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What Happens when a Domain Expires

28th July 2023

The life cycle of a domain name can be puzzling, especially when it comes to understanding what happens when a domain expires. While this can be an intricate scenario due to the diversity of renewal options available, which depend heavily on when the domain expires, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with these procedures.

ICANN and The Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP)

In 2013, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) implemented a pivotal policy known as the Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP). This directive requires all registrars to provide essential details pertaining to expiration notices, the costs involved, and the redemption procedures to domain name Registrants and potential customers.

While the required information and disclosures, as per the ERRP, are scattered throughout our website, we’ve streamlined this process to aid our Registrants. This article serves as a comprehensive guide providing direct links to all the necessary details as per the new policy.

How Domain Name Extensions Influence Renewal Process

It’s crucial to note that the renewal process can vary, being influenced by each domain name extension and its associated registry rules after the domain’s expiration. Therefore, understanding the specifics of your domain extension can significantly ease the renewal process.

Special Cases: Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)

Certain domains, such as country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), might enforce unique requirements for renewals. These might involve additional paperwork or different timelines compared to generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Registrants are advised to acquaint themselves with these special requirements to avoid any hiccups in the renewal process.

Proactive Communication: Prior and Post Expiration Notifications

To ensure you are well-informed about your domain status, we have established a robust communication system. This includes sending multiple email notifications alerting you of the impending expiration of your domains 30 days in advance. Moreover, our system continues to remind you for 30 days post the expiration date, helping you avoid any undesired consequences of an expired domain.

Timeframe Guidance

The below table is a guide on what happens when a domain expires. Spotlight Studios have NO CONTROL over an expired domain. We have to adhere to the global standards and will pass on any incurred redemption fees accordingly + our admin fee. If the domain goes to auction there is nothing we can do when an active bid is present. Your only option at that point is to join the bid, where you could be paying considerably more for the domain.

TimelineWhat Happens and What You Can Do
up to 14 days priorWe’ll renew your domain automatically once the invoice is paid. If you’re taking advantage of our Domain Management Service and pay via Direct Debit this will auto renew ~3-5 working days prior to expiration. If you pay via Bank transfer you must allow a few working days for your payment to be reconciled.
+1 dayYou can attempt to manually renew at the standard renewal price.
+5 daysIf no renewal is made, your domain gets parked and your site and email WILL stop functioning. However, manual renewal for the standard price is still possible via your customer portal.
+12 daysManual renewal at the standard renewal price is still an option.
+19 daysYour domain goes on hold: It’s still in your account but inactive. You can manually renew with the applicable redemption & admin fee.
+26 daysYour domain goes to auction: If there are no active bids, manual renewal at the standard price plus the applicable redemption & admin fee is still possible.
+30 daysIf no active bids were placed in the auction, the domain remains in your account, but it’s now expired. Manual renewal at the standard price plus the applicable redemption & admin fee is possible. If there’s an active bid at auction, the domain can’t be renewed.
+36 daysDomain enters a final closeout auction: Manual renewal at the standard price plus the applicable redemption & admin fee is possible unless there’s an active bid. Once a bid is placed, you can’t renew the domain, but you can place your own bid.
+41 daysFinal closeout auction ends: Manual renewal at the standard price plus the redemption fee is still possible.
+72 daysDomain is removed from your account and can’t be renewed. You may be able to register the domain after the registry has released it, but we can’t advise when the registry will release a domain for registration.


Learning what happens when a domain expires may seem daunting, but with a good understanding of ICANN’s policies, the specific requirements of your domain extension, and an active communication system, the process can be navigated smoothly. Staying aware and proactive is the key to maintaining control over your domain’s life cycle.

Use the Spotlight Studios DNS Management Service

Utilising our DNS Management service your required to have a Direct Debit in place. We will also flag the domain and auto-renew this on your behalf should anything happen to your payment. You’re still obliged to pay this fee plus any applicable extra fees but this will be considerably less cost than the impact your domain


Related Services

DNS Management

DNS Management

Your domain and it’s DNS (Domain Name System) is at the crux of your web infrastructure, translating domain names/records (including subdomains) into IP addresses so that different systems can connect.

Something in the article peaked your interest? We’re never more than a contact form or a quick call away so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

28th July 2023
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