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December 18, 2023

How to Find Out When a Domain Expires

To secure a domain name that captures the attention of their target audiences, brands often turn to the domain aftermarket—specifically, expired domains.


How to Find Out When a Domain Expires 

To secure a domain name that captures the attention of their target audiences, brands often turn to the domain aftermarket—specifically, expired domains. 

Expired domains can be a wise investment for brands looking to build their digital identities, but how do entrepreneurs know when an expired domain name is up for grabs?

This guide breaks down how to find out when a domain expires. For an in-depth look at domain basics, expired domain databases, and everything you need to know about domain name expiration, read on.

The basics of domain ownership 

Before you learn how to buy a domain name, jump into a domain name search platform and explore available names. It only takes a moment to understand the fundamentals of domain ownership. 

While domain exchanges are commonly referred to as “purchases,” domain names aren’t owned by brands—they’re actually leased. Leasing a domain is similar to renting an apartment:

  1. You sign an agreement that gives you access to a rental property (i.e. your domain name) for a set term.
  1. Once that term (your lease) is up, you can choose to start another term or move to a new property.
  1. If you choose not to renew your lease (or miss the deadline to renew), the property (a.k.a., your domain name) returns to the rental market.

Domain leases can last anywhere from one to ten years. 

But this begs the question: Why are some domains so expensive if businesses only get to lease them?

Many factors contribute to domain pricing, but one of the most important is demand. High-quality domain names are highly sought-after, but they’re in short supply. So business owners and entrepreneurs often pay top dollar for attractive domains. 

The WHOIS database: Your primary tool 

When navigating the aftermarket domains landscape, the WHOIS Lookup database is a critical resource that can help you identify who owns a domain and how to get in contact with them.

The WHOIS database is a directory of domain name owners managed by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. However, there are two key things to note about WHOIS data:

  1. WHOIS data is required – To register a domain name, you must provide identifying information like your name, email address, or phone number. 
  1. The WHOIS database isn’t centralized – While ICANN oversees WHOIS data collection and publication, it doesn’t maintain a centralized database. Instead, it delegates this task to domain registries and registrars—third-party companies that buy and sell domain names. 

Checking with your domain registrar 

If you already lease a domain name, it’s critical that you keep track of your expiration—if you let your domain lapse, you could forfeit it or face hefty fees to reinstate it. 

Here are a few tips for keeping track of your domain expiration date:

  1. Set a calendar reminder one week before your domain expiration date so that you’ll remember to renew it.
  1. Check your email regularly—your domain registrar will send you a reminder when your domain is about to expire.
  1. Set up your domain to auto-renew on your expiration date. Make sure your payment information stays current to prevent delays.

If you’re not sure when your domain expires, simply log into your domain registrar’s dashboard. Major registrars like Name.com allow customers to check their expiration dates anytime. 

The importance of domain expiration alerts 

As mentioned, setting up email alerts for your domain expiration date will help you remember to renew your domain. Remembering to renew is extremely important because if you let your domain expire, you might:

  • Temporarily disable your website – When your domain expires, your site may temporarily go offline. While renewing your domain should restore access, even a short-term outage could inconvenience customers and damage your reputation.
  • Incur additional costs – Once your domain expires, you’ll enter a thirty-day grace period. During this redemption grace period, you might have to pay recovery fees to renew your domain, and these domain expiry fees are more expensive than a regular renewal.
  • Lose your domain to another brand – If you don’t renew your domain before the grace period ends, your domain will go to auction. The highest bidding at auction will gain the right to lease your expired domain name.

Preventing domain expiration 

With these pitfalls in mind, you should take steps to prevent domain expiration by:

  • Setting up reminders – Using your personal calendar, set reminders for your domain registration expiry. Name.com will also send you reminders a week out and a month out from your domain’s expiry date to help you renew your domain on the right date.
  • Signing up for auto-renewal – Save your payment information (and update it when necessary) so that your domain registrar can auto-renew your lease at the end of your term. As long as your payment method is up-to-date, your domain name will auto-renew without hassle. 

These steps are especially important if you have a highly sought-after domain: one that’s memorable, includes an industry keyword, or uses a competitive domain extension like .com or .net.

Waiting for a desired domain to expire 

Are you waiting for a brand’s domain name to expire so that you can scoop it up for yourself? If so, here are some helpful tips to follow:

  1. Find out who the domain registrar is, and check their WHOIS data to find out when the domain expires.
  1. Set a calendar reminder or sign up for an alert from the registrar on the expiration date.
  1. Once the domain has expired, find out when the auction begins and prepare to bid on the domain name (and set a budget to prevent overspending).
  1. If the domain is renewed by its owner before the auction starts, consider reaching out to the owner directly to ask if they’d be willing to sell the domain name to you.

Purchasing an expired domain can be a waiting game. But, when you’re looking for a premium domain, patience often pays off. 

Name.com: Your partner in domain management

Learning how to find out when a domain expires is simple—all you have to do is use a domain registrar’s WHOIS database to find key information about a domain name. 

Name.com is your top source for new and aftermarket domains. Name.com’s database of expiring domains makes it easy to track the domains at the top of your radar. With features like auto-renewal and email alerts from Name.com you can be sure you’ll never lose out on the domains that you own.

When you need to build a digital identity without compromise, choose Name.com. Explore available domains today.

Sources: 

Forbes. How To Register Your Domain Name For As Long As Possible. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/03/18/how-to-register-your-domain-name-for-as-long-as-possible/?sh=1ca729a63113 
ICANN. About WHOIS.https://whois.icann.org/en/about-whois

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