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Understanding the Domain Life Cycle


In the dynamic realm of the internet, domain names are the cornerstones of digital identity. Whether you're establishing an online business or crafting a personal blog, domains are your virtual address. But have you ever wondered about the journey these domains undertake? This journey is known as the domain life cycle, a path that extends from the moment of registration to the point of renewal/dropped. However, it's important to note that this journey is not uniform across all domains.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) plays a pivotal role in shaping the domain landscape. While ICANN implements policies that govern the domain life cycle for generic top-level domains (gTLDs), it's a different scenario when it comes to country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). For gTLDs, ICANN ensures a standardized framework for the domain life cycle policy, ensuring consistency and predictability.

In contrast, ICANN grants ccTLD registries the authority to develop their own policies for domain life cycles. This leads to a diverse landscape where each ccTLD registry can establish unique procedures tailored to the needs of their specific region or country. This variability introduces both challenges and opportunities, as domain life cycle policies for ccTLDs can differ significantly from one registry to another. In this blog, we're set to uncover the enigma surrounding this process, with insights powered by WhoisFreaks. As your reliable source of domain data, WhoisFreaks is here to shed light on each phase of the life cycle. Let's embark on this expedition into the domain world and unveil its intricacies together!

Domain Registration

The journey of a domain name begins with its registration, a pivotal stage that lays the foundation for its digital presence. However, the domain registration process differs between generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). To provide transparency and insight into a domain's status, gTLD registries are mandated to publish the domain status within WHOIS responses. This practice facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the domain's current state.

During the initial registration phase, domains assume the addPeriod domain status, a state that typically lasts around 5 days. This time frame is known as the add grace period. Importantly, this period serves as a buffer during which the registration process can be reversed if necessary.
Domain registration for gTLDs allows a minimum registration period of 1 year and a maximum of 10 years. Throughout this duration, domains must be included in zone files, active domains list published by registries.

The landscape shifts when it comes to ccTLDs. Unlike gTLDs, there's no uniform life cycle policy for ccTLDs. Each ccTLD registry crafts its own domain life cycle, resulting in a diverse array of practices. Some ccTLD registries might not even publish basic registration information, such as the creation date and domain status.

At WhoisFreaks, we're committed to providing accurate and up-to-date domain data. For gTLDs, we source domain data directly from the zone files published by registries. This official source ensures that most of the gTLD domains in our newly registered domains dataset are available within a day of initial registration.

However, the landscape is different for ccTLDs. With no official channel for accessing newly registered ccTLD domains, we've leveraged a variety of algorithms and crawlers to retrieve this data. Our newly registered domains dataset includes domains that have been registered within a 4-month window. This inclusive approach also covers ccTLDs that don't publish essential registration details within their WHOIS records. Our sophisticated algorithm ensures that only genuinely newly registered domains make it into the dataset.

Domain Expiry and Redemption

As the digital clock ticks, domains inevitably encounter the crucial juncture of expiry. This phase is a critical point in the domain life cycle that warrants attention and action. For both gTLDs and ccTLDs, domain expiry marks the end of the registration period. When a domain expires, it enters a precarious state, as it becomes susceptible to various outcomes. It's important to note that the policies and mechanisms surrounding domain expiry can vary between gTLDs and ccTLDs due to the diverse nature of their registries.

Following domain expiry, a redemption period of 30 days typically follows. During this phase, the domain is placed in a grace period. This period provides the domain owner with an opportunity to renew the domain. However, it's worth noting that the redemption period usually comes at an additional cost beyond the standard renewal fee. One crucial impact of the redemption period is that as the domain transitions to "redemption" status, the domain's website and email services become inactive. This is because the domain is removed from zone files during this period. As a result, visitors might not be able to access the website associated with the domain, and email services linked to the domain might not function as usual.

Following the redemption period, the domain enters its final status, pendingDelete. This stage lasts for 5 days, marking the conclusion of the domain life cycle. During this period, the domain is queued for deletion and eventual re-release for registration by new users.

For gTLDs, our expired domains list includes domains in the redemption period or pending delete. Given that the redemption period precedes the pendingDelete phase, a substantial portion of our expired domains fall within the redemption period. You can leverage the expiry date, update date, and life cycle periods to predict the drop date for domains in our expired domains list.ccTLDs present challenges in predicting drop dates due to their diverse periods, extending not only across registries but also within registrars. However, it's a certainty that all domains on the expired domains list are poised near the drop threshold.

Domain Deletion and Availability

As the domain life cycle winds down, we arrive at a crucial moment: domain deletion and the chance for new beginnings. This phase marks the transition of domains from their past lives to fresh opportunities. Deleted domains gradually become available for anyone to register again. When in the pendingDelete status, domains can't be renewed, restored, or transferred to another owner. They're in a sort of holding pattern, waiting to be fully removed and then domain is available for fresh registration.

We've harnessed the power of advanced algorithms and purpose-built crawlers to swiftly identify dropped domains in both the gTLD and ccTLD realms. In fact, we're proud to share that our algorithms secure approximately 95% of these domains within just a few days of their drop. When it comes to gTLDs, our algorithms leap into action as soon as a domain drops. With speed and precision, we scan through the freshly available domains and make sure that we capture the majority of them within a remarkably short time frame. This swift response enables you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to snatching up valuable domain names.


In the ever-evolving digital domain, understanding the life cycle of domains is essential. From registration's inception to deletion's closure, each phase carries significance. The journey varies for gTLDs and ccTLDs, and domain availability presents unique opportunities. As you delve into the realm of domains, remember that grasping their life cycle empowers informed decisions, ensuring your digital presence thrives from start to finish.