Dynadot

guide Finding Expiring and Recently Expired Domain Names

Spaceship Spaceship
Many domain investors primarily acquire names from expiring domain auctions or closeouts. This article, intended mainly for those relatively new to the field, provides an introduction to efficient ways to find domain names that are either about to expire or have expired.

A Few Terms

Before we look at ways to search for expiring names, let’s define a few terms.
  • An expiring domain name is one that has reached expiry, but is not yet too late to renew.
  • An expired domain name has reached expiry, and is now available at registration fee. An expired domain name will have its age reset.
  • Drop-catch services use automated registrar scripts to try to re-register a name the instant that it expires. Read more about domain drop catching here.
  • Many expiring domain names are first offered in an auction, and then go to closeout, offered at a fixed price that may change each day.
  • Domain age is the period from when the name was created, assuming it has not been allowed to expire. If the name fully expired, it is the time since the most recent registration.

Domain Registration Life Cycle

While the details vary with extension and registrar, each domain name goes through a life cycle represented in this diagram from ICANN.

After the domain name registration period is over, the name goes into an auto-renew grace period. This may be, but is not always, as long as 45 days. During the auto-renew grace period, the domain name can be renewed by the owner at the regular renewal rate and its age record is maintained.

This is followed by a redemption grace period, sometimes 30 days, when the owner can still recover the name, but normally at a substantially higher fee.

There will then be a 5 day pending-delete period, after which, if the name has not been renewed, the domain name will expire and become essentially a new name when later registered.

Where To Find Expiring Names

Certainly the best known place to find expiring domain names is GoDaddy Auctions. GoDaddy is the world’s largest registrar, and, in addition to their own expiring inventory, expiring domain names from a network of many other registrars are auctioned at GoDaddy. To bid in most auctions at GoDaddy you will need an auction membership, but it just costs a few dollars per year.

Another large registrar, Namecheap, now auction their own expiring names at the Namecheap Market. You need a Namecheap auction membership, currently $5 USD per year.

Various other registrars auction their own expiring inventory, including Dynadot and Sav, among many others.

All of these sites have their own ways to research and search for names. But there is a much more powerful method, as we see in the next section.

ExpiredDomains.Net

We have many wonderful tools and sites in the domain community, but as great as they are, few are as useful, powerful and well-implemented as ExpiredDomains.net.

ExpiredDomains.net covers domain names listed at GoDaddy, Sedo, Namecheap Auctions, SnapNames, Dynadot, Dan, Catched, NameJet, Flippa, Name Expired, NameSilo Auctions, Namepal Auctions, Park.io, DropCatch Auctions, Bido, DomainMarket, Sav, NameLiquidate and Epik Marketplace.

You will need a membership to do much at ExpiredDmains.net, but that is free.

ExpiredDomains.net currently has more than 510 million domain names in their database, yes more than the total number of current registrations, since they keep names that have expired.

ExpiredDomains cover almost all of the original gTLDs, the majority of well-known country codes, and 335 different new extensions. See the full TLD list here.

In the next sections, I take you step-by-step through basic ways to use the site. Keep in mind this is only a tiny part of what ExpiredDomains.net can do.

If you don’t already have an ExpiredDomains.net membership, sign up now for free. I suggest trying out each filter as you read the following guide.

While you won’t immediately become a power user, you can be very proficient at using ExpiredDomains.net within the first hour.

Finding Pending Delete .com Names

Just because it can do so much, the ExpiredDomains interface can seem overwhelming at first.

As the first exercise, let’s assume we want to find some good short pending delete .com domain names.

Once you get used to ExpiredDomains.net, you will save your filters, and not need to go through all these steps. But as a learning exercise, try the following.
  1. Log in to your ExpiredDomains.net account.
  2. Near the top, in the final row of choice tabs, select PendingDelete. Recently for me that showed more than 2.7 million domain names, so we are going to want to be more selective!
  3. Select Show Filter (it will be on left just above the list of names).
  4. Let’s first reduce the list to only show .com names. That is in the second tab, Additional. Under Original gTLDs check .com. To make it take effect, scroll down and press the blue Apply Filter button.
  5. Note that when we press Show Filter, it now indicates we have 1 filter selected. Also, the pending delete domain list has been reduced to about 350,000 names, but still too many to go through!
  6. Let’s now eliminate names that include a number or a hyphen. Click on Show Filter again, then under Common and Domain Name Settings, check no numbers and no hyphens. Then activate these additional filters by clicking on Apply Filter again. That gets our list down to a bit over 270,000 the day I checked.
  7. Let’s assume we are only interested in short names, say only 5 letter long names. To do that, select Show Filter, then Domain Name Settings, and set both the minimum and maximum Length to 5. Then press Apply Filter again to implement. The day I tried these steps, the additional filters reduced the list to just over 8000 pending delete 5L .com names.
  8. Before we add more filters, let’s look at the information provided for each name. When the mouse hovers over any heading it tells you the meaning – for example, WBY means the official birth year as defined earlier, while ABY is the first year ever registered, even if the name subsequently dropped and had its age reset. Reg is a number of registered other extensions. RDT is number of related domain names, that is longer names including this term. The End Date gives when the pending delete period will end.
  9. Let’s further reduce the list. Perhaps we want speakable names that have a structure like Kodak, that is CVCVC where C is a consonant and V is a vowel. To do this, click Show Filter again, then under Common, near bottom left Domain Name Pattern and enter the pattern CVCVC. Note if you hover over the i symbol it will show you all the pattern options.
  10. We now have a manageable list that you can go through by hand to see if any names are of interest.
  11. This is only a tiny part of what is possible with ExpiredDomains.net, though. For example, options in Adwords & SEO and Majestic provide the ability to explore SEO aspects names.
  12. You can save your search by clicking on the diskette symbol, to the right of the Show Filter. Change the filter name to something descriptive. Next time you want to repeat, or start from, this search, you just select it from your saved filters. You can save up to 100 sets of filters.
  13. If you click on any domain name in the list, it will show a one-page summary of every characteristic for that domain name.

Find Expired One-Word .XYZ Names

For the second example, let’s say that we want to find single-word .xyz names that have recently dropped and are available to hand register. Here are the steps.
  1. Login to your ExpiredDomains.net account, if not already in.
  2. Click on Deleted Domains, then find the tab ngTLDs P-Z and then from the pull down menu select .xyz.
  3. If it shows no domains, it is probably because you still have your old .com search. If that is case, click Clear Filter.
  4. The day I tried, there were more than 2.1 million expired .xyz names. Let’s look only at English word domain names. To accomplish that, under Common I selected No Numbers and No Hyphens, then set the language as English and the maximum number of words to 1. To activate these new filters press Apply Filter.
  5. You might be surprised how many are in list, but it seems to have a very liberal definition of what is a word. I would strongly suggest checking any word that interests you in a standard dictionary such as Merriam-Webster.
  6. There are two really important columns on the far right of the domain list. Dropped shows the date (and time for current day) the name expired, and Status shows if it is available. If it says registered, it means someone else has already taken it. There is a setting under Listing Settings where you can select Only Available Domains.
  7. An important metric for many is how many TLDs the name is registered in, given in the Reg column. Just after that, are columns showing if the term is registered in .com, .net, .org, .biz, .io and .de. A red dot means the term is taken in that TLD, while a green dot means it is available to register.
  8. If you prefer, you can under the Additional tab set Name In Selected TLD Is Registered. For example, I checked .com, .net, .io and .co since I was most interested in .xyz names that were registered in those major extensions. Remember to click Apply Filter to implement.
  9. As before, save your filter for later use.
ExpiredDomains have a Help and Explanations Section, as well as FAQs. Note you need to be logged into your account for these helpful resources to show.

Hopefully this introductory guide has been helpful. I may follow up with a second article that looks at more sophisticated ways to use ExpiredDomains.net.

I regret that I did not become familiar with ExpiredDomains.net in my early weeks in domain investing. If you are new to domain investing, don’t repeat my mistake and take the time to learn how to effectively use ExpiredDomains.net at the outset.

Please feel free to share some of your favourite ways to use ExpiredDomains.net in the comments section.


Thanks to those who created and maintain the superb ExpiredDomains.net site. I could not find an official representative in the NamePros representatives list, but if you are on NamePros please interact with the community in the comments so we can thank you directly.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Hey! Good fishing holes should be kept secret!
HaHa.:xf.grin: I must say every time I write about a research tool, so word of it spreads more widely, I think, hmmm makes more competition. But like you say, plenty of names to go around.

I think the more tools we share, the more there will be competition to reach deeper, find even better or more elusive names, and a stronger domain aftermarket is ultimately good for us, I would argue.

Bob
 
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HaHa.:xf.grin: I must say every time I write about a research tool, so word of it spreads more widely, I think, hmmm makes more competition. But like you say, plenty of names to go around.

I think the more tools we share, the more there will be competition to reach deeper, find even better or more elusive names, and a stronger domain aftermarket is ultimately good for us, I would argue.

Bob
Hi

i agree, and have mentioned it before,
that what you "write" about does in fact promote the subject...depending on it's nature.

as is, you've stepped-up to the mic on variety of topics and in doing so, have made yourself an "authoritarian" figure, in the eyes of quite a few.
whether the subject is appraisal tools or keyword checkers to .xyz sales , what you feature has become influential, and in doing so, those specific services, products mentioned, certainly benefit from these postings.

as for having and sharing more tools/
to me,
beyond the brain and the common sense contained...
there are only so many tools one should need.

then again, one can have a garage full of tools, and not know what to look for when using them.

imo...
 
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I respect your opinion, @biggie, but my answer is the same as I stated above:
I think the more tools we share, the more there will be competition to reach deeper, find even better or more elusive names, and a stronger domain aftermarket is ultimately good for us, I would argue.
Follow tools blindly and not look at all facets, including gut feelings? That should never be done, in my opinion. As I pointed out in sharing a recent sale, I acquired a domain name and registered it for years, even though number TLDs and OpenCorporates were lacking.

But overall, using tools that tell us how often a term has sold, how often a term is used as a part of business names, how often a term is searched, how many similar terms are registered and used, etc., I simply don't buy that is a negative.

To never use quantitative tools would I think be a step backward for domain investing. I mainly describe tools that are free. I have gone out of way to mention the need to consider multiple sides of issues.

Re:
have made yourself an "authoritarian" figure
I hope that is not what you meant.:oops: Perhaps you meant authoritative? I have put in long hours to research a host of topics that I think are worth telling. Does that make me an authority? No, as I think I make clear. It is more like a journalist that does the hard work on a topic.

I try to be open to new ideas, and put in the hours to learn new things and to explain them as clearly as I can. I think many find that useful.

The reason that my articles are full of links, and concentrate on how to do things, is to help encourage each person to do their own research and make their own decisions.

Not every topic will be of interest to every reader. That is 100% fine. I constantly strive to balance a variety of interests.

I thank the many readers who have read articles, commented thoughtfully, at times pointed out oversights or misunderstandings, added to what was covered in an article, suggested topics for future articles, responded to requests for input, and more.

As I have said previously, NamePros is an incredible community. Our strength is not from a few people, but the collective intelligence and authority of our huge and highly-engaged community. Thank each of you who share your opinions, tips, experiences, techniques and experiences.

Thank you for taking the time to comment, even though my view is different.

Bob
 
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As Alexa site rankings is due to shut down May 2022, I wanted to post below site info comparing ExpiredDomains.net to namePros... namely for a historical timestamp.
That is really interesting, and surprising that ExpiredDomains is ranked so high, not just compared with other domain-related sites but absolutely compared to sites in general. Thanks for sharing, Chris.

Before Alexa goes dark in May it might be interesting to do a similar thing with a variety of domain-related marketplaces, sites, etc.

Thanks again,

Bob
 
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As I pointed out in sharing a recent sale, I acquired a domain name and registered it for years, even though number TLDs and OpenCorporates were lacking.

But overall, using tools that tell us how often a term has sold, how often a term is used as a part of business names, how often a term is searched, how many similar terms are registered and used, etc., I simply don't buy that is a negative.

To never use quantitative tools would I think be a step backward for domain investing. I mainly describe tools that are free. I have gone out of way to mention the need to consider multiple sides of issues.
Hi

i spoke of having more tools than one needs,
and yes, there are some that are worthy of utilizing.
like the defunct overture tool was, then on to gkwt

i think that the longer one has been in domaining, then they have idea of, and keep abreast of, the popular terms, whether used for business or just common phrases.

personally, i prefer something that does just what i want it to, without having to go several other places to check and validate.

Perhaps you meant authoritative? I have put in long hours to research a host of topics that I think are worth telling. Does that make me an authority? No, as I think I make clear. It is more like a journalist that does the hard work on a topic.
Hi

yes, sorry, that is what i meant
and even though you may not agree

if i recognize it, then it exists.

now, that may not be a bad thing, depending on how you deal with the power of the pen.

imo...
 
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This is really value packed piece, thanks for sharing!
 
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Thanks @kostaki for your awesome website and most importantly providing it for free all these years. I'm using your site for many years and continue to do so in future.

Also Thank you very much @Bob Hawkes for providing useful information on many important topics. Many users will learn lot from your blog posts
 
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And what are the qualities we should consider before buying an expired domain name
 
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And what are the qualities we should consider before buying an expired domain name
Hopefully others will answer your good question but here are a few of my thoughts.

I think it is no different from what you would look for in an auction name or a hand registration. You want a name that would have value for business (or organization) use, and ideally for a large number of potential users. OpenCorporates can be helpful in seeing how often similar names are used in business names, or LinkedIn searches.

Beyond that, you want a name that people will remember and remember correctly. Say the name orally to someone, and see if they spell it correctly, the so-called audio test.

Aesthetics are important but hard to define precisely. Say the name out loud - does it sound pleasing and interesting? Write the name down, perhaps as a log, and how does it look visually?

Welcome to NamePros, and best wishes for success.

Bob
 
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Thanks boss.
I love your fast reply ony comments.
You have been a blessing to every one in this forum both newbies and professionals.
Thanks you deserve a Nobel prize.
 
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Good day please. Can I clarify something If I understand this well this is the lifecycle of a domain

If it isn't renewed it becomes expiring.

There's are two grace periods, one where the owner can renew it normally and another where the owner has to pay a higher fee

At what point are they offered in auction and go on to close out.
Is it during the pending delete period.
Or is the pending delete period after they are offered in auction and they don't get a buyer. Or is the pending delete period before they get offered in auction. It sounds a bit confusing please
I've checked other sites for explanations and they similarly seem to be mixing up terminologies
 
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Sorry to delay in answering your question, @truthtopower.
At what point are they offered in auction and go on to close out.
Is it during the pending delete period.
Or is the pending delete period after they are offered in auction and they don't get a buyer. Or is the pending delete period before they get offered in auction. It sounds a bit confusing please
I've checked other sites for explanations and they similarly seem to be mixing up terminologies
Let me first of all say I should have stressed that a number of registrars use the term 'expired' once the normal registration period is over, so the terminology I use in this article, expiring (still possibility to renew, and official age will not reset) and expired, after that, may lead to confusion.

Anyway, on to your question. Exactly what happens depends on your registrar (and the TLD) but let me give you a couple of examples with specific dates. GoDaddy policy is described here (note they call them expired auctions, even though my terminology would call expiring):

Domains that simply expire are automatically entered into auction 25 days after expiration. You can bid on any expiring domain listed through GoDaddy Auctions®. Expired auctions last for 10 days, after which domains without bids are moved to Expired Domains Closeout. The current registrant can re-claim the domain up to 30 days after expiration. Once a bid is placed, the registrant can no longer renew the domain in their account.

But GoDaddy Expired Auctions include not just names from GoDaddy, and their resellers, but also through agreements domain names held at many other registrars that they have agreements with. Also, some other registrars auction their own expiring names - Sav and Namecheap do this, and a number of others.

Here is the statement of the schedule for Porkbun. I like that they give you a summary of this in an email notification when you have names that are about to be lost. So the policy is fairly wordy (see link) but here are the key parts.

On the day your domain expires, it passes into what is known as the Auto-Renew Grace Period, which typically lasts between 37 and 38 days at Porkbun. For the first 30 days of this period, expired domains can still be renewed for its normal renewal price with no extra fees. Please note that other registrars may have an Auto-Renew Grace Period as short as zero days or as long as 45 days and may charge additional late registration fees.
For the first 10 days of the Auto-Renew Grace Period, your expired domain should continue to function as normal. We understand that problems can occur with the payment, so we allow 10 days to remedy any failed payments, etc.
After the 10th day of the Auto-Renew Grace Period, the Porkbun nameservers will be automatically assigned and your domain will display a notice to any visitors that it has expired.
At about 21 days into the Auto-Renew Grace Period, the expired domain will be submitted to third-party auction services.
For days 25-26 through 36-37 of the Auto-Renew Grace Period the expired domain will be available at a third-party auction service. You may still renew expired domains until day 30 at the standard renewal fee. After day 30, however, you will no longer have this option. If you fail to take any action — and the expired domain is purchased at auction — it will be transferred to the winner at the end of this auction period.
On day 35 - 45 after expiration (typically on day 37 or 38), if the expired domain did not sell at auction, the Auto-Renew Grace Period will end and the domain is deleted from Porkbun. For 30 days after deletion, expired domains are considered to reside in the Redemption Grace Period. During this second grace period, expired domains are returned to the registry (see: "What is a registry?") and can be redeemed for the normal renewal fee plus a redemption fee which varies by the registry.

It is important to look up similar data for any registrar you deal with, since as Porkbun note the dates are different at different registrars. Also, as they stress, each country code TLD has its own set of dates, including some that immediately expire.

Hope this helps.

-Bob

PS I added the bolding for clarity, not in original documents.
 
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another where the owner has to pay a higher fee
I realize I did not cover this part. Some registrars have a higher fee after a certain date that they set and collect.

However, all registrars (at least for TLDs under the ICANN agreement) have a redemption fee (set by the registry and going to them, although paid through you registrar) that is substantial. This kicks in after the period when the domain name is no longer at your registrar and available to renew by the standard process. I have never paid one, but I think it is about $80 for the restore fee for a .com.

Note also, that for some TLDs, especially certain European country codes, I think .at is one, full expiration kicks in at day 0.

-Bob
 
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Thanks a lot, Bob! Really helpful!
 
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Hi! I am new and have not yet introduced myself in the proper section as suggested by the site's guidelines; mostly because I have a lot to read and learn before I dare write. However, something has come across my way today and perhaps anyone here can help me. I was searching on ExpiredDomains.net (which I discovered thanks to your wonderful article, Mr. Hawkes, thank you very much!), and I found a certain dropped name that I liked (as a beginner, I still do what you call "Hand register"). Checked availability directly on Icann's lookup tool, and it was indeed available. But when trying to register it, registrar returns "TAKEN". Checked on ICANN several times after that, and apparently it was still available. Any idea of what is going on, or what course of action should I take? I am thinking it may be the Registry holding it back, is it possible?, and if so, why? Sorry for bothering, and thank you in advance!
 
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Hi! I am new and have not yet introduced myself in the proper section as suggested by the site's guidelines; mostly because I have a lot to read and learn before I dare write. However, something has come across my way today and perhaps anyone here can help me. I was searching on ExpiredDomains.net (which I discovered thanks to your wonderful article, Mr. Hawkes, thank you very much!), and I found a certain dropped name that I liked (as a beginner, I still do what you call "Hand register"). Checked availability directly on Icann's lookup tool, and it was indeed available. But when trying to register it, registrar returns "TAKEN". Checked on ICANN several times after that, and apparently it was still available. Any idea of what is going on, or what course of action should I take? I am thinking it may be the Registry holding it back, is it possible?, and if so, why? Sorry for bothering, and thank you in advance!
Hi again! Update: I did some research and finally found out the answers to my questions (I continue learning...).
Thanks once more!
 
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Thank you Bob for the step-by-step instructions on how to find 5L .com domains!
I tried to input CVCVC into the domain pattern but I got zero results. Did something change in expireddomains.net or is it an error on my part?
 
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Thank you Bob for the step-by-step instructions on how to find 5L .com domains!
I tried to input CVCVC into the domain pattern but I got zero results. Did something change in expireddomains.net or is it an error on my part?

Double-check your other entries, it's very easy to filter too much.
 
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