How to Get an Expired Domain Name

So you have a website… but you need a domain name.  After searching on NameCheap you realize your favorite choices are not only already registered, but an expired domain.  Well, expiring technically.  That’s good news, at least you have a shot at getting it.  With a little persistence and some determination, this expiring domain can be yours within a month or two at most.

Follow these steps in order to acquire an expired domain name

  1. Visit WhoIs.net and enter the URL of the expired or expiring domain name you want to register.
  2. If the expiration date listed has passed, then the domain is in the expiration process (estimated duration of this period is approximately 75 days)
  3. Now, visit SnapNames.com, Pool.com and NameJet.com
  4. Sign up for an account on each of the three websites
  5. Go to the search bar function on each site, and search for your targeted expired/expiring domain.
  6. Select the domain and add the domain(s) to your watch list (Snapnames, Pool and Namejet do not charge unless you actually acquiring the domain(s))
    Check Expired Domain Name on WhoIs.net
  7. Create a timeline, with the expiration at as the origin of the timeline.
  8. Log in to your account every 2 weeks or so to watch the domain’s expiration status (it can be redeemed by its owner during what is called the “grace period”
  9. After the expiration and grace period phase, the expired domain enters the deletion phase of the process.  This is where your prudence and determination with pay off.  Pay close attention to whether or not the domain goes to auction.
  10. Good luck!

The flow chart is a visual depicting the domain expiration process

Expired Domains

Domain names are quite a fascinating topic to talk about.  Without a doubt, the domain registration process is complex.  Even experienced Webmasters rarely know exactly how domain names are created; let alone the domain expiration process.  This post is to help shed some light on how the registration and expiration system works. Also to help you search, find and register that expired domain name you have been patiently waiting for.

I find it easiest to explain this technical process through simple metaphors.  Imagine, if you can, that a phone book is sitting in front of you.  A phone book looks like this, if you have forgotten.  Every business listing has two things, the business name and the address.  The phone book represents the infrastructure of what is called the Domain Name System (DNS) for the World Wide Web.  The business name represents the domain name, let’s use www.Yahoo.com as an example.  The business address represents the I.P. address of the web server.  The Domain Name System is what assigns human addresses (yahoo.com) to computer  server addresses.  This is what allows us to use the English (or any) language in order to visit a website.  The Domain Name System is administered today by the United States Department of Commerce.

When a .com domain name is registered with a registrar like NameCheap, they actually register the domain on your behalf.  You are not really purchasing the domain, but paying to allow a company to contract it for you for however long you want it registered.  Only authorized domain name registrars have the ability to do this.  Once you register your domain successfully, you now have to “point” the domain to your web server by enter the DNS nameservers.  This is what finally “instructs” the domain you registered to your web server’s IP address.

I highly suggest using a domain snagging website like pool.com, namejet.com and snapnames.com.  They have a more sophisticated system that watch the domain registry list much more efficiently than you can.  I have no real preference between the three, but I have used Pool successfully.  Pool offers a service that essentially allows you to pay a flat fee ~$65 and have them scour the domain name registry for expired domain names.  And once your targeted domain name is released back into the public, Pool grabs it immediately.  So the service is worth it, assuming your domain is worth it.

Good luck and if you have any questions on a particular situation you are facing with an expiring domain, feel free to contact me.

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