Domains »Domain Expiration
When does a domain expire?
When you registered your domain (e.g. yourgroovydomain.com) with WordPress.com, you purchased the right to use that domain name for a year. If you’d like to continue using it after the first year, you’ll need to renew it annually.
We strongly urge our users to renew their domains in a timely fashion because once they expire, it can be difficult to regain use of them — they aren’t necessarily released back into the pool of available domains, and you may not be able to re-purchase them. Choosing the Auto Renew option on your domain upgrade is the safest route, so you never have to worry about losing control of your domain. See Manage Purchases for more information.
If you haven’t selected the Auto Renew option, we will notify you of the upcoming expiration several times via email and messages on your blog’s Dashboard.
What happens when my domain expires?
Once a domain expires, it goes through a series of steps that make it increasingly difficult (and more expensive) to renew.
For most TLDs registered through WordPress.com, an expired domain falls into a grace period for about 10 days to two weeks. During this short window, the domain can be renewed at the regular price. If you experience difficulty renewing your domain during this time, go to the Help section. There will be a link to contact Support for further assistance.
After the grace period ends, your domain enters the redemption period, the length of which can vary. This means the domain name can still be renewed, but there is an $80.00 redemption fee required in addition to the normal renewal cost. (This is standard practice for domain registrars.)
It’s important to note that during the redemption phase, domains can be included in expired-domain auctions, where another party can bid on your domain name. If the domain is claimed by someone else in an auction, you will not be able to renew. If you made a payment in attempt to reclaim the domain out of redemption and were unsuccessful, you will get a refund.
If a domain is not redeemed by the original registrant and is not purchased at auction, the domain is usually then returned to the pool of available domain names and can be registered again on a first-come, first-served basis. However, it is common for back-order companies to wait for domains to be released and purchase them the moment they become available. There may also be another individual who likes the domain waiting to buy it.
This means that even if your domain is released, another party can purchase it before you get the chance.
Please note that WordPress.com is not notified whether or not a domain is auctioned off, nor will we be notified when the domain is released, so we can’t provide any advance warning.
Keep in mind that once your domain expires, it can be unavailable for up to 90 days. Once it goes back on the market, anyone can register it. You should never allow a domain to expire unless you are fully done with it and never want to use it again.