Once someone decides to discontinue a website, there are still several months before the domain registration expires.
Usually five days after the domain name expires, DNS servers of the domain name will be changed & all services associated with the domain name (website, emails) will stop working. Domain name may be parked by the registrar with ads and a notice that the domain name has expired.
As there is no site, just a parked domain, the indexed pages of the site start to disappear from the search engines. Affiliates remove their links and the broken links can get taken down with time.
All domain names that have not been renewed before their expiry date are expired. They are called “expired domains.” You can look up the expiry date and other data in the Whois record.
Renewal Grace Period (RGP)
After the registration expiry date the domain name will enter the so-called renewal grace period. At this point the original owner still has the right renew the domain name without additional fees. The length of this period varies depending on the registrar.
Most registrars allow a grace period that can be as short as one or two weeks or as long as a year for registrants to renew expired domain names. The actual grace period can be different for each individual registrar and domain name extension. That is, the grace period for a .com domain name might be different from the grace period for a .us domain name, even at the same registrar.
The owner cannot transfer the domain name to another registrar, unless they renew it first.
Once the renewal grace period ends, the expired domain name will be under registrar hold (redemption period). During this time, which can be 30 to 45 days, the domain can still be renewed by the original owner by paying a redemption fee (around $100, depending on the registrar).
During redemption period, you may notice the domain’s expiration date in WHOIS lookup move ahead one year in the registry database. This is a temporary auto renewal at the registry.
While under registrar hold, the registrar tries to sell the domain name in an open auction to the highest bidder. If sold, the winner must still wait till the end of the registrar hold period before taking ownership. If the original owner renews the domain name during this period, the auction winner is refunded their money and the original owner regains possession. Otherwise the domain name is transferred to the auction winner.
Some registrars, like GoDaddy, auction only their own expired domain names. Other registrars have an agreement to pool their expired domain names and make them available for purchase on a separate website, like SnapNames and NameJet, where expired domain names from multiple registrars are sold at auction.
If the domain name is not renewed by the original owner, and it is not bought at auction, some registrars attempt to sell it in a “closeout sale”. A closeout sale offers the expired domain names at a discounted Buy It Now price (plus the regular domain name registration fee). If you buy a domain name in a registrar closeout sale, the registrar hold period is still applicable, and the original owner still has a chance to renew.
If the registrar’s grace period expires and the domain name has still not been renewed, it is placed under the status of PENDINGDELETE. The domain name will remain under this status for five days, during which time it cannot be restored.
The only way to get the domain back is to wait until, domain name is dropped by the registry and made available for registration.
On the sixth day the domain name is deleted or “dropped” from the registry. The moment it’s deleted from the registry, it becomes available for registration by the general public. Most registries typically delete their domain names once a day. Thus we have “Deleted Domain Names”.
If you re-register the domain at this point, its age will reset to zero.
Technically it is possible to manually register an expired domain name the moment it is deleted, however at that point most of the domain names that have value are already gone and there is only a small percentage remaining. Professional backorderers have a lot more resources than regular people, therefore it’s worth looking at domain you can get through backordering services. If you need a complete guide on how you can buy expired/deleted domains and how this is beneficial to you, you can download the guide here.