Life cycle of GTLD domain

As a domain name moves through it's life cycle, the operations allowed on the domain will change. These changes are in accordance with the policy framework set out by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) - the peak body governing these domain names.

When a domain name is first registered, it cannot be transferred to another registrar for the first 60 days. As of January 2014, all new domain registrations are also subject to a requirement that the owner validate their email and postal address.

After that 60 day period elapses, the domain can be moved between registrars (transferred) at the owners discretion. However, a domain can only be transferred once during any 60 day period.

If the domain expires and is not renewed, a 40 day grace period exists during which the current owner can renew without any financial penalty. When the domain expires, all email delivery will cease and the website will not be visible until renewal is processed.

After that 40 days lapses, the domain will enter it's redemption phase. During this time, control of the domain reverts to the registry. The domain can be retrieved during this time, but a fee must be paid in addition to the renewal fee.

After the redemption period ends, the status of the domain changes to "Pending delete". This lasts a randomised length of time between three and five days, during which time the domain cannot be recovered.

Once this ends, the domain becomes available for registration again. It is important to note that the original owners rights to the domain have lapsed at this point. Anyone can register the domain through the registrar of their choice. There are companies operating who will snap up domains being released from redemption, so if your domain name is business critical this is worth noting.