How to register an expired domain name
There’s 2 reasons you might want to register an expired domain name: It’s your own domain name and you forgot to renew. Or, it’s someone else’s domain name and you want it.
Unfortunately, it’s complicated, because different registrars and different top-level domains have different terms for how they do things. And there’s not a precise and predictable timing for how the timing will play out.
Here’s a typical timeline after a domain name expires:
- Expiration Date
- Auto-Renew Grace Period (0-45 days)
- Redemption Grace Period (30 days)
- Pending Delete (up to 5 days)
If the expired domain name was yours, then you might have around 30-60 days to renew it. Some additional fee may be required, but it’s possible that renew without penalty within 30 days of expiration. Bottom line, if you want to renew it, do it as soon as possible.
But if the expired domain name was someone else’s and you want it, you’d have to wait around 75 days after expiration. Then, try to register it on day 76, the first day of its availability, on a first-come first-served basis.
However, there are bots out there that are constantly monitoring and looking to “catch” expired domain names when they “drop,” so they’re buying up newly-available expired domains and taking them to resell at a profit. Alternatively, you can hire one of these bots to buy a domain name as a “back order” at some registrars (Godaddy, Epik) or a service like Snapnames.com or Pool.com.
Or, some registrars or registries may put the newly-available expired domain name up for an auction. If that’s the case, read DomainSherpa’s article, How to Grab an Expiring Domain Name, that explains in detail about how some expired domain names enter an auction. (cf. here’s what Godaddy does with expired .COM domains.)
ICANN definitively explains the domain expiration process this way:
Once your domain has expired, it will be in Auto-Renew Grace Period (for 0-45 days), followed by a 30-day Redemption Grace Period. At the end of the Redemption Grace Period, you will not be able to renew your domain name. Your domain name will be released for registration by third parties.
ICANN Help for Domain Renewal/Redemption answers to topics like: “Renewal Fee Paid But Domain Not Renewed,” “About Not Receiving Renewal Reminders,” “Filing a Domain Renewal Complaint Form.”