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How to Buy Expired Domains: Tips for Discovery

How to Buy Expired Domains: Tips for Discovery

Aleksandra Vukovic
May 29, 2024 • 6 min read

In the ever-evolving world of online business, securing the right domain name can be a game-changer. One often overlooked strategy for creating a strong digital brand foundation is purchasing expired domains. These are domains that previous owners have allowed to lapse, opening opportunities for savvy investors, creative entrepreneurs, or proactive brand holders. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the process of buying expired domain names, tips for discovering them, and the benefits and pitfalls of this approach.


What is an Expired Domain?


An expired domain is a domain a previous owner has not renewed, meaning it’s either no longer registered or proceeding through the expiration process. Domains typically have a registration period ranging from one to ten years. Some TLDs have different rules for registration periods; for example, an .AI domain can be registered for a minimum of two and a maximum of ten years. When the registration period ends, the owner must renew the domain to retain ownership. If the owner fails to do so, the domain enters a multi-stage process before it completes expiration and becomes available for purchase by anyone who wants to register it again.


The Expiration Process

Rules related to the expiration process might differ depending on the registrar and TLD. Here is an overview of the domain life cycle:

  1. Domain Ownership: The registration period can range from 1 to 10 years, depending on what the registrant (user who registers the domain) selects.
  2. Grace Period: After a domain’s expiration date, there is usually a grace period (typically 30 days, depending on the registrar) during which the owner can renew the domain without any additional fees.
  3. Redemption Period: If the domain is not renewed during the grace period, it enters the redemption period, which lasts about 30 days. During this time, the owner can still occasionally renew the domain, but with a penalty fee. Note that the domain is no longer under the registrar or reseller’s control during this period.
  4. Full Expiration: Following the redemption period, the domain enters a pending delete phase, lasting about five days. After this period, the domain becomes available for public registration.

Understanding these stages is crucial for timing your purchase effectively. Our detailed guide explains the expiration process in more detail. 


Potential Benefits of Buying an Expired Domain

Purchasing expired domains can offer several significant advantages over some other forms of domain acquisition:

  • SEO Benefits: Many expired domains come with an established backlink profile, which can enhance your website’s ranking because they still drive traffic and contribute to website SEO authority. Experience shows that Google occasionally sees older domains as more trustworthy and may rank them better, though this may vary from domain to domain. 

  • Branding Opportunities: You may find an expiring domain that perfectly matches your brand or niche, saving you the hassle of registering and promoting a brand-new domain.

  • Resale Potential: Domain investors purchase expired domains to resell them at a higher price, aiming to secure a profit.

While the benefits are enticing, evaluating each domain thoroughly is essential to avoid potential financial loss, as some expiring domains can be expensive to acquire, especially from popular auctions.


Potential Drawbacks of Buying an Expired Domain

When considering an expired domain, it’s important to be aware of potential drawbacks:

  • Bad Website History: It's crucial to check a website’s history before purchasing. One effective method is the Wayback Machine, which lets you view the website's content through screenshots taken on specific dates.

  • Potential Broken Backlinks: Backlinks associated with specific domains can affect SEO, so it’s advisable to check the backlinks of each domain. SEMrush Backlink Analytics is a handy tool for this purpose. Type the domain name into the search bar, and it will accurately check the backlinks for you.

  • Competition: Some expired domains can be more expensive than new ones due to their age and valuable backlink profile. When sold through auctions, bidding can significantly drive up their price. These high-value domains often attract many buyers, increasing competition and increasing prices.

Knowing these potential drawbacks, you can make more informed decisions when purchasing expired domains.


Discovering Expired Domains

Finding valuable expired domains requires the right tools and strategies. The most common method is through domain marketplaces and auctions. These platforms are essential for searching for and purchasing these kinds of domains. At Dynadot, there are three types of auctions where you can find them:

  • Expired Domain Auctions: When a registrant fails to renew a domain, it becomes available for auction after the grace and redemption periods end. Bidders have a 7-day window to place their bids, with the highest bidder securing ownership. If a bid is placed within the last 5 minutes, the auction end time extends by 5 minutes. You can use proxy bidding, which allows you to set a maximum bid, and the system will automatically bid on your behalf up to that amount. After winning, you have two days to pay and secure your domain.
  • Closeout Domain Auctions: If no bids are placed during the expired domain auction, the domain moves to the Closeout Domain Auction. Prices decrease daily:
    • Day 1: $30
    • Day 2: $15
    • Day 3: $5

This is a first-come, first-served system with no bidding. Listings are available for three days until the closeout period ends. Note that the fixed price does not include the domain renewal fee, which is added at checkout.

  • Domain Backorder Auctions: You can still acquire valuable domains past the renewal and redemption periods through backorder services. After these periods, domains enter a "dropped" stage and are re-released for public registration. A drop-catch or backorder service can register the expired domain on your behalf as soon as it becomes available, typically around 75 days after expiration. If your backorder request is the only one, the domain will be added to your account. If multiple requests are received, a backorder auction starts.


Domain Expiration Lookup Tools

With the Whois lookup tool, you can check the expiration status of specific domains and answer the question: When does a domain expire? Using this tool, you can obtain detailed information about a domain's expiration date, assisting in monitoring and planning your acquisitions. The Whois database can also provide the owner's contact information if the desired domain is not listed in an auction. You can then reach out to the owner directly to make an offer. 


How to Evaluate Expired Domain

As previously mentioned, old or expired domains may have backlinks that benefit your SEO. On our auction page, you can find a tab labeled "Links" - which indicates the number of backlinks associated with a domain. A backlink is a hyperlink on another site that directs users to the specified domain. This aspect is crucial for users leveraging these domains for SEO strategies or for building a strong foundation for a brand. A higher number of backlinks can also increase the value of a domain name. 

If you want to analyze the website’s backlinks for the expired domain, Ahrefs has an excellent backlink checker tool. If you don’t know how to check expired domains, Ahrefs is your go-to destination.

Dynadot's domain appraisal tool determines the domain’s value by evaluating domain memorability, length, keyword popularity, TLD value, historical aftermarket sales data, and search trends. Enter the domain name, start the appraisal, and get an estimate. The tool uses various criteria to provide a quick, accurate valuation, helping users confidently manage and sell their domains. For more details, visit Dynadot's domain appraisal tool page.

If you prefer not to use tools to evaluate expired domain names, consider domain length, geographical relevance, keywords, memorability, and other factors that can help you assess their value effectively. Finding similar domains that have sold in the past with aligning criteria can also be a helpful way to gauge a domain’s price.



Buying expired domains can be a lucrative venture if approached with the right strategy and knowledge. By understanding the process, utilizing the right tools, and conducting thorough research, you can discover valuable domains that enhance your search ranking or provide a profitable investment opportunity. Remember to be patient, set a budget, and always do your due diligence to ensure you make a wise investment.

For more information on finding and purchasing these domains, consider exploring resources and tools from popular domain marketplaces and lookup services. Happy hunting!

Aleksandra Vukovic
Content Marketing Associate

Comments (4)
May 30, 2024 11:19pm
nice blog!
1 Reply
May 31, 2024 6:36am
Thank you for your kind words! We're glad you enjoyed the blog. You're welcome to explore our other posts for more interesting content.
Jun 29, 2024 10:18pm
Hey fellow domain hunters! I recently stumbled upon, a fantastic tool for domain appraisals that I wanted to share with you all. If you're into expired domains like me, this tool is a game-changer. Here are a few reasons why: Accurate Appraisals: uses its own algorithm to assess domain value based on backlinks, name quality, social signals, rank, and more. It's super reliable! Godaddy Comparison: It shows both its own value and compares it with the Godaddy Appraisal tool. No more limits like you get on Godaddy – it's completely free and unlimited! Comprehensive Insights: Get detailed insights into each domain's worth, helping you make smarter buying decisions. Free and Unlimited: Did I mention it's free and unlimited? Evaluate as many domains as you want without hitting any caps. User-Friendly: The interface is clean and easy to use. Even if you're new to domain hunting, you'll find it straightforward. Give it a try and see for yourself. Happy hunting!
Jul 7, 2024 3:34am
There are several services where you can buy domains using cryptocurrencies. Here is one
Download the app:
Download the app: