Dropped Domains vs. Expired Domains: What Are the Differences?

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People often get confused with the difference between dropped and expired domains. They’re usually used interchangeably, which adds more to the confusion. To put your mind at ease, we’ve finally put an end to this debate by comparing the two and what makes them different.

By the end of this article, you should be able to know which between dropped and expired domains to buy.

What Are Dropped Domains?

Generally speaking, dropped domains are expired domains. They’re way past their expiry period and revert to the public so a new user can buy them. Whenever you buy a domain, there’s generally a period until you can continue using the domain.

For example, you’re given 12 months to enjoy a domain name in exchange for a fee.  Once the period ends, it doesn’t automatically become a dropped domain. It will only be considered an expired domain until you renew it within the grace period. If you want to continue using the same domain name, you can pay for its renewal and enjoy it. 

But domain names get dropped once the renewal grace period lapses, and you haven’t done anything. 

What Are Expired Domains?

Expired domains, on the other hand, have reached the end of their subscription period. 

Let’s say you paid for a domain for 30 days. Once the 30 days have ended, your domain automatically expires. It’s only considered a dropped domain once you fail to renew the expired domain within a specified period. 

Comparison of Dropped Domains vs. Expired Domains

Let’s quickly compare the two to understand the difference between dropped and expired domains.  We’ve compiled some of the notable characteristics of the two, which should help you understand what happens when a domain expires

1. Availability

In general, expired domains are available immediately right after their effectivity ends. Once domains expire, there’s a grace period within which original owners can renew their websites. 

Alternatively, it can sell its domain name to potential buyers in the “pending delete” stage. 

But once the grace period expires, it becomes a dropped domain name. Most registrars would put the domain on their drop list, available to be bought by interested people. 

2. Cost

Buying a dropped or expired domain tends to be more expensive than creating a new one. This is because the domain usually has a good standing already and is affiliated with other sites. 

If you’re worried about the upfront costs, making your domain may be better. But if you’d ask us, the upfront costs are worth considering the instant traffic you can get for your site. 

Just be careful which domain name to choose and if the site is in good standing. 

3. Quality

The quality between expired and dropped domains can vary. Based on our experience, expired domains are usually better and have a better ranking than dropped domains. 

An owner may be willing to sell their expired domains if they no longer wish to continue with their site. On the other hand, dropped domains usually tend to be inactive from the beginning and go back to the registrar. This could mean that the site wasn’t active for too long or failed to achieve a good ranking. 

4. Authority

In our years of checking out expired and dropped domains, we’ve noticed that there isn’t much difference in their authority.

Expired domains usually have a good site rating, so some people are willing to buy them for a big amount. 

The same could be said of dropped domains; you just need to be careful of what to choose. 

Benefits of Buying Dropped Domains

You’re probably wondering if buying dropped domain names is a wise decision. After all, someone has already become a previous owner of the domain name you’re eyeing. Believe it or not, there are a lot of benefits to buying dropped domain names. 

We’ve listed some of them here, which should put your minds at ease that dropped domains are just as effective as any other domain name. 

1. Lower Cost

We can all agree that buying a brand-new domain can be very expensive. You have to go through many procedures, like choosing a catchy domain name that can set your website apart. It might not mean much to others, but this problem can cost you a lot of headaches if you want to top search results.

But when you buy dropped domain names, this should be the least of your problems. It’s a cost-effective method to pay for high-ranking domain names without registering a new domain! 

2. Faster Turnaround Time

Buying a new domain name can take some time, depending on the domain registrar you sign up for. It can take you several weeks or even as long as months! We’re sure you don’t want to go through all this headache, especially if there’s a better alternative you can do. 

Buying dropped domain names takes less time than registering a new one. You can reach your audience faster than you intended! 

3. Faster Ranking Time

Ever wondered how new owners of domain names land on the first page of search engines? The secret isn’t anything spectacular, and you can top someone’s Google search without buying new domains!

The only thing you have to do is buy a dropped domain name that already has a high traffic ranking. This cuts your job by half, and you don’t have to constantly worry about linking to an affiliate site. 

This should get you high search engine rankings without worrying about the complicated steps in domain name registration. 

4. More Cost-Effective Than Popular Domains

Save a few extra bucks, and consider buying a dropped domain name instead. You can choose from a wide range of domain names that can fit the particular topic of your business. Ideally, it should already have high domain authority, so you don’t have to worry about topping search engines. 

Nonetheless, you can always build your dropped domain with high SEO value. It will still be more cost-effective than starting from scratch.

Benefits of Buying Expired Domains

There are also numerous benefits when you buy expired domains. An expired domain name is just as effective as registering a new one, which can help you top search engines faster than you think possible. 

Let’s get straight to the discussion and talk about expired domain benefits

1. Established Authority

You were probably tempted to register a new domain similar to your competitors. This step is usually costly, especially since you’ll have to use similar keywords to attract a particular market. 

Why not buy expired domains instead? It mostly has a good domain ranking, which makes it a good investment for your business. 

Be quick because there’s a high market for buying expired domains that top search engines. 

2. Established Traffic

If you want more website traffic, finding expired domains can help you. When you buy expired domain names, you can ride on the existing traffic the domain already has. 

You don’t want to waste the high traffic an expiring domain receives. Just think of the potential audience you can reach without much effort! 

Plus, you can build private blog networks to gain more traffic in the open market. 

3. Higher Resale Value

Based on our experience, good domain names have a high resale value, especially when they’re close to their expiration date. 

Most of these domains already have a high trust flow score, which makes them an ideal pick for an aspiring site owner. You’ll already be part of existing traffic, which you can’t achieve with a new website. 

Just be sure to use a good dropped domain with a high domain status! Fair warning, competition is fierce when buying an expired domain, so you must be on your toes. 

4. Brandability

Building a private blog network can take some time. This task alone is very complicated, especially if website owners have set their minds to using certain keywords and phrases for their domains. 

Save yourself the headache and watch out for expired domains with good branding. 

You can be the proud domain owner of an expired domain with high marketability and profit! 

How to Find Dropped Domains and Expired Domains

To be honest, we were a bit surprised that there’s a market where you can find expired domains and dropped domains. 

Let’s look at where you can find them and get closer to reaching your audience. 

1. Domains Marketplace

The domains marketplace is a gold mine for high-ranking domain names that have been dropped or are close to their expiration date. 

Today, there are many reliable and established domain marketplaces you can check out to help you in your quest to find expired domains and dropped ones. Some of our favorites include the following:

  • Flippa
  • GoDaddy
  • Odys Global
  • Network Solutions
  • Sedo

Be sure to choose the right marketplace for you, especially if you seek a specific domain name for your niche. 

2. Online Tools

There are also many online tools out there that can help you find expired and dropped domains. You can choose from various domain names in a drop list by different domain registrars. 

Here are some online tools that can help you find dropped or expired domain names:

  • Domain Hunter Gatherer
  • DupliChecker
  • ExpiredDomains.net
  • Odys Global
  • WHOIS database

These websites can help you find expired domains to help build your business!

3. Automated Processes

In some cases, once a domain expires and the original owner fails to renew it, the website automatically ceases to exist. But while it’s still in the “pending delete” stage, it’s always up for grabs by the owner or other people. 

However, once the redemption period has lapsed and the domain names expire, it automatically reverts to the register as a dropped domain. 

How to Evaluate Dropped Domains and Expired Domains

You can choose from several expired and dropped domain names. It could be overwhelming initially, especially with how many dropped and deleted domains are up for grabs. 

But before you pick, you need to know a few important reminders before choosing your next domain name. This should keep you aware of the different dropped and expired domain risks!

1. Domain Age

First, you need to determine how long the domain name has been registered and by whom. 

We usually recommend going for a domain name that’s already been used for a long time. It mostly has a good citation flow, as well as page authority.

You can have a well-established website without wasting a lot of time! 

2. Domain Authority

You don’t want to buy the first expired or dropped domain name. Regardless of your niche, it has to be a website with a good ranking. 

This is a good sign that your site will be a success. 

We recommend using Ahrefs domain rating to check whether the expired or dropped domain name you are eyeing has a high ranking! 

This should give your website a good amount of traffic. 

3. Domain Branding

One of the big no-nos to buying an expired or dropped domain is if it has a bad reputation or uses unsafe content. 

This will be bad for your business and can affect your domain authority. 

Make sure to check your potential domain’s history and see if it has any bad records. If it does, you might have a hard time using Google Adsense.

As a tip, you can also check for its Google index status and if it suffered any penalties. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we leave with our parting words, we’ve answered some of the FAQs we get about buying dropped and expired domains. 

When Should I Buy Expired Domains?

Once a domain expires, you need to act fast because several people would be willing to buy a well-established and high-ranking domain. 

You can buy expired domains from a reliable marketplace before it reverts to the registrar when it gets dropped. 

Does Buying a Dropped or Expired Domain Save You Time?

You can save a lot of time buying an expired or dropped domain instead of developing your own.

In our experience, it can take several years to achieve a high website ranking. But with expired or dropped domains, you don’t have to start from scratch and build on existing ones. 

What if the Old Owner Wants Their Domain Back?

This is one of the risks involved with buying an expired or dropped domain. If the old owner wants to get their domain back, and you’ve already paid for it, they can always buy it back. 

Unfortunately, the old owner might have to pay a little more than they have in mind. At the same time, getting their old domain back depends on whether the new owner will allow it. 


If you’re in the market to find dropped domain names and expired ones, remember what we’ve shared in this article. You’ll have a lot of success finding and using dropped and expired domains in no time! 

This alternative saves you a lot of time and a few extra dollars. You can still have a high page authority without registering for a new domain name. 

We hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know in the comments which dropped and expired domains you’re eyeing. We’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Odys Global Founder and CEO

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