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What happens when a global domain name expires?

 

In the early days of the Internet when a domain name expired it was available to the public for registration. Unfortunately this process has since changed and a domain name expiry date in a whois lookup is no longer a true reflection of the actual date that the domain will become available to the public.

If a domain name owner either decides they no longer want the domain name or simply forgets to renew it the domain name status changes to 'expired' which is where it will stay for a 40 day 'grace period' (to give the owner a final chance to renew the domain name before it will be released to the public again). During these 40 days all services are shut off (website, email) but the owner still has the opportunity to renew the domain name for the standard renewal fee.

After these 40 days, the domain names status changes from 'expired' to 'redemption period', which means that all Whois information starts to be erased. Depending upon the existing registrar, this stage can last around 30 days and for the previous owner to now renew the domain name, a reactivation fee is now applied.

Once the redemption period has completed, the domain name will then move into a 'Pending Delete' phase, this phase. This phases lasts for 5 days, on the 5th day at a random time between 11am and 2pm Pacific time the domain will be released to the public for registration again.

With the recent popularity of Domain Name Catch sites, there may be many people who have already bid on the domain name in an auction type system with the hope that a domain name catch site will register the domain name the minute it becomes available on the highest bidders behalf. If you have your eye on a domain name that is in an 'Pending Delete' state, unfortunately your best bet may be trying your luck with one of these Domain Catch sites to avoid missing out on the domain name again.

Overall the entire process takes around 75 days from the date listed as the expiry date.

 

See Related: What happens when an Australian domain name expires?