The domain life cycle refers to the different stages a domain name goes through, starting from its registration and expiration until its deletion. In general, the domain life cycle has four stages—registration or renewal period, registrant grace period, redemption period, and pending delete period.

The registration period usually lasts for one year, although the registrant can set it to renew automatically. In this case, the domain enters the renewal period for another year. The cycle remains at this stage until the owner lets the domain expire. 

A day after the expiration date, the domain name enters the registrant grace period, which lasts 30–45 days, depending on the registrar. Once this period is over, the domain enters the redemption period. Only the original registrant can redeem the domain during this stage, and their inaction would push the domain to enter the pending delete period. After five days in this final stage, the domain is deleted and sent back to the pool of publicly available domains.

Other interesting terms…

Read More about “Domain Life Cycle

If you own a domain, it’s essential to understand the domain life cycle so you can manage it properly. The same is even more true if you own multiple domain names. Some people, especially those new at domain name registration, may think that it’s okay to let their domains expire for a while. After all, who would want yourname[.]com or yourhobby[.]org?

But domain name investing is a real and quite lucrative business. If your domain has a high click-through rate, is heavily backlinked, or is deemed valuable one way or another, anyone can actually try to get it then sell it at a markup. 

What Are the Steps in the Domain Life Cycle?

To help you better understand and remember, below is a table showing the steps in the domain life cycle.

Domain Life Cycle StageNumber of DaysDetails
Registration/Renewal stage1–10 yearsDomain registrations can last for one year, but several registrars allow its auto-renewal for up to 10 years.
Registrant grace period30–45 daysThe domain enters this period a day after the expiration date.The registrant can still go through the usual renewal process, unless the registrar decides to transfer the domain’s ownership to another person or entity.
Redemption period45 daysOnly the registrant can redeem the domain at this stage.The registrant may need to pay an additional fee.
Pending delete period5 daysIf the domain is not redeemed, it enters this stage, signaling its deletion.Once deleted, the domain is returned to the public pool of domains, making it available to anyone.

What Happens After a Domain Name Expires?

The registrar changes the nameserver a day after the domain’s expiration date, so it stops showing the owner’s content. The domain enters the registrant grace period for the next 30–45 days, and the registrant can still renew the domain. However, website visitors would be redirected to a parking page, like this one:

Is There a Domain Expiry Grace Period?

Yes, there is a domain expiry grace period, also known as the “registrant grace period,” which occurs a day after the domain’s expiration date. Registrars have different time frames for this period, but it usually lasts from day 1–45 after the domain expires.

During this stage, the registrant gets a chance to renew the domain through the usual renewal process. Generally, all the registrant needs to do is contact their registrar or click a link sent to his/her email address and pay the renewal fee.

However, registrants are advised not to rely on this grace period too much since it is not completely risk-free. Why? When the domain expires, the registrar can transfer it to someone else at its discretion. First, it redirects the domain to a parked page so it won’t show the registrant’s content anymore. This parking page typically displays ads, but two things can also happen:

  • Someone else can land on the page and see that the domain is parked. If this person is interested enough, he/she can send an inquiry or an offer to the registrar.
  • The registrar can display a banner informing people that the domain name will be auctioned. That commonly happens when the domain is valuable or if the registrar received a significant volume of inquiries about it.

How Can You Check a Domain Name’s Status?

The step in the domain life cycle is often reflected by its status. A WHOIS lookup can help you check the domain name’s status and reveal the life cycle stage. For instance, when the domain is under the redemption period, most registrars change the domain status to “redemptionPeriod.” The pending delete period would also be reflected as “pendingDelete” status code.