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Understanding the Domain Name Drop Cycle

Anyone considering building their own online presence should know that a domain name is crucial to success. Of course, getting, and keeping the domain name of your dreams isn't always as simple as it seems. In fact, there are many complexities to consider when choosing your domain name, besides making the decision between a .com, or URL.

The domain name life cycle is one of the first things any new web master should learn about before investing in their domain. All domain names start the same way - they're all available for registration to begin with. However, as time passes by, some names are registered, dropped, and more. Here, we'll discuss the lifecycle of the average domain name, and how you can grab a domain name that's recently expired.

Remember, Domain Names Are Not Owned

Before we get into the meat of this article, one of the first things you'll need to understand about the domain name life cycle, is that domain names aren't actually "owned property". A lot of people assume that just because they spend money on domain, that domain becomes their property forever. However, the truth is that domain names are "leased" from a global registry. Even the "" domain name will expire every few years - if Google didn't have a strategy in place to keep hold of that name, then they could effectively lose it.

You can check the expiration date and status of any website by going online and searching on When a domain name is in the "registered" status, it can be used for a specific length of time by the person who chose to register that name. However, after the time runs out, if the name is not renewed, then it will be released back into the registry, where someone else will be able to access it.

The domain name life cycle includes the following stages:

  • Available
  • Active/Renewed
  • Expired
  • Redemption
  • Pending drop/deletion

Available Domain Names

An "available" domain name is one that hasn't been chosen by any other active company or business at this time. If a domain name is available, then you can choose to register it for yourself using a registrar like GoDaddy, for instance. Often, "available" domain names can be registered for a period of between one and ten years. During this time, the "active" status of the name might automatically renew, to ensure that the business in question doesn't lose access to their chosen domain name.

Registered/Active Domain Names

After a company chooses an available domain name and pays for it, then the name will become active. The domain must stay with the current registrar for a period of at least 60 days after activation or registration. Following this period, the name can then be transferred into a different registrar according to the company's preferences.

Your domain name will stay registered for the length of the term that you've paid for. After this time is over, you will need to make sure that you pay for the domain name to be renewed if you want to keep it. Most of the time, registrars will send out a reminder long before the domain is due to expire, to ensure that you won't miss your chance to keep your website up and running. Ideally, you should renew long before your domain period runs out, for the best chances of success.

The Expired Period

A domain name that hasn't been renewed will be deactivated within a day, or twenty-four hours of the name terms expiring. Since the registrar often owns the domain, it will prevent your email and website from working. However, you should find that for a period of between one and forty-five days, you will be able to renew your domain name again for the standard price if you want to.

When the domain name expires, you won't be able to transfer it over to a different registrar unless you renew it first, and wait the grace period. This means that it's tough to manage any expired domain names you might have. You'll need to check your registrar policies and processes to find out more about how long a domain name will stay "expired" for.

The Redemption "Grace" Stage

When the expired period of a domain name ends, then the name will enter a period of 30 days, during which time, most registrars will begin to delete the information contained on the domain. The domain may be removed from the internet entirely, which means that getting your settings and information back could be very expensive.

During the redemption period, you will still be able to buy your domain name back, however, most registrars will charge a high price to recover your domain. It's best to avoid the redemption period if possible for this reason.

The Pending Deletion Period

Finally, following the 30-day period of redemption, and just before the domain name becomes available again, it will enter a "pending delete" period for up to five days. During this time, you cannot restore your domain. In other words, there's nothing you can do to prevent your domain from being deleted from the registry.

While your domain name is pending deletion, you'll simply have to wait, and then try to register the same name again when the five days are up. Since other people can just as easily register the domain name, you could risk losing it.

Always Renew Your Domain Names Early

A domain name might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to establishing your online presence. However, these titles are how you gather users and familiar fans online. If you lose your domain name, you could risk losing valuable traffic and profits too.

If you want to keep hold of your domain name, then the best thing you can do is make sure that you renew it as early as you can. This will help you to save some all-important cash, while reducing the risk that you'll lose your domain. Most registrars will even offer automatic renewal solutions to ensure you never miss out on keeping your domain.

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