Around the globe, website owners, well-meaning individuals, and corporate bodies buy and sell website domain names. The domain game is multiplying, with about 30,000 new domains registered daily. In the US, this growth is expected to be worth almost $7 billion.
It would interest you to know the percentage of registered domains ever sold out is about only 3% – 6%. I believe you are asking what happens to the rest not being sold. Well, they continue working as website addresses, or they will expire.
You’d be surprised to know expired domains are very valuable. The moment we log onto the online space, we enter into a world of possible benefits. If you are not taking advantage of the space, then you are missing out on great opportunities.
So, discovering an expired domain offers interesting possibilities for some people. Bloggers and online entrepreneurs are presented with this golden opportunity to put them to good use. But the problem is how to find expired domain names that will perform well for you.
But, purchasing expired domains gives some advantages, like buying to re-sell, building online real estate, and SEO benefits. So, with this, you’d agree that investing in value should not be a big deal.
Whether you are just learning about expired domains or you are familiar with them already, this article will provide all you need to know. Here, we will examine expired domains, how to spot them, and how they can be bought. Once you get these right, your blog or website will be grateful.
So, buckle up. Let’s get the journey started!
What Are Expired Domains?
Expired domains simply are domain names that were registered but not renewed beyond the first registration time. So, this expired domain can be re-registered, and someone else can take them.
People buy expired domains for many reasons. Likewise, several reasons can cause domains to expire. Some of these are the closure of business or forgetting to renew the domain.
Expired domains offer some pretty hidden benefits. The benefits include established link profiles and authority that can be used for different purposes.
The purpose of the domain becomes active once it is registered. It could be registered for a personal project or a commercial site with genuine traffic.
No one ever owns a domain name. They are rented out. So, If a domain name expires, it means the owner stopped paying the rent. For whatever reason, the owner forgot to renew the registration before expiration.
What are Domain Registrars?
A domain registrar is like a record under which all domains must be registered. The domains may not yet be in existence, or they may be in use, or the current owner is putting them up for sale.
Domain registrars keep track of the owner and ensure that the domain is working. Shortly, we will examine how to go about domain registration.
How do you Register a Domain?
Thankfully, to register expired domains is straightforward. What you need to do is to pick a name with a top-level domain (TLD) and search for it. If the name is available, go ahead and purchase it. If it is not available, contact the existing owner and make an offer for it.
Getting your own domain is easy. The domain registrar is tasked with handling the transactions. They also ensure that everything is registered appropriately on the DNS.
So, people are granted access to the internet to rent domain names from hosting services that register them. For you to rent a domain name, you have to pay for it. Your lease for the name expires when you don’t pay.
What Happens When a Doman Expires?
Sometimes, the expiry of domain names happens by mistake. There are times when domain owners can decide not to auto-renew their registration. This is because it could be expensive, or they are not certain if they will need it in a year.
At this point, they stop checking the email connected to the domain’s registrar. So, they miss alerts about expected expiry, and the domain is now among expired domains up for sale.
A lot of time, temporary domains are in use. So, people use proxy domains until their main domain is ready and registered. Sometimes, people carry out short-term projects with these proxy domains.
So, when they finally get their main domain registered, they move on with it and forget the temporary domain. This way, the temporary domain expires when they are not needed anymore.
Now, once domains are expired, third parties gather around to buy them off. This is because if no one buys it, it will be deleted and released again for public registration.
Before this happens, the expired domain names are put up for auction. Auction implies the expired domains go through three periods.
- Grace Period. Which typically lasts for 30 days. This period is called the renewal phase, where the present owner is given a chance to re-register their domain.
- Redemption Period. This typically lasts for 40 days. During this period, the owner of the domain can renew but at a much higher price.
- Pending Delete Period. This lasts for 5 days. The domains at this stage have not been re-registered or auctioned and are put out for public registration.
For those seeking an opportunity to buy old domains, the redemption period can be the best time for them. The registrar can put out a domain for auction during this period. But for the sales to be finalized, the domain has to remain unregistered after the redemption period elapses.
If the domains are not recovered, auctioned, or kept by the registrar for their personal use, They will transcend into the Pending Delete phase. Once the 5 days expire, those domains will be released to the general public so people can register it as new.
So, what happens to these expired domains during these stages? We will be looking at it in the next section.
What Happens to These Expired Domains?
You may be wondering what happens to the expired domain names while they go through the different periods. Are they still working? Or are people still visiting the site? Or can the domain name become ineffective at the last second before it is yours? We will shine a light on these questions.
Before an expired domain enters the grace period, it is still very active, and people can still visit the website. But when it enters the grace period, it becomes inactive immediately. So, any service or activity on it or connected to it will stop being operational.
During this period, people might still be able to visit your site. But when it gets to the redemption period, a parked page will possibly replace your site. This happens so that people can’t adjust a site when the domain is being sold.
Now that you know what happens to expired domains, the next section will guide you on how to find these expired domains.
How to Find Expired Domain Names
You have options when it comes to finding expired domain names. Expired domain names that have less traffic are worthless.
So, it is vital to embark on a proper review of these domain names. Several software and platforms are available to make your search easy. Now, let’s take a journey to how you can find a domain name easily.
1. Check the domain name you like
I’m sure you have some names you would prefer for your website. So, to make the name work for you, it is necessary to do a quick check on WHOIS. Check for its existing owner, their contacts, and the date of registration and expiration.
Some registrars choose not to share information, so it is essential to verify the details of the site. So, to make the domain available, enter the company website and extract information related to the expired domain directly from the site.
2. Resort to domain registrars.
There are domain registrars that create new domains and extend their validity. You can directly access them. They keep the records of all the domain names in a specific registry and have the license to also sell extensions of domain names.
So, such platforms, as a rule, feature both the expiring and expired domains for auction. A registrar like FreshDrop provides a vast number of settings to select the top domain. For instance, you can pick the “Lifestyle” category if it is related to your niche.
Then, examine the results carefully and select the preferred domain to bid for or include it in your watch list.
Another registrar with the same workings is DomCop. It features both expiring and expired domains and how they rank. But the service demands you purchase a plan. This way, you can make the information relevant to the domain names available.
3. Go to auctions.
This is another platform that sells expired domains. But here, the price for every domain name is determined by the demand. Sellers at the auction estimate the cost of the domain and place a bidding price and timeframe on it.
Then, the buyers make their counteroffers until the most attractive asking price wins. Some auctions don’t do bidding. They place a fixed price on the domains. So, you can get one without bidding. But, the cost of the domain will be estimated based on the domain age, traffic, and niche.
To get a more correct result for domain extensions, use filters like high and low bid price, number of characters, expiration date, registration date, and some others.
4. Use marketplaces for domain names.
Several tools are available online that can help you in your search for expiring and expired domain names. A tool like ExpiredDomains.net lets you search for expired domain names and their costs. You can also select according to your niche.
Another popular and free tool is FreshDrop.net. It gives you exact results once you use any keywords to filter your search. But this tool uses plenty of SEO and traffic criteria to allow you to find the right domain names. But if you want to get a more preferable result, upgrade to a plan of $32.95 per month.
RegisterCompass is another software that allows you to find expired or deleted domain names. But, you will have to subscribe to its premium plan of $37 per month to gain access to the database records.
5. Web scraping and manual searches
Think of web scrappers as metal detectors. They can be browser extensions or advanced software. They automatically scrap the web for unique data like expired domains. They can access and scan web pages and deliver any information they find.
In the next section, we will examine some factors to consider when deciding to buy expired domains. Let’s get into it.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an Expired Domain
First, you must know that just because the price is right, it doesn’t mean the domain is. So, before you go ahead to purchase expired domains, you should carry out a proper inspection.
Let’s examine the factors that help determine the health of a domain.
1. Domain Age
The public database of WHOIS is the core of the Registry organization responsible for the Domain Name System. Among the information here are the domain age and the registrar’s contact information.
As a general rule of thumb, older domain names are more valuable, particularly when factoring in expired quality domains.
Their age can mean improved search discoverability, similar to old traffic and existing redirects. Sometimes, old traffic is not good. So, it is necessary to do an issue check for any domain you are planning to buy.
In essence, older domain marketplaces could have the domain you need. So, always check an old domain up for sale. You never can tell if you are seeing a pre-packed treasure house.
2. Google index
Before buying a domain, ensure that it is listed in the Google index. This is a library that keeps a copy of each Google visit to a web page and finds it relevant for users.
It is difficult to get a domain back up to standard in the eyes of the Google index. The best you can get is it will take a very long time to achieve. The worst is it might never happen.
You can use Google Cache to search for domain names. Google Cache is an online public tool that lets you identify the page version currently in its index. Here’s how to do that:
- Input cache:domainname.com in the search box.
- Click on search.
- A snapshot of the version of the site indexed will show.
Note: if the search gives no results, you might need to start conducting a thorough investigation on the domain.
3. Site traffic.
Checking the number of traffic of a domain when it is available is a great way to know how well it was doing before now.
Some registrars run some auction sites and also provide web hosting. So, they are the right people to post traffic numbers based on DNS search data and pages served on their auction listings.
4. Check content.
Ensure that you check the content type on a site’s former life. This is because the content can do damage or help you. So, to easily check the quality of traffic a recently dropped domain can generate for you, use the Wayback Machine. This machine can be found at the Internet Archive.
Here, you can browse any historical content version of a domain that has hosted a public site at one time.
The quality of a domain’s past backlink profile can help or affect you. So be wary of them and diligently check for them on your preferred expired domain.
Several tools are available to help you determine the quality of backlinks. They also assist you in discovering whether the expired domain name will be a good investment or not. These tools are Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Majestic.
Measuring the level at which a domain name influences the ranking of a site in search results is another way to determine its strength. The authority of backlinks can be responsible for this. It can also point to other elements at work in the ranking system.
When looking for a name that has high domain authority, it is necessary to know that you don’t have to search for a perfect domain authority. But if you want to get ahead of your competition, you can still prioritize it.
So, how do you buy expired domains? In the next section, we will answer the question.
How to Buy Expired Domains
In the previous section, you were armed with strategies to find expired domains. Now, be ready to learn the method to use to purchase an expired domain.
First, keep in mind that you are not the only one seeking to gain in this transaction. So, you need to know the best way to buy expired domains at a fair cost. Below are the several ways:
1. Domain auction platforms.
Here, the first step is to know your budget. This is because, at auction, different bidding prices can get you carried away. So, you end up paying beyond your budget because you are hungry for the pricy domain.
Know your budget for purchasing an expired domain and stick to it. The next step is to establish a bidding strategy. Moving beyond the usual bidding strategy of starting at a low bid price and bidding high at the right moment is good.
But, your strategy can have more inclusion. So, take into consideration the auction timing, number of bids, and domain status.
The auction timing is mostly neglected. Some auctions time end during a time of less demand or on weekends. This can minimize competition and boost your chances of success.
Another strategy you can apply is proxy bidding. This type of bidding lets you set the maximum bid ahead of time. It automatically increases the bid against others until the max is hit.
2. Checking domain expiry lists.
This is just as straightforward as it seems. But to benefit more from the expired list, you need to do some checks.
So, to discover the several levels of expiring domains, it is great to check the expiry lists. You can search the list at registrars, auction platforms, and other sources.
If you check, you can identify when a domain is about to expire and the exact phase it is in. The information gives you an edge in knowing when to buy or register it.
So, regardless of your timing of the discovery of the information, having enough information on domains is not all.
Putting domain windows into consideration for business plans, brand development, and reselling opportunities is even better.
So, checking the expiry list of domains provides you with surplus expiring domains. You can leverage it to get your target.
3. Domain backorder services.
Backorder services deliver the same result but with a bit of focus behind them. For instance, typically, you would be checking a list, identifying a domain, and knowing its status. But, here, you will be drawing a line and leaving it for hours.
So, with backorder services, you can pre-order expiring domains. You must know that back ordering, registrars, or platform service providers will try to order the domains when they expire. These services use automation programs to get the domain as soon as possible.
If there is a disagreement about an expired domain, it will enter a private auction. Then, the decision on who wins the domain will be made through bidding. So, whatever the case, as a failproof, it is vital to use backodering to get enough domain.
4. Negotiating with domain owners.
This approach is very rare compared to the others mentioned earlier. So, trying to negotiate for a domain can prove to be worth it. If you find someone has what you want, make an offer for it.
You can get the contact of domain owners through the WHOIS database. If this option doesn’t work, try their website.
On their site, the contact information is usually accessible. When the domain is in the grace period, you can have a word with the owner early.
The Benefits of Buying an Expired Domain
Let’s walk you through the benefits of owning an expired domain. This will give you the right motivation on what to do next.
1. Good domain names
When searching for expired domains, you can see the ones with noticeable attraction. They usually have convenient keywords on a trending topic. They are also found in common domain zones like .com, .org, and .net.
When you see these domain names at auction, you will think they are expensive. But they have no bids, and the sale will end soon.
The reason for this could be that the industry has not bloomed yet. But it won’t hurt to take a chance that one day it will.
As soon as an old domain drops for sale, always examine them. An expired domain of today can be worth top dollars in the future.
With that being said, the era of the domain gold rush is long gone. But people still pull domains that will accrue to them 20 times the amount they paid for the domain during the auction.
2. SEO benefits
The main attraction of any expired domain is the site’s history. This is because you are buying the expired domain to enhance your rankings on search engine results.
You can think of expired domains as worthy antiques bringing value from the past to the present.
So, an aged domain will rank high on search engine result pages. This result is from different SEO parts, like SEO keywords, headings, structure, and content relevancy.
Understanding SEO factors is your key to recognizing the real value of an expired domain. Several SEO keyword ranking tools can be used to check.
Also, consider a domain that has served relevant content to a niche market or to an established consumer type. This is because they might have been talked about on other sites.
So, with this, your site appearance will be improved, and Google can rank your site high. This is because the domain generates a strong group of backlinks. You must understand that a large number of backlinks are vital to the way Google ranks sites.
Several ways can be used to connect the history of a domain with good backlinks. An option is to redirect the visitors of the old site to the current one you are operating now.
If the niche is similar to the old site, those visitors might turn to your site for solutions to their needs later. If you see a 301 redirect, just be expectant that one day, search engine crawlers will put your page up to date with the rankings of the old one.
But also keep in mind that sometimes, the organic traffic from the expired and old domains won’t keep up. So, do not hope that it will actively improve your numbers without any added effort. Establishing a successful SEO structure on expired domains will require a bit of work.
4. Private blog networks (PBNs)
Several engaging ways of placing your expired domain sale to use are available. So, you can enhance your visibility in search results by building a network of interconnected content sites.
Think of it as owning a group of restaurants. These restaurants are named differently but under your management. So, each restaurant helps to advertise the others, especially the main one.
This can be done through paid promotions, flyers, and co-events. The purpose is to redirect traffic and improve value through cross-promotion.
Using the strategy of a private blog network is under scrutiny by Google and other search engines. They are on the watchout for sites that greedily arrange their own marketing.
5. Current traffic and user base
Let’s assume that you just invested in a football club that people have been visiting for years. A reliable football club with a trusted name, and they are among the highest contenders in the league.
So, for some reason, the previous owner chose to sell. Now, the name, history, and fans are in your hands.
So, when you buy an expired domain, it may be valuable to people already. This traffic can be good for you when creating your own site and maintaining or improving your SEO ranking.
6. Avoid building a new domain from scratch
Past user base and awareness that existed before can be of great value to your new domain ownership. So, the good news is that you can build a site without beginning from scratch.
Hostings that existed in the past can be game-changing. This is because you don’t need time to compare providers, locate servers, choose plans, and so on.
You can also leverage the promotion groundwork that helps to create the user base that is yours to work with now. These make things very easy. You can also look up some hosting plans in case of your new needs.
Cons of Buying Expired Domains
As with everything else, where there is a good side, there definitely Is the bad side of it. So, let’s examine the cons of buying an expired domain.
1. Risk of bad reputation
A lot of expired domains have been neglected due to wrong management or linked with illegal websites. So, ensure to verify the history of the expired domain name before you acquire it.
2. Existing visitors may be confused
Some of the visitors may be familiar with seeing one thing when they visit the site domain. But once they revisit and see a new blog or website, they can be surprised. So, to prevent confusion from existing visitors, consider advertising that the domain has been re-registered.
3. It can be expensive
Expired domains are mostly less expensive than new ones. But if you are bent on acquiring a specific expired domain name for your website or blog, be ready to pay more than what you planned to spend. This is because these specific domain names sometimes come with a high price tag.
What are Dropped Domains?
A dropped domain happens when the original domain owner is unable to re-register before the pending period begins. For instance, before a football player is sold, they first get dropped from the main team.
Once the domain is dropped, the next thing is that it will be regarded as a deleted domain. But if it happens by mistake, you forgot to renew your registration because you were busy or you missed checking your email, then you see your page saying your domain is expired. Fret not. You can still restore the domain. It is just a matter of time.
If your expired domain is a common TLD like .org, .com, .info, and so on, it enters the grace period. At this phase, you can renew it without a fine. The good thing about the on-hold domains is that they are blocked for transfer. So, this keeps your rental safe.
Let’s assume you missed this period and you haven’t re-registered. You can re-purchase your domain during the redemption phase as well. But this phase comes with a penalty, so be aware of this.
Can I purchase expired domains?
Yes, you can purchase expired domains. They go through three periods called a grace period, a redemption period, and a pending delete status. If the expired domain goes through the three stages, it will then become available for new registration.
Where can I purchase an expired domain?
You can buy expired domains from auction platforms or backorder services. The platforms let you make a bid on expired domains and grab them before they are up for general registration.
What do expired domains mean?
Expired domains simply are domain names that were registered but were not renewed beyond the first registration time. So, this expired domain can be re-registered, and someone else can take them.
Expired domains offer some pretty hidden benefits. The benefits include established link profiles and domain authority that can be used for different purposes.
Are Deleted Domains Similar to Expired Domains?
So as not to get these two terms mixed up, we will clear things up concerning them. So, think of their differences in this way.
Expired domains simply mean domains that are presently expiring and advancing through the redemption phase. They can also be put up for auction or placed in an instant marketplace.
Dropped domains can also be expired domains but at one stage of their expiry.
Deleted domains are domains with no buyer or re-registration. They have gone past the auction stage and are now at the pending deleted period. So, by this, the domain is not considered expired but deleted.
Don’t get confused about the word deleted. It does not mean literally. I mean, the deleted domain names are not deleted from existence. They are just sent back to the domain life cycle and can be put out to be registered like new.
Who owns a domain?
Use WHOIS or websites like Tucow or GoDaddy to check for the owner of a domain. Just input the URL or domain name, and you will see all the information relevant to that domain.
Is it legal to purchase expired domains?
Yes, it is totally legal to purchase expired domains. The owners of the domain receive emails to inform them to renew the registration of their domain name.
If they ignore it, it means they are no longer interested in it. So once the domain name goes through the redemption period, it will be put out for the general public.
It can be rewarding to buy expired domains in place of a brand-new domain if it is done the right way. So, understanding how to find expired domain names can ensure your success in landing a great domain name.
With every detail explored in this article, like the benefits, factors to consider when buying expired domains, how to buy, and so on, you can make a good decision and begin your online project well.
Buying expired or old domains can eventually become a great online investment. That is if you know what you need. Dropped domains can be either good or bad.
But, expired domains come with high domain authority, traffic, and useful backlinks. This boosts your website’s performance goals.
But, as mentioned earlier, expired domains can come with a bad history and suspicious previous owners. Thankfully, we have several tools and information we can use to help us find the right expired domain to use.
So, now that you have a firm knowledge of expired domains, it’s time to put on your magnifying glasses to uncover some digital gems that will boost your online project goals.