When the domain registration term expires, it doesn’t immediately become available for registration for anyone. First, it has to pass through other stages of the domain lifecycle.
There are five possible states for any domain to be in. The states are defined by WHOIS – a collection of international databases of internet resources and people assigned to them.
These domains are available for registration and are being sold freely.
These domains are owned by some person or organization and are active. They have proper DNS records and direct visitors to websites or simply placeholder pages.
Term: 1-10 years.
If the person that owns the domain did not renew it in due time, domain registrar removes all DNS records of the domain (which renders it inactive) from their servers and notifies the owner via e-mail. During this period, the owner still can reclaim the domain.
Term: 30-45 days, depending on the zone and registrar.
Redemption (Pending Delete Recoverable)
After the owner failed to renew a domain in 30-45 days, domain registrar removes it from the databases.
During Redemption period, domain can still be recovered, but for an additional fee. The amount depends on the registrar.
Term: 30 days.
After the redemption period is over, the registrar needs time in order to completely delete the domain. During that time, the domain cannot be restored, but neither can it be registered again. After that, the domain becomes Available once more.
Term: 5 days
Overall, it takes around 2-3 months since the first missed payment before the domain can be completely liberated. During most of this time, you still can restore control over it. Unihost clients can do this by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.