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Learn about domain life cycles, from registration to deletion, for gTLDs and ccTLDs. Find out how domains become available and make smart online choices.
Understanding the Domain Life Cycle

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? We know this journey as the domain life cycle, a path that extends from the moment of registration to the point of renewal / dropped. But, it's important to note that this journey is not uniform across all domains.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) plays a pivotal role in shaping the domain landscape. ICANN establishes rules for generic top-level domains (gTLDs). But, country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have their own regulations.

ICANN ensures that gTLDs adhere to a specific framework for domain life cycle policy. This ICANN domain cycle policy improves consistency and understanding.

In contrast, ICANN grants ccTLD registries the authority to develop their own policies for domain life cycles. Each country's ccTLD registry can develop unique procedures for its region. This leads to a diverse online landscape. Different policies for ccTLDs pose challenges and opportunities in handling domain life cycles.

In this blog, we will 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 domain lifecycle. Let's embark on this expedition into the domain world and unveil its intricacies together!

Domain Registration

A domain name starts with registration, an important step that sets the groundwork for its online presence. However, the domain registration process differs between gTLDs and ccTLDs. gTLD registries provide transparency by publishing domain status in 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. We know this time frame as the add grace period. This period is important because it allows for the reversal of the registration process if needed.

Domain registries for gTLDs allows a least registration period of 1 year and a most of 10 years. During this duration, registries must include domains in the zone files- the active domains list that they publish.

The landscape shifts regarding 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 source guarantees that our newly domains dataset can access most gTLD domains within a day of registration.

The scenario varies significantly for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). We collect data on newly ccTLD domains using different methods since there is no official way to access it.

The dataset of our newly registered domains includes domains registered within a 4-month window. This inclusive approach also covers ccTLDs that don't publish essential registration details within their WHOIS records. Our crawlers ensure that only genuinely newly registered domains make it into the dataset.

Domain Expiry and Redemption Stages

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. Before the domain's expiry date, there is usually a 45 day auto-renewal period at a standard renewal price.

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. Domain registries vary in their policies and expiration mechanisms. This depends on whether they are gTLDs or ccTLDs.

Following domain expiry, a redemption grace period of 30 days typically follows. This period provides the domain owner with an opportunity of domain renewal. However, it's worth noting that the redemption period usually comes at an additional fees beyond the standard renewal fee.

When a domain enters the redemption period, its website and email services become inactive. During this period, registries remove the domain from zone files. This means visitors could have trouble reaching the website or accessing email services linked to the domain.

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 system queues the domain 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. As the redemption period precedes the pendingDelete phase, a lot of our expired domains fall within the redemption period.

Use the expiry date, update date, and life cycle periods to predict when domains in our expired domains list will drop. ccTLDs present challenges in predicting drop dates because they're diverse. Their diversity do not only extend across registries but also within registrars. However, it's certain that all domains on the expired list are close to 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 become available for anyone to register again. Domains in the pendingDelete status cannot renew, restore, or transfer to another owner. They are waiting for removal, and then the domain will become available for new registration.

We locate dropped domains using advanced algorithms and specialized crawlers. Our tools cover both global and country-specific internet domains. In fact, we're proud to share that our algorithms secure approximately 95% of these domains within a few days of their drop.

Our algorithms leap into action as soon as a gTLD domain drops. We quickly and accurately search for available domains and ensure that we capture most of them without delay. This swift response enables you to stay ahead of the curve in 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.

When you learn about domains, it's important to know their life cycle. This helps you make smart choices and ensures your online presence grows successfully.