October 09, 2023

Domain Name Expiration: What Happens When Your Domain Expires?

When you register a domain name, you claim ownership of that domain—but not forever. A domain name registration certifies that you own the domain name for a certain registration period. So what happens when that period comes to an end?

When you register a domain name, you claim ownership of that domain—but not forever. A domain name registration certifies that you own the domain name for a certain registration period. So what happens when that period comes to an end? 

It’s referred to as domain name expiration, and understanding it is important if you want to retain ownership of your domain name long-term. To do this, you must be proactive about renewing your domain at the end of your registration period. 

Knowing how to keep your domain name active is key to maintaining a functional website and promoting a consistent digital identity. By exploring why domain names expire and learning what to do if your domain registration lapses, you can avoid common pitfalls and successfully manage your digital assets.

Do domains expire?

All domain names have an expiration date, but the exact date of your domain’s expiration will vary depending on certain factors. For instance, domain names can have different registration terms depending on the option you select when you first make the purchase. 

Typically, registrars have a minimum term of one year and a maximum period of ten years. You can check your domain’s exact expiration date through your domain registrar’s platform.

As the owner or registrant of a domain name, you’re responsible for renewing your domain in a timely manner to prevent expiration. When a domain name expires, it will eventually stop directing visitors to your site, effectively taking the site offline. Someone else may even purchase the expired domain, preventing you from reclaiming it in the future.

Reasons why domains expire

There’s one primary reason that domain names expire—the owner didn’t renew their contract. However, there are several factors that can lead to a lapsed renewal. You may intentionally let your domain name expire or simply let the registration expire accidentally. 

Here are some of the most common situations that can result in an expired domain:

Disabled auto-renewal

Many domain registrars offer an automatic renewal feature so that you don’t have to worry about your domain expiring. However, if you don’t have auto-renew enabled, you may simply forget to renew your domain contract. Because domain registration terms can be years long, it can be hard to keep track of when it’s time to renew. 

If you plan to keep your domain name long-term, enabling auto-renewal is a simple, low-effort way to ensure that your domain name is always active. And, if you ever decide to release your domain name, you can always turn off the auto-renewal feature. 

Inaccurate billing details

When you sign up for auto-renewal, your domain services provider will automatically charge your connected card or bank account for the cost of the renewal. But if your billing details aren’t up-to-date, the payment may not go through, leading to a lapsed registration. 

To that end, it’s important to update your payment information with your registrar any time your credit card expires or you change banks.

Luckily, many registrars will send you a notice if your payment doesn’t go through. This gives you the opportunity to provide accurate payment details before your registration expires. 

Missed renewal reminders

As your domain’s expiration date approaches, your registrar will likely send you reminder emails explaining the deadline for renewal. If you miss these emails for any reason, you may not remember to renew your domain in time. 

Some of the most common reasons you may not see a renewal email include:

  • The emails go to your spam folder – It’s possible that your registrar’s emails may be flagged as spam. Regularly checking your spam folder or adding your registrar’s email accounts to your email contacts can help ensure that you see all important emails.
  • You’re using multiple email accounts – If you have multiple email accounts, it can be easy to forget to check all of your inboxes. Make sure that you have your domain services provider connected to an email that you use regularly. 

Domain-connected email issues

When you purchase a domain name, you may start using a custom professional email that’s connected to that domain. Professional email addresses have countless benefits, but if your domain expires, you may no longer have access to that email account. 

If you’re using a domain-connected email as the contact email for your domain name services, you may have trouble getting back into your account to complete the renewal.

Lapsed grace period

Managing a website can involve a variety of administrative tasks, including keeping up with your domain renewals. Fortunately, registrars will usually provide you with a 30-day redemption grace period after your expiration date to reclaim the domain. During this redemption period, your domain services may not work, but the domain will remain on hold for you to renew. 

However, if you keep putting off your domain renewal, you may miss the window to redeem your domain altogether, so it’s best to renew at the very start of your grace period. 

Managing multiple domains

If you have multiple domain names, you likely have a different expiration date for each one. Keeping track of this information can be challenging, especially if you’re working with multiple registrars. 

In this scenario, enabling the auto-renewal feature for each domain name can help you ensure you don’t lose ownership of them.

Terminated registration

Sometimes, you may let your domain registration lapse on purpose. If you’re shutting down your site or switching to a new domain, you can reach out to your registrar to terminate your registration. 

In this case, you will no longer have access to your domain name after the expiration date.

What happens when your domain expires?

When a domain name expires, your domain services will stop working. This includes your website, as well as any other services connected to your domain name, such as your business email. 

However, the domain name won’t immediately be released for someone else to buy. After the domain expiration date, you enter the grace period, during which you can renew your domain without additional fees. 

After the grace period ends, the domain name will be available at auction for anyone to bid on, and is now considered an aftermarket domain. If you need a refresher on how to buy a domain name, the process involves checking domain availability, selecting the right extension, and registering the domain with a provider. If a third party bids on your domain, they become the new domain owner. Not all expired domains sell immediately, however. If no one purchases the domain, the registry will regain ownership. At this point, anyone can purchase the domain through the traditional registration process.

Is it expensive to renew a domain name?

The amount it costs to renew a domain name typically depends on a few different factors. For instance, you may pay a higher cost if: 

  • Your domain name (the keyword before the dot) is popular
  • Your domain extension (the keyword after the dot) is popular  

In fact, some top-level domains require a premium renewal price. If you’re wondering “what is a domain extension?”, it’s the letters after the dot in a domain name that indicate the domain type.

Additionally, renewing a domain is typically more expensive than registering a domain for the first time, as many registrars will offer a discounted rate for the first year of use. 

However, reclaiming an expired domain can be much more costly than a simple renewal fee. 

This is because you may have to bid on your domain name at auction or pay pricey reclamation fees to your registrar. And, if you do eventually re-purchase your domain, you may end up in a more expensive contract for future renewals—especially if your domain has increased in value since you first registered it. 

If you hope to keep your domain name long-term, regularly renewing it is the most affordable option or registering for multiple years upon purchase. 

How to renew your expired domain with

If your domain name has expired, but you’re not ready to give it up yet, don’t worry. offers a simple process for reclaiming and renewing expired domains. 

If your domain name recently expired, follow these steps on the platform:

  • Navigate to the ‘Domains’ menu, then click on ‘Domain Actions.’
  • Click ‘Renew,’ then find the ‘Expired Domains’ header to view any expired domains associated with your account.
  • Click the ‘Renew’ button next to the expired domain you want to reclaim. 
  • View your shopping cart to pay the renewal fee and regain ownership of your domain. may remove an expired domain from your account if it’s been expired for an extensive period of time. But even if you can’t find your expired domain name in your account, you may still be able to reclaim it. 

Use’s search tool to check domain availability and find out if someone else has claimed your domain name. If not, open a support ticket with the team to determine if your lapsed domain is eligible for renewal.

Manage all of your domain names at

As a trusted domain name service provider, makes it easy to purchase and renew domain names with helpful renewal reminders and an auto-renewal feature that ensures you stay on top of your domain registrations. 

And, as your digital identity grows and transforms, can help you register and link new domain names to your site, explore website builder solutions, manage your business email account, and set up your business’s Google Workspace, all on one easy-to-use platform. 

Discover the convenience of working with by creating an account today!


ICANN. FAQs for Registrants: Domain Name Renewals and Expiration.

Forbes. What Happens When Your Domain Expires? Domain pricing. Renewing expired domain names.

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