Don’t Let Your Domain Name Expire: Why And How


Before we go straight into the potential consequences of letting your domain name expire, let’s first talk about what happens the moment you let it expire.

If you, unfortunately, forgot to renew your domain name, there is still time for you to get it back before you completely lose it. Starting February 2013, all domain name registrars are obligated to follow Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) guidelines when handling domain name renewal matters. It is a 5-stage process:

  1. Before Expiration:
    Registrars send out multiple domain name renewal notices to their customers.
  1. Expiration Day:
    Registrars have the right to cease all services associated with the respective domain name.
  1. Renewal Grace Period:
    Registrars will deactivate and “park” respective domain names that are expired. It is still possible for customers to renew their domain with their registrar. Usually with a standard renewal price.
  1. Redemption Grace Period:
    Customers can still retrieve their domain at this stage. But rather than renewing with the registrar, customers will need to rely on their registrars to retrieve the domain name. An additional redemption fee is likely needed, on top of the standard renewal fee.
  1. Pending Delete & Release:
    Generally around five days after the redemption grace period, if customers did not take any action to renew their domain name, they will no longer be able to retrieve it. The respective domain name will be released to the public, previous domain name owners will have to purchase it via general registration (back to the beginning).

While it is still possible to get the same domain name back, you are risking that someone else might purchase your domain name before you. If that happens, you will lose control over everything associated with that particular domain name.

Domain name lifecycle, all registrars might defer slightly, but still following the timeframe set by the ICANN
Standard timeline suggested by ICANN, but registrars have the right to come up with their own exact timeline following ICANN’s outlined timeframe. Different registrars might have different market activities during this period, such as domain auctions. If you want to know the exact domain name renewal timeline, it is best to check with your registrar’s renewal policy.



Criminals are always looking for opportunities. And what’s better than taking over an expired domain name, especially when you can potentially get access to all accounts and services associated with the expired domain name. We are talking about email accounts, social media accounts, anything that is email-subscription-base.

Criminals can make use of associated email accounts to send out fishing emails or malware emails, and start harvesting confidential data—customers’ personal information, company data, credit card information, etc.

They can also achieve this by recreating a fake website that looks almost identical to the original one. Online tools like Wayback Machine which archives thousands of web pages every day will make it possible for criminals to do so.

Screenshot: WayBack Machine

Brand Reputation

Multiple websites had quite an embarrassing moment in July 2021, all because of one simple reason—an expired domain name. The now-closed video hosting company Vidme’s domain name was bought by a porn website after it was left to expire. As a result, any websites that embedded Vidme’s videos, including major news outlets like Washington Post, temporarily had porn articles embedded in their articles.
News media temporarily had porn videos embedded to their articles due to using service provided by an already-closed company
Source: Twitter user @dox_gay
Quite an unfortunate event right? Imagine that happening to your website, and all the fixing and damage control you need to do. The same goes for your domain name.

If you have decided to take a break from updating your website and think that it is fine for letting your domain name expire. By coincidence, unfortunately, your domain name is bought by some random “interesting folks”, turning it into a totally irrelevant website. How would people react if they access the once-yours website? These are some pretty bad impressions that you are potentially giving. Even if it is “not your fault”, the damage is already done.

Remember, not everyone knows that you are no longer using the domain name. Even if you announce it via some channel, there are still people who wouldn’t know. (Also remember what I’ve just mentioned earlier about people gaining control over all accounts associated with the domain name!)


  1. Make sure all your contact information is updated
    ICANN guidelines require registrars to notify their users of any matters related to domain renewal, and the most common method of communication is via email. If you have changed your main email address and failed to update it with your registrar, they will keep sending emails to your old email address.
  1. Set up auto-renewal
    Almost every registrar would have an auto-renewal option for their users. And it is very common for registrars to request advance payment (usually around 30 days before expiration) to ensure the continuity of service of your domain and all associated services.
  1. Make sure your credit card information is updated
    Particularly for those who have set up auto-renewal, you must update your credit card information with your registrar. If it is not updated, the transaction didn’t get through when your registrar tried processing the payment. Hence, you failed to renew your domain name, opening doors for others to purchase it (if you miss all the post-expiry periods).
  1. Purchase or renew for the long-term
    Whenever you look at a registrar’s pricing page, you will see a different range of domain purchases/renewal periods, from one year up to 10 years. This is, in fact, the most cost-effective way to prevent your domain name from expiring. If possible, I do recommend maxing out your domain ownership in one goal.
Web hosting company Doteasy's auto-renewal price plan
Doteasy’s pricing plan for domain renewal
  1. If renew manually, mark your calendar
    It is fine if you are still not considering setting up auto-renewal, everyone has their own concerns and priorities. If that’s the case, remember to mark the date of expiration on your calendar, also the 30-day advance payment date if it is required by your registrar.

You can find your website plan and hosting expiry date on the member's page of's website builder
If you are using website builders to build and host your websites, you are likely to find both the domain hosting and website plan expiration date on your account page. E.g. for users, you will find it on the main page right after you’ve logged in.


It is understandable why people might consider not renewing their domain name. But oftentimes, more harm than good can be done just by this single decision. It takes time to build a positive business and/or personal brand. But to destroy it, all it takes is one mistake, and everything can go downhill from there onwards.

Think twice before you decide to give up on your domain name. If it is possible and it wouldn’t break your bank, I would still strongly recommend keeping your domain name.