How to Find & Buy Expired Domains (2 Best Ways)

how to get an expired domain name

Do you have your eye set on a registered domain? Do you want to know the best way to grab it as soon as it expires?

An expired domain is auctioned off to the highest bidder or it goes back on the public market. If you’re looking to register a coveted domain name, it’s best to place a back order so that you’re first in line to get the domain name.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we’ve simplified it!

We’ll explain how to do this along with everything else you need to know about finding and buying expired domain names. We’ll also reveal the best places that help you get expired domain names.

Let’s get started.

What is an Expired Domain Name?

An expired domain name is one that is not renewed by the owner. It’s really that simple.

What you need to know is that every domain name is registered in the owner’s name for a set number of years. When this period expires, the owner needs to renew the domain by paying the renewal fee.

expiry date on domain name

If the owner fails to renew the domain, it expires and becomes available for someone else to register it.

But it’s not always that simple. There are ways to get an expired domain name before it goes back on the market.

So up next, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the stages an expired domain name goes through so that you get it at the right time.

What Happens to an Expired Domain Name?

1. Expired Status

Expired domains don’t go back on the market on their expiration date. Instead, they go into “expired” status.

This means all services on that domain are closed off but the domain owner still has time to renew it.

Usually, domain registrars grant a 30-day extension on all domain names beyond their expiration date. During this period, the owner simply needs to pay the renewal fee to keep the domain.

2. Redemption Period

After the grace period, the domain name may go into a “redemption” period. At this time, the domain will be inaccessible and no one will be able to register it.

A registrar will charge the owner a redemption fee + renewal fee to get back the domain name. For instance, Bluehost charges $70 redemption fee + the normal renewal fee.

3. Domain Auction or Public Market

If the owner doesn’t renew the domain within the redemption period, the domain will be auctioned to the highest bidder or released on the public market.

So there’s a lot of time between the expiration date and the day you can purchase the domain from a domain registrar.

But the important question here is how do you know when the domain name goes on auction? That’s where backorders come in.

4. Backorders

While you wait for an expired domain to go back on the market, someone may have already snatched it through a back order.

A backorder works like a pre-order before the domain goes back on the public market. You can place a back order on a domain once the domain name reaches its expiration date.

You’ll receive a notification as soon as it’s available to you so you can register it immediately. Or if there are more people interested, then you get to participate in the auction for it.

Now that you know the stages that an expired domain name goes through, we’ll give you the best way to grab the domain name before someone else does.

How to Get an Expired Domain Name?

Well, the straight answer here is that you can wait till it goes back on the market and then find and register it at a domain registrar.

But as we mentioned, it’s not always that simple. If you really want to secure the expired domain name before someone else does, here are 2 methods we recommend:

1. Place a backorder
2. Use a domain broker

1. Place a backorder

You can place a back order on a domain name after the expiration date has passed.

You can think of it as making a reservation for a table at a restaurant. You get dibs on that table for a limited period of time.

In the same way, when you place a backorder on an expired domain, you’ll get a chance to register it before it’s available to the public.

But the downside here is that more than one person can request a backorder of the same domain. If multiple people have backorders, the domain goes up for auction and is awarded to the highest bidder.

The process to place a backorder can differ between registrars but the overall steps are quite the same. We’ll show you how to place a backorder with Network Solutions, the world’s first domain registrar.

Step 1: Go to the Search Expired Domain tool on the Network Solutions website.

network solutions expired domain search

Enter the domain name you want to register and hit the Search button.

Step 2: Network Solutions will search for the expired domain and display a list of search results along with an option to place a bid.

You can also see a list of domains that are expiring today.

domains expiring today

You can bid on any of these domains or even multiple domains. Simply select the domain name and hit the “Bid Now” button.

bid now on expired domains

Step 3: On the next page, Network Solutions tells you that it partners with NameJet to help you get the domain name you want. NameJet is a premiere auction platform for expired and deleted domain names.

namejet redirect

All you have to do is click on the Continue button.

Step 4: On the NameJet page, you can place your bid for as many expired domain names as you want. You’ll need to sign up for a free account and make the bid payment to successfully place your back order.

sign up for namejet account

You can also choose a bidder alias to keep yourself or your business anonymous while you make bids or buy expired domains.

bidder alias

You should know that NameJet requires your personal info including your contact information. If you successfully buy an expired domain name, your info will be added to the WHOIS database which is a public record maintained by ICANN. Anyone can use the WHOIS Lookup tool to find information on a domain owner. To hide your information, make sure you opt for domain privacy protection.

Once your account is created, you can place a backorder bid on any domain name that’s expired.

select expired domain names

Keep in mind that when you backorder a domain name, the registrar will apply your payment to the domain name when it expires. If you’re the only one who backordered the domain name, you’ll get it at no additional cost.

But if the domain goes to auction, then your backorder payment is used to place the opening bid. You can continue to bid on the domain name, or simply move your backorder credit to another domain name.

2. Use a domain broker

Domain brokers help you buy and sell domain names for a brokerage fee.

They can help you get domain appraisals and negotiate deals with the domain owner on your behalf.

This applies not just to expired or expiring domain names but to any registered domain name. See our guide: Domain Brokers: What are They and Should You Use Them?

If you have your eye on a domain name that you know is highly sought after, using a domain broker will give you a better chance of getting it.

Every domain broker charges an upfront fee to start the process of buying a domain name. When the domain name is sold, they take a commission on the selling price.

Some of the best domain brokers include Sedo, Grit Brokerage, and Godaddy. See our complete list: 5 Top Domain Name Broker Services (2022).

Should I Buy an Expired Domain Name?

Absolutely yes! But only if it makes sense to your business or plans for it.

Let’s unpack that a bit more to give you better direction.

Expired domain names can be very valuable. If the domain name is short, marketable, and brandable, it can be a money maker.

Plus, if the high quality website that was set up using this domain name had built up its SEO (search engine optimization) profile, it can help you get to the top ranks of Google fast. You can piggyback on the high domain authority, existing backlink profile, and page ranks.

The value of the domain can also depend on the extension you choose.

.com domains are usually more valuable as they a top-level domains. You can also find ccTLDs of value. These are localized extensions like .us, .uk, and .ca.

Keep in mind that not all expired domain names are valuable. You need to be able to separate the good ones from the bad lot.

Expired Domain Names vs. Dropped Domain Names

We already know that a domain expires when the owner fails to renew the domain either on purpose or accidentally.

But in your search for expired domain names, you’ll likely come across the term “dropped domains”. These domains haven’t necessarily expired.

Rather, the owner has deleted or dropped them from their profile. They may not have been using it and may have wanted to clean up their domain list.

These domain names are available for registration at the normal domain registration fee.

Alternatives to Expired Domain Names

Placing back orders and hiring brokers can be expensive. And even though you’ve done everything right, a backorder and a broker cannot guarantee that you’ll get the domain name.

In these cases, you need to be open to other domain names that may work just as well if not better.

You can use our Domain Name Generator to help you choose an available domain name.

You simply need to type in the domain name you want and if it’s available, you’ll see it on the results page along with an option to buy it.

nameboy domain search results

When you select the new domain name you want, you get two options to get it for free with a Bluehost web hosting plan or with a 25% discount at Domain.com .

nameboy domain buy options

Bluehost is one of the best web hosting providers in the world. When you sign up for one of their hosting plans that start at just $2.75 per month, you’ll get a free domain name for 12 months, free SSL, and free CDN.

bluehost wordpress hosting

Once you register your domain name, we strongly recommend enabling auto-renew on your domain. This way you’ll never accidentally lose your domain name because you forgot to renew it on time.

That’s all we have for you today! We hope you found this guide helpful in getting the domain name you want.

You’ll also want to see our guides:

These posts will give you more direction on getting the perfect domain name and extension at the right price.

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