Every domain owner must know about this: domain life cycle

It is often mistakenly believed that once a domain is purchased, it becomes the property of the buyer. This is not true! The domain is purchased only for a certain period (from 1 to 5 years), which can be extended at the end of the contract. Only as long as you pay for the domain does it belong to you – ie. you pay for the rights to use the domain name for a defined period. Please note: it is always important to carefully read and follow the Domain Procedural Regulation, the terms and conditions of the specific domain agreement and applicable laws in order to register the domain and keep its ownership in your hands for the duration of the agreement.

It is very important for website owners and their administrators, as well as people who want to purchase/register a new domain, to understand the life cycle of a domain. Knowing and understanding where a domain is in the cycle will help you make informed domain-related decisions when needed (eg when a domain is Active, possible transfers, renewals, etc.) and anticipate potential issues such as domain expiration and deletion.

To give you a better understanding of the domain life cycle, we provide a diagram of it and an explanation of each stage below in this article.


When a domain is available, it means that it is not registered and you can purchase it. As soon as you decide that the selected available domain is what you need – register it as soon as possible before someone else does.


When a domain is registered in the name of a natural or legal person, it becomes active, it cannot be acquired by others, unless the current owner of the domain agrees to transfer or sell it.

The domain registration process is usually quick and very simple. New domains are usually activated within a few hours, immediately after payment. However, there may be exceptions and the registration procedure may take some time:

It is necessary to mention that the domain name is registered only for a set period: the minimum period is one year, the maximum is 5 years (you will see the option when placing the order, but it does not apply to all domains). At the end of the domain’s validity period, you as the domain customer decide whether you want to extend it.


We recommend that you renew your domain well in advance of the expiration date, as once the domain expires, your website will no longer be accessible through that domain, and any emails associated with the domain will not be available, email addresses will no longer work.

In most cases, you will be contacted in advance before the domain expires (depending on the provider, but on average at least 45 days before expiration). Often, the domain is renewed automatically after payment of the bill, which is generated and automatically sent to the contact email.  Therefore, we recommend that you update your contacts when they change and set the domain to auto-renew if available. Please note that an expired domain cannot be transferred to another domain registration center. The good news is that once you renew your domain, it (and your email) will go back to ACTIVE status and you can move it if you need to.

If you still decide not to approve the domain renewal, it will become AVAILABLE after a certain period of time and can be purchased by others.


When a domain is not renewed in time (during the expiration period), it enters the redemption period, otherwise known as QUARANTINE. This usually takes 30 days (for most top-level domains, but there are exceptions: for example: .eu – 40 days, .com – after 90 days). During this period, your website, e-mail mail and domain-based services will not work.

Note: If the domain is in the redemption phase and you want to recover it, it is still possible! At this stage, there is normally an additional reinstatement fee which will be payable in addition to the renewal/extension price. We recommend that you contact the company where you registered the domain for the domain recovery procedure.


If the domain is not renewed by the end of the quarantine period, it enters the removal phase (it lasts only 5 days, in rare cases – up to 10 days). Currently, it is no longer possible to restore or change the domain status. The domain becomes freely available to anyone who wants to purchase and register this domain.

By understanding each stage of a domain’s lifecycle, you can effectively manage your domain and anticipate and prevent potential problems. The most important thing you should always remember if you want to keep your domain is to pay your domain renewal bill on time. This will not only save you money, but also reduce the risk of losing your domain.

Please note:

If you have additional questions, contact the ELNIS team.