How to Acquire an Expired Domain

A domain name is an identifier of a website that follows the protocol of the Domain Name System. Every website on the Internet has a domain name that is controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. Some domain names are more memorable and in higher demand, but ICANN works on a first come, first served basis. After 1 to 10 years, registered domain names expire and go through a release process. If the owner of a domain name forgets to renew or chooses not to renew, the name becomes available to the highest bidder. Anyone can acquire an expiring domain name once it is released.


  1. Image titled Acquire an Expired Domain Step 1
    Understand the stages of domain name release.
    • Domain names are not available on the day they expire. Registrars will often wait 40 days before ejecting the previous owner and then hold the name for another 30 days or so in hopes the owner will renew. The actual release date, then, can be quite difficult to track and requires extreme diligence.
    • Once the domain name is actually dropped, the registry releases the names for only a few unscheduled hours.
  2. Image titled Acquire an Expired Domain Step 2
    Purchase a program to obtain accurate drop information on various domains.
    • Search the database for expiring names and select one you would like to register for yourself. Usually this involves entering keywords for domain names, but you can also enter the exact domain name for which you are looking. For example, if you are interested in acquiring a domain name with the word "raisin" in it, type "raisin" into the search box. A list of all expiring domain names that contain the word "raisin" will appear.
    • Find out when the domain name is scheduled to drop by frequently checking the database for changes in the domain's status.
  3. Image titled Acquire an Expired Domain Step 3
    Back-order the domain name from its registrar site.
    • There are websites that allow users to back-order domain names. The domain name you want to register may or may not be on one of these sites. You should check just in case. Customers can back-order domain names before they expire. This situates them on a list and the domain name is offered upon expiration.
  4. Image titled Acquire an Expired Domain Step 4
    Hire a drop catcher, or shark, to snatch your domain once released.
    • Sign up with a major drop catcher. These services do the work of domain name bidding for you by flooding the system with multiple requests. The various shark services charge fees that range from 10 dollars to more than 100 dollars depending on the specific service you request.
    • Participate in a domain name auction if more than 1 person wants your domain. The customer who bids the highest is given the expired domain.


  • Hiring more than 1 domain shark increases your chances of receiving the domain you desire.
  • If you are not adamant about acquiring a specific expiring domain name, back-order services are usually sufficient.

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Categories: Internet