When does a domain expire, and what threats can it have for your company?


Microsoft forgot to renew their domains twice: for hotmail.co.uk and passport.com. 

In the first case, a generous person purchased the domain and landed it back to the company. In the case of passport.com, an ordinary guy with 35$ on his credit card bought the domain and put it in the domain auction, rising significantly more than he paid for it. 

The moral of those stories is that domain renewal is not a thing you can afford to forget. You may experience serious consequences from spending much money on returning it to losing your domain and a portion of your company’s success. 

Read the article for tips to avoid bad scenarios. 

What does domain expiration mean?

You do not own a website domain, even if you have created it from 0. You rent it for a certain period and for a certain time. 

Once the period of your domain ownership ends, your domain is expired. This means you cannot operate your website in its usual route, and the website visitors see a domain expiration message instead of the website itself. 

Luckily for you, domain registrars give you chances to overcome the situation both before and after the domain expiration. In most cases, you have the warning notifications (keep your contacts up-to-date!) before the domain expiration. 

If you failed to take a step in advance and the domain eventually expired, you still have time (not unlimited) to renew it either free or with an additional penalty. 

How much time do I have to renew my expired domain?

  1. Re-read the domain registration contract.
  2. Re-read the email expiration notifications.
  3. Contact your registrar’s support. 

The above steps are important because though there is a general timeline requirement for all the domain registrars by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), each registrar construct their policies individually. 

However, ICANN’s policies work for the majority, so notify yourself of the domain expiration procedures and deadlines below. 

  • ICANN requires all the registrars to send notifications to domain owners nearly a month and a week before the domain expiration
  • After the domain expiration, a website is not available for users anymore. However, there is a 45-day renew grace period when you can renew your domain without additional fees.
  • The renewal grace period is followed by a 30-day redemption period, when your domain may be placed at auction. However, you can still return your domain during this period with more hassle and an additional fee. 
  • Following the redemption period, the domain holds the deletion status and is deleted if the previous owner takes no actions or if no one intends to buy it. 
  • After those five days, the domain is deleted and returned to the registrar as a freely available domain

As you see, you have 80 days to fix the situation if you missed the domain renewal deadline. However, the best option for you is to renew it before the expiration date. Even a day or an hour ceasing your website’s operation may cost you a spoiled reputation, customer satisfaction, and profit. Why let it happen? 

In this regard, many registrars allow auto-renew services. So you need to keep your payment information updated. 

Whois Lookup

Whois Lookup is a tool to search for domain information, including the expiring deadlines. For you, as a domain owner, it should be one of the last spots to look for the expiration deadline, as you have the registration contract under the hand. 

However, Whois is widely used by domain snippers, who can take advantage of your domain expiration and buy it before you manage to notice it. So, be aware your domain information is available to the public before it’s expired and marked on your website. 

Search for Whois Lookup for a number of ways to conduct it. The below pictures show it on a random example.

Search for the interesting domain in the search bar:

The results will show important aspects of the domain such as registrar organization and country, IP address and locations, tech contacts, etc. 

Scroll down for the expiring date:

It’s important to note that the expiration date should be within the time zone of the registrar you use. It may be different from your country zone, due to which someone else may benefit from the difference of hours to buy your domain. 

Your domain attractiveness grows with the progress of your company. You may lose it to a competitor or a domain dealer, wishing to play on your domain’s popularity and goodwill. 

We hope this article will help your domain to stay safe. 


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