar might now auction your domain where interested parties place bids on the domain.

If nobody purchases the domain through an auction, the registry releases it up to the public for registration. Domains are sold on first-come, first serve basis. If your domain is of high value, it’ll most likely to purchased by someone else even though they don’t have any immediate business interests in it. In fact, there are several websites online that constantly monitor expired domains and purchase them immediately with the hope of reselling them to the highest bidder.

In summary, this is the domain name lifecyle;

  • Domain is available for registration
  • Domain is registered
  • Domain Expires
  • Renewal Grace period ( about 30 days)
  • Renewal Redemption period(about 30 days)
  • Auction period (about 30 days)
  • Close out sale (domain deleted and released back for generation registration)

Note that you can still file a domain renewal complaint with ICANN, but the following conditions must be fulfilled;

  • You didn’t receive domain renewal notices before the domain expired.
  • You didn’t receive an expiration notice within 5 days after the expiration date, if not already deleted or renewed.
  • Your registrar didn’t not interrupt your web page service after expiration before deleting the domain name.
  • Your registrar didn’t permit you to renew your domain name during the auto-renew grace period.
  • Your registrar didn’t permit you to restore your domain name during the redemption grace period.
~ source: ICANN

To save yourself from this headache that comes with expired domains;

  • Activate auto-renew with your domain registrar. When a domain expires, your registrar will attempt to charge your credit/debit card automatically. However, someones even this fails due to low account balance on your debit card for instance or invalid credit/debit card details.
  • Keep your contact information especially the administrator email as updated as possible. This the email your registrar will use to contact you when a domain expires. Make sure emails from your domain registrar land in the priority inbox or some highly visible inbox that you can’t miss.
  • Have all your domains registered with one domain registrar. Having your domains spread across various registrars increasing the chances you’ll miss or forget about one of them. I tend to register all my domains with name.com.
  • Subscribe to third-party domain name monitoring services. There are several on the internet. Site Monki provides domain monitoring and protection for most TLDs and ccTLDs. You can add as many domains as you wish and we shall send your reminders when your domain is about to expire 14 days, 3 days, on expiry day, 3 and 14 days after it has expired. We can even call you if you want. Get started for Free.

Image: Pixabay