What to do after your domain name expires

What to do after your domain name expires

Here’s how my nightmare started.

I’ve missed it! The one mental alarm I thought would go off (not to mention those countless domain renewal emails I ignored). So what now? Is my website unavailable? How will my clients see my work? Oh sh*@!t, they’ll think I’m not legit.

Now before you point your fingers at me and go on a rampage about how I’ve received a couple (dozens?) of emails reminding me that my domain name expires soon, and here’s what I did. 

So, without further ado: What to do after your domain name expires (on accident, of course).

Domain afterlife: What happens immediately after your domain name expires?

what happens when your domain name expires

Let’s assume you didn’t just drop your domain on purpose and that you do want to renew it. 

After your domain expires, the registrar (a company where you registered your domain at), will put it on hold status for the amount of time stated in its Terms and Conditions. It could be anywhere from 0 to 45 days. Yes, that’s one of the reasons it is important to read Terms and Conditions. 

Once this grace period begins, any service associated with your domain, including email and a website, may be disabled. It is a severe disruption, as your clients will ot be able to get to you on the internet. When they type your domain name in the search engine, they will arrive at the error page.  We would have to agree that this is a bit embarrassing. It certainly does not portray a good picture of your business or personal brand.

After your domain expires, the registrar will put it on hold status for the amount of time stated in its Terms and Conditions.

The good news? During the renewal grace period, you can still manually revive your domain. If you notice that your domain expired recently, you will most likely be able to renew it from your account without additional fees in the first couple of days. As the given grace period varies between the registries, it is wise to check it upon registration of your domain. You did not exactly dodge a bullet here. You might experience the lost website traffic, the credibility decline, and bad reputation which could seriously scar any business.

Quick fixes: What to do

One way to fight forgetfulness with your domain registration is to set automatic renewal, hence you will be able to use it after paying the renewal fee. It reduces stress due to the possibility of missing the renewal deadline, and having to worry about what happens after your domain name expires. All .ME domains have this option enabled from the start. That function, along with the renewal during the first couple of days after the expiration could be done through your account. If you haven’t thought about it earlier, think how valuable your domain is to you. If you are not willing to give it up just easily, it is perhaps more convenient to pay the fees a couple of years in advance and live with one less worry.

Redemption period

redemption period after your domain name expires

The redemption period is one step further towards the bitter end of your domain ownership. At this stage, the registrar (the organization that manages the registration of domain names) sends a delete request for that domain to your registry. This phase usually lasts around 30 days. If you reach the redemption period, it might indicate that you don’t even use your domain that much. This is a risky territory – as it is your last chance to save your website. The possibility to renew the domain during the redemption period is exclusive to the previous owner. Additionally, it must be retrieved through the previous registrar after your domain expires.

Redemption period usually lasts around 30 days.

Here, we have a mix of good and bad news. After the grace period is over, you may still recover your domain, which is great. Nevertheless, it comes with quite a price. When the redemption period takes place, additional fees to get your domain back will apply. 

Bear in mind that at this stage you will need to contact the registry and that fees will vary depending on your chosen domain provider. 

Last resort: Filing complaints

Up until now, we have assumed that the domain expiration was entirely your fault. Ok fine, it was just me. Anyhow, there are cases where you can prove to be innocent and regain control of your website. Luckily, this field is regulated by ICANN. This organization governs the registrars and ensures the stable and secure operation of the network, and also lists the possible reasons for which you can file a complaint.

If by any chance you didn’t receive your renewal notices before your domain expired, or the expiration notice was within 5 days of the expiration date, you have reasonable grounds to file a complaint. Additionally, if your registrar immediately deleted your website upon the expiration date, or you were not permitted to renew your domain – you also have stable grounds to complain. If you would like to file a complaint, read about your rights, or determine if you are eligible, click here.

The unwilling goodbye: Deletion period

deletion of your domain name

The sad truth is that if you reach this stage, the domain is not yours anymore. It means that there is no option of reacquiring it by paying additional fees – it’s too late. The registry will take the domain and release it again for purchase in the open market. There is no definite answer when the domain will be released again – it depends on the registry and can vary from case to case. 

Your domain might have had a successful and purposeful life. After it gets erased, its reputation, your virtual identity, and services provided are not immediately forgotten but can live on for some time. This time period is ideal for anyone who wants to benefit from your previous fame to buy your domain name and enjoy the additional website’s traffic due to its prior accomplishments. It’s an easy way to collect some cheap points, so we hope your domain will not have that destiny.

What did your dead domain leave behind?

So let’s assume, I let my domain name die. What happens to all the things that were linked to my website? Well, all of the social media posts, blog posts, emails, business cards that are linked to my website would lead to a dead end. A substantial digital universe, with the main website as a central point, will be corrupted due to the error page that comes up. 

Domain names host email as well. If that is the case, emails of your employees, colleagues, and clients might stop working due to the expiration of your domain. It can happen that the references to your domain are made into the software as well. It is not a rare case that the manufacturers of internet devices use domain names as a way for clients to access the configuration page. So, if a problem occurs and the domain is expired, it is twice as bad luck. 

Before you go

If you have made it this far, I hope you are not going to make the same mistake I did! Even if you started reading this article as a late renewer, hope you learnt something. If you ask me, it’s just not worth the drama not having your online space always available to your audience. So now, click on the auto-renewal and take yourself for a drink (or a milkshake). You have just saved some money, as well as many other, much more important things.


Jovana Rackovic

Corporate finance graduate. Not rarely escapes from the world of numbers and embraces fine art, fantasy novels, and thrilling narratives. Still firmly believes ‘Wingardium leviosa’ works.

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