If you've put time and effort into an optimized domain with a distinctive domain name, you naturally want to keep it live and running for as long as possible.

How to Check Your Domain Expiration Date

To prevent your domain name from being bought out from under you, you should make yourself aware of your domain expiration date (also known as the expiry date of domain name).

This is the renewal date if you want to keep your website and your brand URL in operation.

Contrary to what you might think, you probably don't "own" your domain name. In most cases, your name belongs to the platform owner (or domain name registry service, aka registrar) from which you leased it, such as GoDaddy.

These platforms have the power to revoke your domain account if you fail to pay at the agreed-upon time.

As the registrant, or the entity leasing a name, you have several tools available to help you keep your name away from its expiration date. Below, we explain what happens when your domain expires.

What is a Domain Name?

Domain names form the initial URLs of every website, referring to the core identity of a site. A domain name tells visitors what you have to offer and identifies your brand.

Not unlike an IP address, which is the fixed number associated with your computer or smartphone, any sites you create (as well as their associated services and contact information) relate directly to their respective domain name.

This relationship means that you will need to rebuild the associated site from the ground up if you lose access to one or more of your domains when your domain expires.

Why Do Domain Names Expire?

A few reasons exist why a domain name might hit its expiration date without your renewal.

Luckily, it's relatively easy to avoid if you know what to look for with your site.

Renewal features are inactive or ignored

Almost every registry company offers an auto-renew service so that your domain doesn't hit the expiration date.

If auto-renew isn't enabled, you or your business have probably received renewal reminders via email. However, these may have ended up in your spam box in some cases.

Your billing information is outdated

When your credit card expires, all of the subscriptions and payments you scheduled with it need updating.

If you set up your domain multiple years ago, you may not remember to update billing until it's too late. Automated emails (for those receiving them) usually point out this error.

The email you registered with is unusable

You may have registered using an email associated with a school, business, or organization to which you no longer belong.

In this case, getting access to your domain can be challenging. Fortunately, most registrars will allow you to recover your credentials and set up a new contact email.

You've lost track of who holds your domain

People who own multiple domains and run several brands may use many different registrars. Sometimes, you may forget to renew with one of them, even if you took the time to pay the others.

What Happens When a Domain Name Expires?

A domain owner gets ample opportunity to uphold the terms of their renewal. Those who wish to keep their websites up and running can renew during any of the following periods to get a domain name extension.

Any time before expiration

The registrar will point out your obligation to renew during the year you own a particular name. Most registry services send multiple alert emails if your website domain expiry date is approaching.

During the Renewal Grace Period

After an initial failure to renew, the registrar will replace your domain with a parking page, giving you 30 days to correct the situation. Registrants typically do not accrue extra fees during this time.

During the Hold Period

If you didn't take advantage of the grace period, you could still renew during this time, even if someone else has purchased your domain name. If this happens, the auction site will refund their fee.

After the Hold Period

At this point, your recently expired domain names enter a redemption period, during which time the original owner can pay a redemption fee in addition to their original renewal price.

If someone purchases the domain at auction or in a closeout sale before this point, you have lost the domain for good.

How Do I Know if My Domain Is Expiring?

It's possible to check the expiration date on any domain, including your own, using a WHOIS lookup.

How Do I Know if My Domain Is Expiring?

WHOIS information is accessible through multiple platforms, including GoDaddy, ICANN, and SpamZilla, which provide details about a particular domain's owner and status.

Account owners and leaders both contribute to the WHOIS database, making it one of your most invaluable tools.

Using a WHOIS database is a simple process that can help save domain owners (and prospective buyers) a lot of trouble.

After searching a website's URL through the WHOIS service, a record will appear that will include the domain name registration and expiration dates. If no one renews the domain within 30 days of this date, it will usually transfer ownership to the highest bidder.

Its important to follow this process to make sure your domain doesn't end up on some free expired domains list on the Internet.

Use the tools that we offer on SpamZilla to look up millions of domains from a list that gets updated daily.