Can I Register an Expired Domain Name?

9 Mar 2017 / Aliesha Ellington

Typically, a domain name is not available immediately for registration after the registrant fails to renew it, though this does vary with different registrars.

Once the domain registration runs out, the registrant is often given a grace period that can last anywhere between one week to a full year- depending on their individual registrar and the domain name extension.

What this means is that the grace period for a .COM name extension or TLD might be different from the grace period that a domain name with a .NZ extension might be given, even with the same registrar.

What happens after the grace period?

After the grace period ends, if the domain has still not been renewed, then it is once again extended with a redemption period --- which can last between 14 and 30 days. 

During the redemption period, the current registrant can still resume use of the domain name after they pay a redemption penalty, along with the regularrenewalfee.

If this extended period expires without the registrant renewing or redeeming their domain name, then it is released back into the pool of available domain names, where it can be registered by anyone.  

How can I tell if a domain is about to expire?

Although most people say that they own a domain name, technically, they don’t.

In fact, a domain name is leased to a person, business or organisation for a specific period --- which can range from a period of one to 10 years --- after which they have to pay rent again. That is, the registrant renews their right to use the domain name by paying a renewal fee.

While a registrant may continue torenew their domain name, sometimes they do expire.

If you want a domain name but don’t want to meet with the owner about buying it from them, you can opt for the option of waiting for it to expire.

To check for the expiration time of your preferred domain name, you need to do a WHOIS search on your wanted domain name

Various websites offer WHOIS searches, such asICANN.After you’ve typed in your wanted domain name and pressed the ‘lookup’ button, Whois.com will instantly provide you with a record on the domain name.

Scroll down to the bottom to see the information on the domain timelines, such as when it was first registered and the expiration date, if not renewed.

What if a domain registrant keeps renewing their registration, but I really want the domain name?

It can be frustrating when you think of the perfect name for your blog or website and then discover that it’s not available and already taken by someone else when trying to register it.

It gets even more annoying when you discover that the registrant is just “squatting” on the domain name. That is, the individual is actually not making use of the domain name, but keeps renewing it before the expiration date, hoping to make some quick cash off of you.

There’s really not much that you can do to retrieve it from the registrant except if you prove that your trademark has been infringed.

However, if you really, really want toregister a specific domain name, there are a few other options that you can explore.

Check if your preferred domain name works with other TLDs or name extensions

You may understandably be reluctant with this choice, especially if you’d planned to use the name with a particular extension such as .COM.

But still, you have to decide if you really need that domain name or if you can chose another creative one that can go with your preferred TLD (Top Level Domain).

Otherwise, try using your desired domain name with other popular TLDs such as .ORG, .NET or .CO and see if it’s available with them.

Search for the current domain name registrant

Once you’re able to contact the person, offer them a deal to buy the name.

Continue to monitor the name

If you’re not able to convince the registrant to sell the domain name or they’re quoting an outrageous price, your final option is to wait and hope that the domain name expires soon, so that you can seize the opportunity and register it.  

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