The .au domain name lifecycle

By AFILIAS | 16 July 2018

In today’s blog we’re going to talk about the lifecycle of .au domain names. We look at what goes on with a domain name prior to it being added to the drop list and purged (i.e. made available for someone else to register). auDA – the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space – has specified this process in the Domain Renewal, Expiry and Deletion Policy.

To give a bit of context to the lifecycle, we’ll look at it from the perspective of Lucy, a fictional Gold Coast business owner.

Registration: Lucy started a handcrafted homeware business and registers the domain name She’s chosen a domain, of course, because she has a registered ABN and wants to communicate to her customer’s that she’s a credible, Australian business. Lucy registered her domain name for one year – she had the option to register for 1-5 years, but as it’s a new business she has decided to not get too far ahead of herself. If all goes well with Lucy’s business, she can renew for another period of 1-5 years, 90 days before expiry.

Grace period: Once registered, Lucy has three days to delete the domain during which period her registrar will receive a complete refund from the registry and presumably pass it on to Lucy. Maybe she has misspelt it or changed her mind about going into homewares. When she cancels her registration within this three day period, the domain will be deleted by her registrar and become available for immediate registration by someone else. These names will not be part of the ‘domain drop’ noted above.

Policy delete: Let’s say Lucy breaches auDA’s Published Policy. Perhaps she doesn’t have a registered Australian business or company after all, or for some other reason as set out in the policy. The domain name will be deleted and enter a Pending Policy Delete state for 14 days, which gives Lucy time to make a case for the decision to be overturned. After 14 days in this status, it will be added to the drop list for 24 hours before being purged.

Client delete: Let’s say over the period of the registration Lucy has enough of homewares and doesn’t want anything to do with the domain anymore. She could just leave it to lapse but, for whatever reason, wants it gone. Lucy can request the domain name be deleted. In this case, no refund is available. The deleted name will go into a Pending Delete state for three days before being added to the drop list for 24 hours before being purged from the registry.

Expiry: Lucy’s business dreams didn’t go to plan and she closed her shop after nine months. She allows the domain name to lapse. During this time she will receive a renewal notice from her registrar in an attempt to let her secure the domain for the future. She ignores it. At the end of the 90 day renewal period, her domain name will enter the Expired Hold state for 30 days, which is essentially a quarantine period. The domain name won’t work, but it can be renewed or transferred.

After 30 days in this status, it will be moved to an Expired Pending Purge state and added to the drop list for 24 hours before being purged.

Drop and purge: Names scheduled to be purged wait 24 hours on the drop list in order to let registrars know that certain names are going to become available shortly. This gives registrars time to prepare to ‘catch’ dropping names (register them as soon as they become available again). Anybody can register a domain name once it has been purged, however, by using a drop catching service such as or Netfleet, you may increase your chances of securing it especially if it had strong perceived value when it was previously registered. If the domain name is registered again it enters the lifecycle all over again.

Upon transition on 1 July 2018, the drop service was temporarily suspended to give registrars time to check all their registrations in the new system to make sure no names were deleted by accident. Now that everyone has had time to check, the drop process will resumed on July 14th. As you can see from the lifecycle, there are many protections in place to ensure names don’t drop and get purged arbitrarily. There are several ‘hold’ states that insulate against this, which is important for both the previous registrant of a name and anyone wishing to register an expiring name.

(Afilias Australia took over the management of the .au registry for auDA from 1 July 2018.)