Most domain names can be registered for period of 1-10 years and follows a pre-defined lifecycle. This article explains the domain name lifecycle from registration to deletion.
Domain names can be registered or renewed for period of 1-10 years such that they do not cross the maximum allowed period from the registration or renewal date.
Once the domain expires, it enters "Renewal Grace Period (RGP)" which varies from 30 days to 45 days based on domain extension and registrar. During the grace period the domain owner can renew their domain names at any time at their regular price without penalty (if not auctioned). However, you can not transfer the domain name to other regisrar, unless you renew first.
Five days after the domain name expires, DNS servers of the domain name will be changed & all services associated with the domain name (eg. website, emails) will stop working. Domain name may be parked or put up for auction by registrar. Domain names can still be renewed at regular price (if not auctioned already).
At the end of Renewal Grace Period, domain name is deleted by registrar and it enters the "Redemption Period" of 30 days. During the redemption period, the domain owner can redeem their domain name by paying redemption fee in addition to the cost of one year domain renewal. Redemption fee varies for each domain extension.
During redemption period, you may notice the domain's expiration date in WHOIS lookup has moved ahead one year in the registry database. This is a temporary auto renewal at the registry.
60 days after expiration (assuming RGP of 30 days), the redemption period ends. The domain name will be placed in a "Pending Delete" status at the registry for upto 5 days. During this time, it is not possible to redeem, recover or renew the domain name. The only way to get the domain back is to wait until, domain name is dropped by the registry and made available for registration.
After the 5 day pending delete period, the domain name will be deleted from registry. At this point, the domain will be available to general public for registration on first come first serve basis.If domain is valuable or has a lots of traffic, it will be snapped up in few seconds after it has been dropped.
Best policy is to renew your domain names for multiple years and before the expiry date. You donot lose any time by renewing early.
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