Domain names get deleted or dropped on a daily basis. Many valuable domains get dropped because the registrant isn’t paying attention to the email alerts from the registrars, or maybe they’ve lost interest in the domain altogether. Whatever the case may be, some of you may be wondering why a domain name isn’t available for registration immediately after the expiration date. This diagram will give you a visual of the process in which a domain goes through during the domain deletion or drop period.
A domain name may be registered for up to 10 years at a time. When the expiration date approaches, the registrar will send email notices to the registrant warning them of the possible domain expiration. If the registrant does not renew by the expiration date, the domain enters the Auto-Renew Grace Period.
Auto-Renew Grace Period (ARGP)
Once a domain name hits the expiration date, they enter into the Auto-Renew Grace Period. The registrant can still renew the domain during this period, but they’ll lose access to certain services like email and DNS hosting. Some registrars require the registrant to renew the expired domain prior to a transfer even though it seems to be a clear violation of ICANN guidelines. The registrar may delete the domain prior to the 45 days if they choose to submit the domain delete command to the registry.
Redemption Grace Period (RGP)
During this period, the domain name cannot be renewed or transferred. The Whois info gets deleted, but the domain remains in this status for 30 days. At this point, the registrant still has the option to restore the domain name, but it won’t be at registration fee. If the registrant chooses to restore their domain name, they will have to pay a domain restore fee. This fee varies based on the TLD of the domain and the registrar, but you can expect to pay at least $60 for a .COM.
This is the final 5 day period in which the domain is set to delete. At this point, there is nothing that can be done to restore the domain – it is in pending delete mode.
After the 5th day of the deletion period, the domain name is released and becomes available for anyone to register. But, don’t think it’ll be easy to manually register any dropped domains of value.
Sometimes, registrars will place certain “valuable” domains on auction in order make money from them. This is referred to as domain name warehousing.
You may also have heard of drop-catching. Drop-catching is the act of “catching” or registering a domain name immediately after it becomes available to the general public. A domain drop-catch can be achieved through the use of some software or web service.