How do I register a domain name that is due to expire? 

If you have seen a domain name that you would like to register approaching its expiry date, there are some steps you can take to try and register it if the current owner does not renew.  

Firstly, you could consider using a backordering service. 

What is a backorder?

A domain backorder is a type of reservation you can place on a domain name that is already registered to someone else. You can place a backorder at any time for a domain name that is taken. 

If the domain name is not renewed by its current owner and becomes publicly available at the end of its lifecycle, your registrar will attempt to immediately register the domain name for you at the point of deletion. This immediate attempt to register the domain name on your behalf is often called domain snapping or drop catching in the industry. 

Typically, people use these services to attempt to secure domain names they feel are valuable but are already registered. 

What should I do if I want to place a backorder?

You should contact a registrar that offers a backordering service (if you already have a domain name registered you should check with your current registrar to see if this is a service they offer).  

Whilst you can place a backorder for a domain name at any time, the domain name must have completed its full lifecycle before the service will attempt to re-register the domain on your behalf. This means the backorder will not actually complete until 95 days after the expiration date of the domain. Once this period is complete and the domain name has been deleted, the backordering service will then try to register the domain name instantly at the point of deletion.

Does a backorder guarantee me success?

Whilst the registrar that takes your order will make every effort to secure the domain name for you, no backorder is guaranteed.  

The current registrant of any .UK domain name could renew it any time up until 90 days after the original expiry time. If they do renew the domain name during this period, any backorders placed will be unsuccessful as the current owner has chosen to retain the domain name. 

If a domain name is particularly desirable it is likely multiple people will place backorders for the same domain name. Only one backorder can be successful per domain name. The winning backorder will be whichever order is placed with the registrar who is able to re-register the domain name quickest once it has been deleted.

What if I choose not to use a backordering service?

If you would prefer not to use a backordering service to register a domain name that is currently taken, you can try to register it yourself once it has completed its full lifecycle and been deleted. If there are already backorders placed against the domain name by others, it is unlikely this method will be successful. 

Your registrar can help you find out more information on the timings you’ll need if you wish to attempt to register a domain name without placing a backorder. 

Nominet publishes a daily drop list featuring every domain name that is more than 30 days past expiry. The list also shows the exact date and time each domain name will become available.

Want to check the expiry date or registration status of a domain name?

Use our domain lookup tool