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Understanding Nominet UK Domain Deletion Process and Drop Date

This is a short post from UK Domain Registrar, 2020Media.com  to help domain owners understand how to tell if they can still renew a .uk domain name or whether it has gone into the final deletion state. We end by suggesting ways to help re-register a domain it is too late to renew.

UK Domain Lifecyle

Lifecycle at expiry for .UK
Lifecycle at expiry for .UK

 

The diagram shows that after a UK domain name expires there is a 90 day period in which it can still be renewed. However after 90 days, there is a 5 day period in which is still registered, but cannot be renewed. This change to the previous system was introduced in 2022 and brings .uk more into alignment with gTLD domains.

Domain Owner Concerns about Failed Renewals

What 2020Media has seen as an Accredited Nominet Registrar is that domain name appear as still registered and with a status of “renewal required” even when they are in the final 5 day period. And according to Nominet rules, they cannot be renewed in this period. They are scheduled for deletion at the end of the 5 day period, and nothing can change that.

How to Check if a UK Domain can be Renewed or Not

There are two ways to check if an expired domain name can still be renewed or not.

Option 1 – Calculator

A straightforward way is to look at the expiry date of a UK domain and calculate 90 days from that date – if it’s more than 90 days, then unfortunately that domain is now in the final 5 day deletion process and cannot be renewed any longer. Here is a link to a general date calculation tool, and you do not need to enter the domain name.

https://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html

Option 2 – RDAP

The only problem with the Calculator method is that it does not take account of the time of day. The RDAP option provides an 100% accurate report of the domain’s status. RDAP is a replacement for WHOIS, providing more information and in a machine-readable format.  Here are a couple of public RDAP lookup tools:

Nominet Lookup

RDAP.UK

Here are results from 2 domains, showing the different status. Screenshots from Nominet Lookup tool.

Domain Status Showing Domain Can Be Renewed:

Domain In Redemption - Can Be Renewed
Domain In Redemption – Can Be Renewed

Domain Status Showing Domain CANNOT Be Renewed

Domain In Deletion - Cannot Be Renewed
Domain In Deletion – Cannot Be Renewed

It’s significant that “pending delete” is shown in both cases, so do not be fooled by this  – it simply shows the domain is past expiry and the initial 30 day grace period when a .UK domain is still active.

Recovering / Registering Domains that Cannot be Renewed

If the domain name you want is in the status where it cannot be renewed, the only option is to try and register the domain name the moment it is released for re-registration. This is a free-for-all process and there is competition amongst domain name investors and others over sought-after domain names.

It is possible to find out exactly when a UK domain name will become available again by using the Nominet Drop List. This is a daily updated list and is very long.  You can ask a friendly Registrar, like 2020Media.com to help!

It’s important to note that domain names are cancelled for reasons other than expiry. Registrants can put in a deletion request at any time during a domain’s lifecycle, and there may be other registry processes which result in a cancellation.

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