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How Do Domain Names Expire?

Domain names expire. Registrars are allowed to provide a domain name registration with a duration period of between 1 and 10 years. After your domain name registration period elapses, your domain is set to expire. You are usually notified by your registrar of any pending domain expirations. If you opt against renewing that domain, the domain eventually expires and is dropped into the available domain pool.

Be aware that registrars provide the option to auto-renew your domain names. If you own a highly valuable domain, or if you do not wish to worry about your domain ever expiring, you can easily set your domain name to auto-renew via options that your registrar provides.

The domain name expiration process is defined by a set number of domain states. These states are concrete and are conformed to by every registrar, however the duration of each state might vary from one registrar to another.

Active status is the general status of a working / live domain name. Domains in the active status can be renewed or transferred at any time.

On-hold status is the status of a domain immediately after the expiration date. A domain in the on-hold status will cease functioning, and the site that uses this domain will appear to be down.

During the on-hold status, the domain can still be renewed at normal renewal rates by the owner. The on-hold status duration varies between registrars.

Redemption Period status is a recent addition by ICANN providing the original owner with a second chance at renewing their domain.

The redemption period lasts for 30 days at all registrars and renewal costs are larger then a general renewal rate. To renew a domain in the redemption period, the owner must pay fees extending up to and over $150, depending on the registrar.

Pending Delete status is the final status prior to release of a domain name. This status follows the redemption period and lasts up to 5 days.

There is no way for the original owner to renew their domain at this time, apart from waiting for the domain to be released and then attempting to re-register it.

It is important to note that nowadays almost no domains enter the pending delete period. If they are any good, they are placed into an auction by the registrar and only if there are no bids do they eventually drop. Almost all major registrars have an associated expiring domain auction. Godaddy have TDNAM, Enom/NetSol have NameJet etc.


  1. In the Pending Delete queue at NameJet, NJ actually competes against other dropcatchers for the names – since the names are pending delete at their respective registrars.

    That is why when you backorder a Pending Delete name at NameJet there is no guarantee that the name will actually end up at NameJet.

    On the other hand, NameJet’s Pre-Release domain names will definitely be auctioned off at NameJet because of NameJet’s agreement with various registrars.

  2. Thanks for your article,
    My domain expired 12th january, 2010 and i delayed to renew it then the other month pass without renewing. i need to renew it now and there are saying that it is not available can tell me how long will it take to be available so that i can register it again?


  3. Your domain has probably entered the pending delete period/redemption period – it stays in this state for some 30 days after which time the domain name will be available to register – by you or by anyone else.

    Your best bet in getting your name back is to go to backorder services like snapnames, namejet or pool (or all of them) and backorder the domain name.


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