How to Find and Buy Expired Domains

Staff Writer
Last Updated
February 9, 2024
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From strengthening your brand identity to increasing brand awareness and reach, finding the right internet domain can be crucial to the success of your new online venture. An internet domain refers to an address that allows users to enter and access your website and its content, but the catch is that each website needs to have its own unique link.

And as difficult as it already is to think of a memorable and catchy domain that captures the essence of your brand, this is made that much more challenging when you realize that other websites may have beaten you to the domain that you wanted. However, there might still be a way for you to have that perfect domain name.

What is an Expired Domain?

An expired domain is a domain that has already been thought of and owned in the past but has not been renewed in time by the previous owner, rendering it dropped and eligible for new ownership. You can think of registering a domain as a leasing agreement with the domain registrar, which means that it requires consistent renewal and that this renewal must happen before a certain expiration date.

Once the domain owner exceeds the expiration date, they enter a grace period where the owner can still renew their domain and retain ownership with the payment of some additional fees on top of the standard renewal fee.

After the grace period comes the redemption period, where the domain is finally put on hold status and the owner has one last chance to recover the domain before the domain is officially closed and it’s made available again to the public for purchase on a first come first serve basis.

How to Find Expired Domains?

There are many different ways to find expired domains. Here are some methods that you can try:

Domain Auction Platforms

Websites like GoDaddy, NameJet, DomCop, and more often include bidding events that gather users to compete for an internet domain. Each of these websites comes with different buyer costs and can have different amounts of domains available ranging from less than a million to tens of millions for you to browse through and choose from.

WHOIS Databases

These databases keep records of domain registrations from around the world, including their expiration dates, to help you identify potential domains that are about to expire or have already expired. 

Domain Registrar Auctions

Domain registrars often put expired domains into an auction that allows the public to bid on and acquire these domains. The starting bid for each domain will vary depending on the value, with high-value domains that are considered more desirable being much more expensive.

Manual Search Tools

Manual searching and web scraping tools like Octoparse, Parsehub, and Data Miner can also help you find expired domains by returning any information found on these websites.

How to Buy Expired Domains?

After finding an expired domain that you’re interested in, as well as doing your due diligence and researching more on its history and previous activity, here are some ways that you can purchase this domain:

Participate in Auctions

If the expired domain is being auctioned, participate in the event by placing bids. However, make sure that you establish a budget beforehand and that you’ve familiarized yourself with the auction date and duration, bid increments, and other information. Should you successfully win the domain, there will be other steps that you’ll have to complete before acquiring the domain.

Use a Backorder Service

Some domain registrars offer these services that allow you to express your interest in a domain that’s about to expire. Once the chosen domain has expired, the backorder service will attempt to purchase and register it on your behalf. Contact our expert SEO services for more information on this.

Contacting the Domain Owner 

In some rare cases, it may be possible to contact the owner of an expiring domain and extend an offer to purchase it from them. You’ll be able to find the domain owner’s information with the WHOIS database, including contact information like emails, contact numbers, and names.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using an Expired Domain?

Choosing to build your online presence with an expired domain can have both advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh these against your goals to figure out whether it’s the direction you want to take. Here are some of the benefits that you can look forward to!

Established Backlink Profile

Some expired domains may still have an established backlink profile from previous websites and content, which can contribute to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and help boost your domain’s authority.

Credibility and Trustworthiness

Search engine algorithms may perceive older domains as more trustworthy, especially when it has a history of producing high-quality content and positive online activity. This may help your efforts to improve your rankings on search engine results pages.

Existing Traffic

An expired domain could still be receiving traffic from existing links or bookmarks, which can give your new website a headstart in terms of audience engagement compared to those starting with a brand-new domain.

Brand Recognition

If the expired domain was used for a website that was well-known and highly regarded, this could translate to your online venture by offering instant brand recognition and credibility, especially among users who were well acquainted with the previous brand.

However, it’s important to remember that purchasing expired domains also has its drawbacks and disadvantages. Here are a few to keep in mind!

Content Relevance 

One of the benefits of using an expired domain is that it has already laid out some of the groundwork when it comes to search engine optimization, but this may do more harm than good when the content of the expired domain is aligned with a completely different theme than your current brand.

Domain History and Activity

Before purchasing an expired domain, it’s important to take a look at the history and activity of the previous brand. Any malicious activity, as well as legal or ethical controversies, may harm your brand down the line. This also includes any violations the domain may have against search engine guidelines.

Brand Confusion

As mentioned as one of the benefits, it can be beneficial for your brand to be associated with the previous owner of the domain, provided that its previous activities are similar to your own. Purchasing a domain that was used for an entirely different brand can confuse users.

Additional Costs and Fees

Domains have to go through several stages to be rendered dropped and expired, and the additional costs and fees that they may have incurred during this process may fall onto you as the prospective buyer. Take the time to evaluate these costs and whether or not they’re outweighed by the benefits.

The Takeaway

Expired domains are domains that have not been renewed by their previous owners and have been put on sale for the general public. There are many ways that you can search for and purchase these such as participating in auctions, scouring databases, and visiting database registrars.

While there are many benefits of using an expired domain such as the translation of existing SEO efforts and building off of the previous brand’s credibility and recognition, there are also potential drawbacks like dubious history and previous activity and additional costs and fees that need to be considered before buying an expired domain.

Supercharge your online presence with our expert SEO services and the strategic acquisition of expired domains. Our specialists leverage the authority within these domains to enhance your website's visibility, drive organic traffic, and boost search engine rankings. Whether you're reviving an existing venture or seeking established backlinks, our tailored SEO solutions provide the competitive edge you need. Elevate your digital strategy with us and unlock the full potential of expired domains. Transform your online presence today!

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