This guide explains what happens when a domain expires. Most of the same information also applies when a domain is actively canceled.
In this guide
When you register your domain (e.g.
yourgroovydomain.com) with WordPress.com, you purchase the right to use that domain for as long as you keep the registration active.
- Domain registration terms are annual so your domain will need to be renewed each year.
- For a new domain registered with WordPress.com, the expiration date will fall annually on the date of purchase.
- If you transferred a domain from a previous provider to WordPress.com, the domain is automatically renewed for one year when the transfer completes. The expiration date is still based on the original registration date, not the date of the transfer.
- If you are not sure when your domain expires, you can check on your Purchases page.
We strongly urge our users to renew their domains in a timely fashion. Once they expire, it can be difficult or impossible to obtain them again.
- By default, automatic renewal is enabled on all purchases so you never have to worry about losing control of your domain.
- Expired domains aren’t necessarily released back into the pool of available domains.
- Additional fees may apply to recover an expired domain.
- In some cases, it may not be possible to recover or re-purchase domains.
We will notify you of the upcoming expiration several times via email (generally 30 days prior to expiration and again 5 to 7 days prior to expiration.) If your domain is not renewed, we will also notify you via email within three days after expiration. We will also display messages on your site’s dashboard.
These emails will be sent to the email address you provided as the registrant contact information, which may not be the same as the email address associated with your WordPress.com account.
Once a domain expires, it goes through a series of steps that make it increasingly difficult (and more expensive) to renew. The different steps are listed below:
For most TLDs registered through WordPress.com, an expired domain falls into a grace period for about ten days to two weeks. During this short window, the domain can be renewed at the regular price. If you experience difficulty renewing your domain during this time, you can contact support for additional help.
Some domains may be flagged to be placed into an expiry auction at the end of the Grace Period. During the Grace Period, the domains may still be renewed as normal. Once the Grace Period has ended, the domain will be in an active auction. This active auction period normally lasts two to three weeks. During the active auction, it is not possible to renew, transfer, or make any other changes to the domain. If a domain is not sold at auction, it will enter the Redemption Period.
When an expired domain is for sale in an active auction, there will be a notice indicating this status on the domain list page at Upgrades → Domains.
After the grace period ends, your domain enters the redemption period, the length of which can vary. This means the domain name can still be renewed, but there is an $80.00 redemption fee required in addition to the normal renewal cost. (This is standard practice for domain registrars.)
If you made a payment in an attempt to reclaim the domain out of redemption and were unsuccessful, you will get a refund. The redemption fee is non-refundable in the case of a successful redemption, should you decide to cancel the domain after it is redeemed.
Depending on the type of domain and when it was registered you might be able to redeem it yourself. If your domain has that option it will still appear on your Purchases page after it enters redemption, and clicking the Renew Now button will cause the redemption fee of $80 to be added to your cart automatically. You will not be able to renew the domain without paying that additional fee.
If your domain does not offer the option to redeem it yourself, it will be removed from your account when it enters the Redemption Period. In that case, please contact support for help redeeming the domain, and we will send you a link to make the required payment so we can recover the domain.
Please note that redemption fees are non-refundable unless the redemption process fails.
If a domain is not redeemed by the original registrant, the domain is usually then returned to the pool of available domain names and can be registered again on a first-come, first-served basis. However, it is common for back-order companies to wait for domains to be released and purchase them the moment they become available. There may also be another individual who likes the domain waiting to buy it.
This means that even if your domain is released, another party can purchase it before you get the chance.
WordPress.com is not notified if or when a domain will be released to be registered again, so we can’t provide any advance warning.
Keep in mind that once your domain expires, it can be unavailable for up to 90 days. Once it goes back on the market, anyone can register it. You should never allow a domain to expire unless you are fully done with it and never want to use it again.
If you would prefer to use your domain with a new host, do not cancel the domain registration. Instead, either connect or transfer the domain to a new registrar. There’s more information here.