The Domain Life Cycle

Domain Name Life Cycle

The life cycle of a domain varies between TLDs (top level domain) however, for the most common TLDs, the life cycle spans a period of registration from 1-10 years+. Post expiration, the entire process prior to the drop lasts approximately 75 - 80 days and is dependent on the registrar policies surrounding the renewal grace period. Most registrars allow users a 30 day renewal grace period however it may extend up to 45 days.

Active (Registered/Owned)

A user may register a domain name for a period between 1-10 years and may choose to renew the domain prior to the expiration day or during the registrars elected renewal grace period. If a user chooses not to renew the domain, then the expiration life cycle will continue to move through the process.

Expiration Date

The expiration date of a domain is determined by the date and time of the original registration. The expiration date of the domain does not determine it's availability or the inability of the user to renew it in the case of generic TLDs such as .com and .net.

Renewal Grace Period

After the expiration date of a domain, the controlling registrar is required to provide a minimum renewal grace period of 30 days. Most registrars utilize the 30 grace period however, it may be extended up to 45 days after expiration depending on the TLD and registrar policies. During this time, the user may still opt to renew the domain or transfer it to another registrar. 

Redemption Grace Period (RGP)

After the registrar renewal grace period expires, the 30 day redemption grace period begins. During this time, the registrar is still in control of the domains registration and may opt to allow a user to still redeem the domain with an additional fee however, they are not required to offer redemption as long as they have followed guidelines required regarding notifying the user of expiration and grace period policies. These period of redemption grace period is most often the period of time a registrar may offer the domain in pre-release or expired domain name auctions where other users and domain name investors can bid on the domain in auction to obtain ownership at the end of the RGP period.

Pending Delete

At this stage in the life cycle, the registrar is no longer in control of the domain name as it has been sent back to the registry and begun the drop process. This stage last for 5 days before the domain is released for backorder capture or general availability.

Backorder

A backorder is an automated registration of a domain name at the moment the pending delete period ends (most often referred to as "the drop time/date). Backorders are offered by registrars as a means of quickly recapturing a domain for a new user within their network.

General Registration Availability

At this point, a domain name is freed from the expiration life cycle and can be purchased by a new registrant, beginning the domain name life cycle anew. 

Terms

TLD - A Top level domain is comprised of the characters right of the dot (.com, .net, .org etc)

Registry - The managing party or company responsible for management of a TLD (the wholesaler).

Registrar - The company or entity responsible for managing and operating all aspects of the domain including user registered owners, DNS management, Transfers and renewals (the retailer).

Registrant - The registered owner of a domain during the active phase and renewal grace period of the domain life cycle (the owner/user).