When Does a Domain Expire?

Written by WordPress Expert

February 1, 2023
When Does a Domain Expire?

So you got your personalized domain, but you’re not sure when it expires? Well, the good thing is that most domain registrars give you reminders to renew your domain’s registration. So, when does a domain expire? In the case you missed all of those notices, perhaps this article will help clear up a few questions.

What is a domain?

A domain name is used as a nice way to associate an area of the Internet under a memorable name. By default, websites are hosted on servers that have an IP (Internet Protocol) address assigned to them. The domain name essentially masks that IP address, so you’re not handing out an IP address to people to try to remember where your site is located.

What is a domain name registrar?

A domain name registrar is an online place that you can register and purchase your own domain name for a specific amount of time. Think of it as licensing out the domain name. These registrars make sure that no one else can double register the same domain name.

Why do you need a domain if you bought web hosting?

If you’ve bought a web hosting plan, a lot of web hosts, including Verpex offer a free domain name for the first year. The web hosting and domain are 2 separate things.

The web hosting is where your files for your website are hosted at. However, if you want people to visit your website, you need to tell them where to go.

That’s where the domain name comes into play. You use this as an easy way to remember how to get to your website.

When Does a Domain Expire?

A domain technically expires a year after you’ve registered it. The time is usually around midnight on the last day, in your time zone. So, if you’re on Eastern Central Time USA, then your domain will expire at midnight on the 365th day. However, just because it expires, doesn’t mean it’s gone from your account. You’ve got a little time to get your ducks in a row, so you can renew your domain name.

What happens to your domain if it expires?

If you’ve failed to renew your domain name registrations, then your registrar puts it in a domain grace or redemption grace period, or somewhat of a lockdown period. This grace period gives you time to renew the domain name, and nobody can snatch it up from you. Maybe money was tight? That happens, so this grace period can be helpful.

Please note that during the grace period, even if your web hosting isn’t down, the domain name registrar will shut the DNS, or domain name system connection, that tells where to point your domain to. That means your site will be down, but it’s not your web host’s fault.

The grace period is usually 80 days, according to ICANN, which helps regulate the policies behind registering a domain name. Within the grace period is an actual renewal period, and then a redemption period. The first part of the grace period is the renewal period, which lasts about 45 days. This is the time to get your domain without extra penalty fees.

With the redemption period, the second half of the grace period, some web hosts may require a fee on top of your regular renewal fee if you’ve allowed your domain name to be in the grace period for a certain amount of time. Some others don’t, but it’s important to be aware of that and read the fine terms wherever you’ve registered your domain name.

It’s also important to note that some domain registrars will vary on the regular renewal period, and it will be as short as 15 to 20 days. So, if the reason that you couldn’t renew your domain name was due to lack of cash to cover the renewal, then hopefully you can get the funds before 15 days.

Is there a waitlist for expired domains?

If you’ve allowed your domain to expire and someone has paid to be on a waitlist or backorder to grab up your domain, they won’t get your domain right away. In some cases, you may have already gotten an email from those interested in buying your domain. However, if the price was too high, then if they are determined, they may try to invest in getting on the waitlist.

In some cases, the domain registrar will take expired domains and put them up for auction, rather than allow a waitlist, as popular domains can bring in extra cash. Seems unfair, but once the domain is free and clearly the previous domain owner isn’t renewing, the domain name registrar can do whatever they want.

What if no one gets your domain name after the grace redemption period?

So, say you missed renewing your domain name, and the entire 80 days that it was in the grace redemption period. However, you still want your domain. Well, first offer, make sure it’s available. If your domain name wasn’t popular, after the 80 day grace period, it will be deleted if the site isn’t grabbed up from the waitlist or if your domain name registrar hasn’t put it up for auction.

If it is clear that it’s not been grabbed up at all, when you go to purchase the domain that you let expire and go through the grace period, the domain name registrar will tell you if the domain is available for purchase. Most domain name registrars have a form field that you can search for available domains. Or you can use the ICANN lookup form to see if the domain name is registered or in use anywhere.



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In Summary

Hopefully this article on “When does a domain expire?” clarified any of your questions. It’s important to make sure that you are receiving your domain renewal notice reminders. Check your spam folder. Better yet, add a reminder to your calendar app, like Google Calendar, so you get a reminder to renew your domain on time. Another handy tip is to utilize the auto-renew option if your domain name registrar offers it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between web hosting and domain?

Web hosting and domain are two different things, even though they are closely related. A domain is the address of your website, while web hosting is where your site files are physically stored.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the name of your website. A domain name is a word or a phrase that people enter in their browsers in order to be taken to a certain website on the Internet.

What is a top-level domain?

A top-level domain is the last part of the domain name, so it’s everything that goes after the final dot in the domain name.

Can I buy a domain name permanently?

Domain name registration is done on a yearly basis, and you cannot buy a domain name permanently.

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