When you choose a domain name for your business, you plan to keep it forever — well, at least for as long as you pay the renewal fees.

But while you might be conscientious about maintaining your domain name as part of your online presence, others aren’t so lucky.

Every day, many expired domain names lists turn up online for anyone to snag. Even if you’re happy with your current domain name, finding an expired website domain that’s similar to yours or that's optimized to reach the same people can be useful.

For example, you can gain visitors from people trying to visit the expired site.

More importantly, that expired website might have established links to other sites that you can use to drive more traffic your way — especially if you offer similar services or content.

SpamZilla is a tool that takes the time and the research out of verifying an expired domain name and checking whether its backlinks are worth your while.

Let’s look at how domain names for websites expire and how SpamZilla can help you to buy an expiring domain.

When Do Domain Names Expire?

You likely know this, but just as a refresher, there are no hard-and-fast domain-name expiration rules.

An expiration date depends on the domain name registration agreement. Here's how this works.

Each Domain Name Has a Registry

Basically, whenever you purchase a domain name, you're registering your domain name with a registrar and renting it for a period of time.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, accredits each trusted domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.

Website Registration Means a Unique Address

A registrar assigns each domain a unique IP address that's yours to use as long as you pay a domain registration fee each month or each year.

The renewal price varies by the registry. Directories such as the WHOIS database include domain registration information, including the owner's name, contact info such as an email address, the registrar, and expiration date.

Domain Registration Expiration Takes Time

There are lots of ways that owners can renew domains. Some choose automatic updates and renewal.

Others rely on email reminders about their account renewal and domain expiration date, but these are easy to miss if they land in a spam folder.

Users also can check a control panel to see which payment method they've put on file, but it's common for someone to forget to update an expired credit card or their contact information.

A First Grace Period

Yet even past an expiration date, a domain name doesn’t expire immediately. Registrars that ICANN has accredited typically provide a grace period for renewal, such as 30 days.

They often send emails to the email address on file to alert the owner about the lapse in services and that a grace period is in effect. (Bear in mind: The length of the grace period varies for domains with registrars that fall outside ICANN.  

Some don't provide a grace period at all.)

A Second Grace Period

If a person misses the initial grace period deadline, the domain name still isn't lost. Rather, the domain now enters a holding period, a redemption grace period.

Here, a registrar can sell domain names at auction, but the original registrant still has the opportunity to repurchase them during this time frame. As an example, you can pick up GoDaddy expired domains which they call "closeout domains" during this period.

Even if someone else buys it, the original registrant can still reclaim it as long as they act within the redemption grace period, which might be another 30 days.

Again, that depends on the registry.

At Last, an Expired Domain

If no one buys the domain and the original party hasn't reclaimed it, someone else can snap it up at a bargain price.

Unwanted domain names go back into the registry, where officials can change them or even delete them.

Why Should I Research Domain Expirations?

For whatever reason domains expire, an expiration date presents an opportunity to other businesses in the same niche. First, a domain might have valuable information that you can use, especially if you provide the same services.

If the domain was popular enough that it appeared high in Google search results, you could benefit from that SEO without reinventing the wheel.

You also can take note of different marketing tools and tactics that a domain used and adopt those as well.

Perhaps the expired site provided coupons or a method to capture visitors' email addresses for a promotional list.  What a help this would be to avoid creating such a list from scratch!

Now, you could conduct a WHOIS search at a regular rate to note whose account renewal has lapsed, but this doesn't guarantee that you'll find every relevant domain.

Some companies offer private registration for an additional fee, which keeps emails and other contact methods out of the public directory.

How SpamZilla Can Help Grow Your SEO

When you register for a free SpamZilla account, you can search for up to 25 domain names a month according to your preferred SEO metrics.

SpamZilla has 16 different domain sources, making us one of the best finders of expired domains with reputable backlinks and authority links that you can use — all without lengthy data searches.

Need more help? For a monthly fee, you'll have full access to millions of expired domain names, backlink data, and automatic spam checking, with newly expired domains emailed to you each day.

Just click on "Sign Up" to get started without a fee and see how SpamZilla's wealth of research can boost your SEO and your customers.