Knowledge Base

Understanding Domain Registration

This article will cover the following information:

Life cycle of a Domain

Every domain has a life cycle starting with its initial registration and ending with it being returned to the public for new registration. This life cycle can be extended indefinitely by regularly renewing the domain, and understanding the life cycle of your domain will help you know when a domain can be renewed and what is affected when the domain expires.

The life cycle of a domain is as follows:

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  1. New Registration
    • Domain Order Validation
  2. Active
  3. Domain Expiration
  4. Domain Redemption
  5. Pending Deletion

Please see below for information regarding each phase of the life cycle of a domain.

Domain Registration

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) regulates domain registrations and sets prices. Visit www.internic.net to learn your rights as a consumer.

The registrar can be a company other than the hosting company. While A Small Orange can host any domain name (as long as the DNS is pointed to us), we cannot register every domain.

For a comprehensive list of domains A Small Orange can register, see:

*****List to Domains ASO can register*****

If you register a domain directly with A Small Orange, you should always contact A Small Orange for domain-related help. If you register your own domains as an eNom reseller, then most issues will be handled directly by eNom. You may still contact A Small Orange first to be sure.

To register a domain click here.

When registering a new domain, be sure to provide a valid email address for your WHOIS as you will be required to verify your WHOIS information via email. If verification is not received within 15 days, the domain name will be suspended.

It is recommended that you use an email address independent of the domain you are registering since you will need access to this email address to verify your WHOIS information. 


Note: Per rules set by ICANN, the maximum registration period for any domain is ten years. 

Domain Order Validation

Once you have completed your domain registration with A Small Orange, you will be required to validate your domain order. This is a required step in the domain registration process in accordance with the ICANN 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement. For more information regarding the domain order validation process, please see the following article:

Active Domains

Once a domain is successfully registered it is then Active for the term of the registration. Depending on the registrar you use, you may be able to register the domain for up to 10 year.

While a domain you have registered is Active, you may perform the following actions on it at any time:

  • Renew the Registration
  • Change the DNS
  • Update the WHOIS

Domain Registration Renewal

 Renew your domain registration early, before the expiration date. For instructions on how to renew your domain name, please read the following article:

  • How Do I Renew My Domain Name?

Domain Expiration

If you fail to renew your domain, your registration will be interrupted, at which point your nameservers will be changed by the registrar. This means it may take a few days before you can see your site is down, and after you finally pay to renew, it may be a few more days before you can see your site is back up.

We will send domain expiration notices prior to the expiration date by email to the Registrant Email address listed on the domain Whois. The first notice will be sent thirty (30) days before expiration and a second notice will be sent seven (7) days before expiration. A final email will be sent immediately after the domain has expired.

Domain expiration periods are not an ICANN requirement, and therefore are not guaranteed. Expiration may vary from registrar to registrar, ranging from 0-45 days. Domains registered via A Small Orange will be registered with either OpenSRS or Enom, which have the following expiration periods:

  • OpenSRS: 35 Days
  • Enom: 30 Days

Domain Redemption

The rules of redemption are different for every registrar, please see below for how your domain will be handled based on how it was registered with A Small Orange.

OpenSRS Domain Redemption

Domains registered with OpenSRS will be sent to auction at SnapNames.com on the 36th day past expiration. Once queued, the domain will either be sold or deleted by the 42nd day after expiration, depending on whether or not the domain receives bids.

If the owner of the domain wishes to purchase the domain back, they may do so by either signing up for an account with SnapNames.com or waiting for the domain to be released to the public once more. Unfortunately, once past the 35 days grace period after the domain is queued for auction, A Small Orange cannot guarantee the domain's redemption.

Enom Domain Redemption

After 30 days of being expired, domains enter the redemption period. Once a domain enters the redemption period there is a $75.00  fee plus the normal price to renew the domain name, as we must pay a fee directly to eNom in order to restore the domain on your behalf. A Small Orange will require you to pay this cost or register a different domain. This redemption period can last until the next expiration date or until the registrar auctions the domain to a higher bidder — whichever comes first. The registrar may also release the domain so that it can be registered again, but they will not announce when they do this, and they cannot be forced to do this.

As with expiration periods, the redemption period is not required by ICANN and can be as little as 0 days with some registrars.

Pending Deletion

Once a domain has entered pending deletion, the only course of action available is to wait for it to be returned to the public for new registration. During this phase of the life cycle of a domain, the domain cannot be recovered or modified. This phase lasts approximately 5 days.

Domain Transfers

You must always initiate the domain transfer with the new company. The process takes approximately 5 to 7 days to complete. It is important to keep in mind that there are several obstacles that can make a valid domain registration transfer fail.

  • If you have been with your current registrar for less than 60 days, then you are not allowed to transfer yet; however, if you just renewed your domain, you may still transfer because this means you were with the current registrar for more than a year.
  • If your domain status is "Locked," you will need to ask your current registrar to unlock your domain.
  • If your WHOIS information is incorrect or private, you must have your valid email listed as the Admin Contact Email so you can receive a confirmation notice from the current registrar.
  • If an invalid EPP code ("Auth key") was provided, you must get the EPP code from the current registrar and provide it to the new registrar. If you change any contact information or nameservers with the previous registrar, you must get a new EPP code, because it may have changed.
  • If your domain name is in redemption, you must pay the current company before you may transfer.
Please initiate your domain registration transfers at least one month before the domain expires. This will give you ample time to fix any mistakes and re-initiate the transfer in time.

Normally, when you transfer your domain registration to a new registrar, you get an additional year added to your expiration date. However, if a domain expires, is renewed and then transferred between registrars within the first 45 days after the expiration date, the domain will not retain the original renewal year once the transfer completes (meaning your expiration date stays the same). This is a registry restriction and applies to all registrars.


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