Anyone who's been waiting for the perfect domain name to become available knows how exciting it is when WHOIS information updates indicate that its registration is about to expire.

Occasionally, though, you might see a domain name that isn't available even though it has an expired status.

This can be a frustrating experience, but there's a simple explanation for it and even if your Google domain expired, there is always time to get it back.

We'll get into the reasons below as well as what to do while you're waiting for your desirable expired domains to become available.

Why a Domain Name Would Be Expired but Not Available

ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has a number of rules in place that affect the system that registrars use when handling the expiration of internet domain names.

The process ICANN requires gives website owners plenty of time to renew their domain name registrations before and even after expiration.

Before an expired domain name is available for purchase, it will generally go through a few steps:

  • Automatic grace period
  • Redemption grace period
  • Deletion period

During these periods, domain name information will show an expired status, but the domain will not yet be available for new registration.

While this system is helpful for the site owner, it can create a delay for the person looking at buying expiring domains.

The timeline for domain name expiration steps varies a bit depending on the top-level domain and registry associated with the website, plus the registration agreement between the registrar and the person who currently owns the domain name.

Automatic Grace Period

The first grace period an expired domain name goes through is the automatic grace period. Note that this period can last anywhere from zero to 45 days, depending on the registrar.

Automatic Grace Period

If a domain reaches this point, it means that the registrar has already given the registrant at least two notices requesting a renewal fee and warning about the pending domain expiration.

During the grace period, a registrant can stop the expiration of the site by paying for renewal. Most registrars don't require an additional fee on top of the renewal price during this phase.

Redemption Grace Period

The next phase in domain expiration is the redemption grace period. Like the automatic grace period, this period can vary depending on the registry or registrar involved, but a month is typical.

Redemption Grace Period

The redemption period is a bit more serious for the registrant than the initial grace period because the registrar will usually suspend services at this time.

Usually, the current domain name owner will also have to pay a reinstatement fee in addition to the original renewal fee if they want to move ahead with renewal.

Also, remember if your current registrar renewal fees are expensive you can transfer an expiring domain to a different registrar with lower fees.

Expired Domain Name Auction

After the redemption period, a registrar will often try to sell the expired domain name at an online auction house.

Expired Domain Name Auction

At this point, expired domain names are available for registration to the highest bidder.

You can find expired domains at these auctions for as low as $10, as long as there's no competition for them. More popular domain names can get pretty pricey, however.

Deletion Period

If domain names make it past the redemption period without renewal and no one buys them at auction, the registry deletes them from the domain name registry list.

Deletion Period

After the registry deletes the domain name, it goes into "pending delete" status for several days, after which it's available for registration. The first person to complete registration for the domain gets it.

What to Do if Domain Is Expired but Not Available

If a domain you want is expired but not available, it's only a matter of time until you can claim it for your own. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

Verify Its Domain Authority

Before you settle on a domain, it's a good idea to verify its site or page authority, so you don't end up with a domain that has a poor reputation.

You can do this manually using tools like open site explorer, or you can make use of a comprehensive expired domain finder that handles it for you. Here's where SpamZilla can help.

Formulate a Plan

If you like the look of a domain and are satisfied that it has a high level of domain authority, your next step will be to decide how you want to go about getting it. There are two main ways you can approach it:

  • Buy it as soon as it becomes available: The most straightforward approach is waiting for the domain to become available and putting in a bid. The primary issue with this tactic is the possibility of someone getting to it before you.
  • Backorder it to be safe: Backordering the domain with the registrar will give you a better chance of winning it, although it still won't guarantee it. If multiple people backorder a domain, they have the option of bidding against each other for it.

How badly you want a domain will often determine which method you choose.

Enlist the Help of Expired Domain Finder Services

Finding the perfect expired domain name can take a great deal of time and effort, especially if you're new to the game.

There are thousands of expired and expiring domains to comb through, and then you have to verify the domain authority of each one you like. That's where expired domain finders like SpamZilla can help.

These tools not only look for expired domains on your behalf in a matter of minutes; they also assess the domain's quality and give you full reports on each domain you're interested in.