What Happens When Domain Names Expire
Ever wonder what happens when a domain name expires? If the domain name registration, reservation, renewal and expiration process seems a little murky to you, you are not alone. The "expiration" process is particularly misunderstood (and complicated), and it is very helpful to know how it works, particularly when watching a parked domain, or one that is pending deletion, and determining whether to try and buy it from the domain owner, or put it on "back-order" with one of the registrars, or take some other action.
There is an entire industry that does nothing but try to exploit expiring domain names, and the process and nomenclature is explained in excellent detail at this site.
Here is a quick summary from the reference site (at least for .com/.net/.org/.info/.biz/.us. domains):
Generally speaking, once a domain expires, the owner has 1-75 days to renew it. and the costs associated with a renewal usually increase as the domain moves from Hold (Registrar-Hold) to RGP (Redemption Grace Period).
During the Hold and RGP stage, the DNS, e-mail and web services cease to work for the
expired domain. The domain gets removed from the zone file and does not appear to resolve (cannot find server error is displayed in the browser).
Once a domain reaches the deletion stage in the cycle (also known as PendingDelete) it can no longer be renewed and is marked for deletion by the registry. There are approximately 35,000 domains that go through the PendingDelete cycle daily.
After the 5 day PendingDelete cycle (or if a registrar chooses to immediately delete a domain), a domain drops and once again becomes available for registration.
Here are some interesting facts about the domain drop cycle:
- 120,000 to 200,000 domains expire daily due to non-renewals. Many of these are renewed as soon as the registrant realizes that their e-mail or site no longer works.
- 25,500 to 60,000 domains drop (become available) daily as part of the regular drop cycle.
- Approximately 1.5 million domains are registered and dropped daily as part of domain tasting .
- The official drop time for .com/.net is between 11 AM and 2 PM Pacific time (domains are deleted in batches throughout this period).