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Domain Names 101

The domain name life cycle

When you buy a domain name from a registrar, you are usually given the option to specify how many years you want to register it in your name. As that period nears its end, a series of stages occurs which ends in the domain name being "deleted".

Domain name life cycle diagram

Domain Expiration. When you register a domain name, you choose the amount of time you would like to register it for, such as 1 year, 3 years, 10 years or more, depending on the Registrar. You can find out more about buying expired domain names here.

Grace period. After your domain name expires, you may still reclaim it up to 40 days after expiration. You can renew your domain name at regular prices, but web users will not be able to see your website during this time.

Redemption period. After the grace period, you have up to 30 days to contact the registrar and retrieve your domain name. The registrar will charge a fee in addition to the registration renewal costs.

Pending delete. During the five day pending delete phase after the end of the redemption period, the domain name is locked and cannot be registered or renewed. The Registry that manages the domain name has it on hold, and it will be deleted from the Registry at the end of this 5 day hold.

Deleting/Dropping. After the five day deletion process, the domain name becomes available to individuals or companies whose business is to "catch" the dropping names for their customers. SnapNames is one of the first and most successful dropcatching companies in the domain industry. You can read more about deleting domain names and how dropcatching works.

SnapNames offers ways to acquire domain names that are currently registered to other people, or are in the expiration or deleting process. When you are ready to begin, you can find a domain name now.

Why are domain names important?

Because domain names allow people to find your business or group online, it's important to choose the right one. Domain names are unique — there aren't two "www.google.com" domain names — and there is a limited quantity of good, short, easily recognizable ones.

Another factor that makes domain names important is the prevalence of mobile devices. Many people are more likely to search the web for a coffee shop in their zip code than they are to call information or even check the phone book. Even when they know which coffee shop they're going to, they may check the hours online before they would call the business itself, or to find the address and map out the best route there.

Why do I need a domain name?

Domain names are necessary for people starting their own businesses, or seeking to promote a business they already have. By establishing and growing an online presence, your business has the potential to reach millions more people than it would without a domain name.

How many people will type a domain name directly into their browser's location bar, expecting to find relevant content? This "primary traffic" is highly targeted and offers the highest conversion rates. Smart businesses buy as many relevant domain names as possible to help lead searchers to their site, rather than paying (again and again) for every click to search engines.

Branding. Another key driver of interest in domain names is the need by companies of all sizes to effectively develop—and protect—their online brand. Smart companies not only buy their core brand name in each major TLD (e.g. .com, .net, .org, etc.) but each of the typos and close variations of their brand names.

Parking. "Parking" domains refers to the practice of using a domain name as a billboard for advertising, and earning money for each visitor that comes to that website and clicks through on an ad. It's very easy to do, and the right domain names can earn a great deal of money. Smart buyers search for pre-owned domains that.

  • Were developed earlier by a company that has since gone out of business
  • Have residual live links from search engines and directories
  • Have natural type-in traffic because they are made up of typical search keywords

Investing. Domain names are the "real estate" of the Internet, and as such, are steadily increasing in value as the most desirable locations become more scarce. As the strategic importance of an online presence rises for business the world over, the price for a good domain will continue to rise in kind.