Contrary to popular belief, domains do not expire when they say they do. If the Person who Originally registered the domain does not renew by the expiration date of the domain, the domain goes into “expired” status.

For 40 days, the domain is in a grace period where all services are shut off, but the person who registered the domain  may still renew the domain for a standard renewal fee. If a domain enters this period, it is a good first indicator that it may not be renewed, but since that person can re-register without penalty, it can also just be a sign of laziness or procrastination.

After 40 days are up, the domain’s status changes to “redemption period”. During this phase, all WhoIs information begins disappearing, and more importantly, it now costs the Person who registered  it an additional fee to re-activate and re-register the domain. The fee varies depending on the registrar. When a domain enters its redemption period, it’s a good bet the person who registered it has decided not to renew.

Finally, after the redemption period (A further 30 Days ), the domain’s status will change to “locked” as it enters the deletion phase. The deletion phase is 5 days long, and on the last day between 11am and 2pm Pacific time, the name will officially drop from the ICANN database and will be available for registration by anybody.

During this phase its when the ‘Cyber Squatters’ are most likely to take over your domain name and register it with the aim of selling it back to you for a humongous fee if and when you need it back.

The entire process ends exactly 75 days after the listed expiration date. For an even more detailed explanation, read the article Inside a Drop Catcher’s War Room.