What Is A Dropped Domain?

Domain flipping can be a lucrative revenue stream for those with the patience to partake. And one of the key techniques of successful domain flipping involves catching ‘dropped’ domains.

But what exactly is a ‘dropped domain’? In this article, KnownHost explains what they are, how they can influence the domain flipping process, and some advantages that could drastically boost income.

What is a Dropped Domain?

When a previously registered domain expires without being renewed, it is considered a ‘dropped’ domain.

However, before the domain becomes dropped, it has a 30-day grace period, in which its current owner has a chance to renew the domain. Once those thirty days pass, the domain becomes available to the public on the open market.

After the 30-day period ends, each domain is given a specific drop date and added to a ‘drop list’. While many of the domain names on this list are poorly optimized and of little value, there is a chance that a valuable domain could be dropped and become available for purchase.

KnownHost provides a dedicated and fully-managed domain registration service to help customers register domains quickly, effectively, and securely. Try it out now!


What Are the Types of Dropped Domains?

There are various iterations of dropped domains that can be found at different stages during their expiry process. Below are several common types of dropped domains:

  • Less Than 30 Days After Expiry – During the 30-day grace period after a domain expires, it is kept on a ‘drop list’ while only the owner has a chance to renew it. However, this is often at an increased cost for missing the renewal deadline.
  • More Than 30 Days After Expiry – If a domain is not renewed after more than 30 days after expiry, its owner is stripped of any rights of ownership over that domain, and it becomes available for anyone to purchase on an open market.
  • A Domain That Failed to Sell at Auction – Some dropped domains find themselves being sold at auctions (usually those that are particularly sought after), however, some will still fail to sell. When a dropped domain fails to sell at auction, it is placed back on the domain registrar and is made available to the open market where anyone can gain control of it via the typical domain registration process.
  • Deleted Domains – Dropped domains in this category have been erased from the domain registrar entirely. There is no longer a record of this domain’s existence. The domain name can still be re-registered as any normal domain name would.

What Are the Pros of Buying Dropped Domains?

When it comes to dropped domains, there are several positive benefits they can provide to prospective website owners:

  • Dropped domains tend to rank faster in search engines as they often already have an existing flow of traffic to the domain and other valuable signals such as backlinks. A new owner can tap into that value.
  • Dropped domains often sell for a lower price than popular registered domains, as they aren’t being sold by existing owners to make a profit.

What Are the Cons of Buying Dropped Domains? 

While there are several benefits of buying dropped domains, they also present potential challenges. Below are some of the drawbacks of buying dropped domains:

  • Sometimes domain owners can artificially inflate domain traffic statistics to encourage people to buy their domain. This is also the case with some dropped domains, and unfortunately, this means some dropped domains will be deceptively expensive.
  • Sometimes dropped domains have poorly-optimized names, which are hard to remember or contain unusual characters. While some of these domains are diamonds in the rough, it is important to assess them by strict criteria to properly identify whether these domains are worth purchasing or not.

For more information on domain name value and making a profit through domain flipping, check out our helpful guide!

How Do You Know If a Dropped Domain is Valuable or Not?

It’s worth determining exactly how much value a particular dropped domain may offer to judge whether it is worth trying to catch.

The best way to do this is by assessing the domain against well-defined and strict criteria, such as the following:

  • First, manually review the domain link to ensure it still exists. It’s essential to understand if a website domain is live or simply redirects to another domain.
  • It’s also important to check the domain isn’t blocklisted by search engines. This is to ensure it can be used instantly and monetized immediately, as opposed to going through the process of getting a blocklist appeal.
  • Next, it’s important to ensure the domain has a high search traffic volume. The higher the keyword search volume, the higher price a seller can demand.
  • While an older domain isn’t necessarily any more valuable, it can indicate quality. Domains that have existed for longer may have greater brand awareness or more external hyperlinks, which can be beneficial to search performance and traffic.
  • If a name is shorter and doesn’t have hyphens or symbols, it’s easier to remember and can lead to greater traffic. A higher search volume therefore often drives up the price.
  • If a domain name is registered in multiple extensions (i.e. ‘.com’, ‘.org’, or ‘’.), it suggests it is highly sought after. This also means other owners of similar domains may be interested in paying a higher price than the average for that domain.

How Can I Acquire a Dropped Domain?

Acquiring a dropped domain can be a straightforward process when you know how. Here, KnownHost provides a short guide on how to acquire a dropped domain:

Acquiring a dropped domain can be a straightforward process when you know how. Here, KnownHost provides a short guide on how to acquire a dropped domain:

  • Step 1: Firstly, check if the desired domain is free or make a note of its drop date. It’s important to look out for any signs of fraud or domain registry penalties, as well as researching if the domain is trustworthy.
  • Step 2: Determine the domain provider responsible for registering the domain and the auction partner responsible for selling it if applicable. If a domain is available immediately, head to a domain registry website and buy it.
  • Step 3: If a domain isn’t available immediately, it must be monitored until it drops. The first person to register the domain when it drops will own it.
  • Step 4: If it’s likely a domain name won’t receive any bids, simply purchase the domain when it drops. However, for sought-after domains, it’s best practice to leave a bid by placing a backorder on the domain. A backorder is an attempt to reserve that domain before it drops.
  • Step 5: Purchase the domain.

What Support or Assistance Can I Expect from the Web Hosting Company During the Dropped Domain Acquisition Process?

During the domain acquisition process, a web hosting company can aid a buyer by helping migrate the domain between registrars or hosting a site for the domain itself that can act as an advertising page for the domain sale.

Likewise, after the domain has dropped and been registered, a web hosting company can provide dedicated hosting services for that website to keep it functioning.

KnownHost provides web hosting, migration, and transfer services for websites with dedicated support and professional customer service. For more information, contact our expert team today!

How Can I Optimize the Performance and Security of a Dropped Domain?

When first purchased, a previously expired domain may not perform well in search engine rankings.

So, it’s important to optimize both the performance and security of a dropped domain. This can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Redirect: The first thing to do after acquiring a new domain is to create a redirect from the old domain to the new one so that traffic flows to the new site seamlessly.
  • Clean Up: Next, it’s important to clean up the website and remove any irrelevant information and visual assets.
  • Keyword Optimization: The visibility of online content can be influenced by keyword targeting. It’s important to optimize the wording of the domain web page to better fit its domain name.
  • Backlinks: It’s important to build new backlinks to and from other related and authoritative sites within the same niche through high-quality content.
  • Adjust: Over time, monitor how these improvements increase traffic and identify which areas of the website are lacking, and adjust accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What Does ‘Dropped Domain’ Mean?

A: When the validity of a registered domain expires after reaching the end of its ownership cycle, and the owner has not renewed the registration, it becomes a ‘dropped’ domain – meaning it becomes available to the public again and anyone is free to register it.

Q: How Do I Find Dropped Domains?

A: There are several ways to find a dropped domain, but the quickest way is to use a ‘WHOIS’ lookup to see if it has been dropped. Alternatively, a user can browse popular domain names either manually or on domain registration platforms and see which domains of value have been dropped.

Q: Can I Buy a Deleted Domain?

A: Yes, it is possible to buy a deleted domain. After the 5-day deletion processing period, a deleted domain can be re-registered in the same way as registering a new domain. New costs will apply to securing the new domain.

Q: What Is a Domain Drop Date

A: A domain drop date refers to the day an expired domain becomes available to purchase. After the thirty-day expiration period, a domain will appear on a ‘drop list’, this is where many domains about to be dropped are kept, and each is assigned a ‘drop date’. These drop dates indicate the exact date a domain will become available. If not renewed by this date, domains will be deleted.