Expired Domain Risks: A Complete Guide

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Investing in expired domains can be both beneficial and risky.

You could harm your business reputation and SEO efforts without properly understanding the risks.

So if you plan to buy expired domains, read on and find ways to mitigate any risks or, most importantly, avoid them at all costs!

What Happens to Expired Domains?

When a domain expires, it goes through stages before it becomes available to the public.

During this redemption period, the original owner is given a grace period to regain control and access the domain names before they fully expire.

Then redemption period commences. At this point, the registrar contacts the register with a delete request.

If a domain expires and it doesn’t get renewed, the domain may be auctioned off to the highest bidder or released to the public for registration.

Before being made available on an expired domain’s marketplace, it enters a pending delete period and is placed on a domain drop list.

Once dropped domains become available for registration, domain investors can register and use the data they have spent their money with for their own website.

Risks of Acquiring an Expired Domain

Let’s understand how buying, suspension, and a negative SEO become potential dangers once domain names expire.

1. Buying a Domain With a History

The domain’s history may include negative factors, such as spammy backlinks, penalties, or even a previous association with illegal activities.

For example, suppose the previous owner used black hat SEO techniques to sell their business more artificially.

In that instance, the domain may have gathered a lot of low-quality backlinks, which could risk your website’s reputation and visibility.

2. Domain Suspension by Search Engines

Search engines, such as Google, have strict policies to ensure that business accounts or domains provide high-quality and up-to-date content to users.

If a website violates these guidelines, or if there’s any malware or other security issues, it may be suspended – worse, penalized by law firms.

3. Negative SEO

Negative SEO is a cruel practice that damages other businesses’ websites’ search engine rankings and company reputation.

This is often used by unscrupulous accounts seeking an unfair advantage in search engine rankings or triggering penalties.

Identifying Risks Before Acquiring an Expired Domain

Acquiring expired domains can be a practical option; however, it should come with caution, as several risks may emerge later.

1. Checking the Domain’s History

Even with any top-level domain, it’s crucial to thoroughly investigate its history.

This gives you insights into its previous use, penalties, and potential legal issues.

Your company may use archive.org, a digital Internet archive that stores data of expired domain names.

2. Checking the Domain’s Backlinks

Any domain names’ backlink profiles refer to the links pointing to the domains of other businesses.

These links help determine the domain’s search engine rankings and online authority.

Backlinks from domains with useful material and a solid internet reputation are considered high quality.

Otherwise, it is a low-quality backlink.

3. Running a Domain Health Check

A domain health check involves examining the domain’s search engine visibility and locating any possible algorithmic modifications.

Ensure it has an up-to-date and verified email account (with a strong password) and that two-factor authentication is enabled to avoid risk.

Mitigating Risks After Acquiring an Expired Domain

Here are steps for new owners or business accounts to mitigate expired domain name risks.

1. Removing Suspicious Content

Eliminate questionable content by deleting the pages, rewriting the content, or implementing the best SEO and content optimization practices.

Know that hackers purchase domains in bulk and set them up with parked pages to drive traffic to harmful links, transmit malware, or steal a few dollars through your credit card data.

2. Disavowing Links

To disavow links, you can use the Disavow Links tool in Google or any third-party tool to identify potentially harmful domains.

3. Creating Fresh Content

You may conduct keyword research to find relevant topics and search queries and then employ optimization strategies to ensure the content is engine-friendly.

You may also use any social media accounts and other advertising online services.

Expiration Date Consequences

Once top-level domains expire, they become available for search marketers to re-register or purchase.

Apart from knowing auction domains vs expired domains, anyone interested in acquiring an old domain must understand the potential consequences of its service.

1. Lost Traffic

If the domain was previously used for a website with a significant online presence and search engine rankings, its expiration could cause it to drop out of search results and lose traffic.

In this case, it can be challenging to regain that same level of traffic and engagement with a new website or business content.

An example is an abandoned domain previously used for a niche, business, or other services.

2. Reduced Brand Recognition

If the expired domains were previously associated with a brand or account, the account takeovers would lead to losing business recognition, visibility, and money.

Customers may need clarification once they try to gain access to the expired domain’s website accounts and find its services unavailable or under new ownership.

3. Reduced Search Rankings

Search rankings may happen in cases where the wrong hands did not enable auto-renew or did not make it to the renewal grace period.

Also happens when inactive domains expire.

4. Poor User Experience

This happens when a new domain owner does not take care of and ensure seamless services for users — like the presence of broken links, irrelevant content, or false free services.

This can also be triggered by domain names previously used in spamming or phishing websites.

Tips for Reducing Expired Domain Risks

Now that you have gained access to an old domain name, it’s essential to take precautions to lessen the potential risks that come along with it.

1. Monitor Domain Expiration Date

By keeping watch on the expiration date, you can boost your chances of acquiring old domains before they expire or sell on the dark web.

Utilize tools that notify you when a domain is about to expire.

2. Automate Domain Renewals

Enabling auto-renewals ensures you don’t lose control of your domain and prevent spammers from acquiring confidential documents.

This also prevents accidental domain expiration due to new domain owners’ errors.

Most domain registrars do this by allowing customers to attach credit card info to pay and renew automatically.

3. Use Domain Management Tools

These tools provide valuable insights into your domain’s health and performance, monitor your domain’s backlinks, identify bad actors, and disavow them.

This also secures confidential information (usually from linked email accounts) in expiring domain names.

4. Register or Renew Your Domain for a Longer Term

When you pay to renew old domains, it shows search engines that you are dedicated to the long-term success of your online service and to keeping a top-level domain.

In cases where you have to let your domains go, you should also close email accounts linked to them to avoid further risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about the possible risk or risks once domains expire.

How Can I Check Whether a Domain Is Expired or Expiring?

You can simply enter the domain name you are interested in and view the information from your website’s registrar.

Once it passes the expiration date, it enters into the renewal grace period, during which the domain registrars forward it to a parking page.

It’s also good to check the difference between dropped domains vs. expired domains to avoid any confusion 

How Can I Renew an Expired Domain Name?

Renewing domain names can typically be done through the domain registrar where it is registered.

If the domain has recently expired, you may be able to renew it by simply logging into your account with the registrar and following the prompts to renew it.


Once you buy a domain that’s expired, it’s important to consider its benefits and risks.

Similar to how it offers a good backlink profile and potential traffic, it might also have a history of issues that could harm rankings, business awareness, and user experience.

Odys Global Founder and CEO

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