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What Happens When a Domain Name Expires?

Owners of expired domain names can reclaim their domain during the grace period.

What happens when a domain name expires can help protect the domain name owner from accidentally losing a domain. There is a grace period during which domain name owners can reclaim expired domain names just in case the domain was not renewed by accident. There are some owners who do not want a domain name any longer and allow it to expire. Either way, the grace period allows domain name owners to reclaim a wanted domain name.

Grace Period Time Frame

When a domain name has expired, the owners of the domain have 45 days to renew the domain name with a domain registration service. A domain registrar or registration service is a company that registers a domain name for a customer and manages the ownership account for the domain owner. Domain name owners can renew their expired domains without an additional fee or penalty during the 45-day grace period. The registration service is not allowed to sell the domain name to other interested parties during the grace period. The 45-day grace period is not required by law; therefore, registration services reserve the right to decrease or increase the length of the grace period.

Redemption Period Time Frame

The redemption period, also referred to as the RDP by registration services, is 30 days. The 30-day period allows a domain name owner to buy back the expired domain name for additional fees and penalties imposed by the registration service. The website statistics and analytics for the domain name are lost when a domain enters the redemption period.

Deletion Phase Time Frame

The deletion phase for an expired domain name is five days. No one is allowed to purchase the domain name during this phase. The deletion phase allows other interested parties to prepare for the domain name auction. The domain name will go up for auction at the end of the deletion phase when the public can bid on the name through an auction service or domain registration service. The domain name will be sold to the highest bidder.


The 45-day grace period and redemption period are not required by law; these are industry practices. If a registration service has other parties interested in the expired domain name, that service has the right to sell the domain name to another interested party after the deletion phase, either through an auction service or domain name back-order service. Registration services that do not follow the 45-day grace period or redemption period run the risk of having complaints lodged against them through consumer reporting agencies such as the Better Business Bureau. Domain name owners should always read the terms of their agreement before allowing a domain name to expire.


An expired domain name may or may not show up as registered in a registry services directory of registered domain names. It is up to the domain name owner to verify if he still has possession of the domain name after the expiration date. The domain name owner must decide whether to renew the domain or allow it to enter the deletion phase.



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