The domain name life cycle

What happens when you register a .CA domain name? When will it expire – and what happens if it does?

The following list describes the different phases of a .CA domain name, once you register it with a .CA certified Registrar.

Phases of the domain name life cycle 

This is a diagram of the domain name life cycle

The .CA is available

You can perform a search on either our website or a Registrar’s website to see what domain names are available.

The CIRA Registrant agreement is accepted

Once you register the domain, you have seven days to accept the CIRA Registrant agreement to seal the deal. Most Registrars have integrated this step into the process of buying the domain.

Add Grace Period

This period has little effect on Registrants. The domain is fully registered and responds as a domain in the registered state would. During this period Registrars have the ability to cancel the domain name if an error has been made.

Registration Period

The domain can be registered with a certified .CA Registrar anywhere from 1-10 years at a time, and can be renewed with your Registrar at any time prior to its expiry date.

The domain expires

To avoid any interruptions to your website, you can:

  • Register your domain name for a period of up to 10 years
  • Make note of your domain expiry date and be sure to renew before it expires
  • Opt in to an auto-renew service, if offered by your Registrar

Upon the expiry date, CIRA will automatically renew your .CA for one year, charging your Registrar. You will need to renew the domain with your Registrar if you want to keep it. Your Registrar has the ability to cancel this renewal, if you haven't renewed the domain with them. Expiry dates for .CA domains can be found by searching the WHOIS directory. If it's past your expiry date with your Reigstrar, you will notice that the WHOIS record for your domain has changed to one year after the expiry date.

Auto-Renew Grace Period

If you don’t renew your domain prior to the expiry date, it will enter the auto-renew grace period, which can be up to 45 days in length. The length of this period is controlled by the Registrar managing the domain, and as such varies according to their own policies. During this period, the domain name may cease to function, this action is controlled by the Registrar.

Redemption Grace Period

If you didn't renew with your Registrar during the Auto-Renew Grace Period, your domain is now deleted, and the .CA enters a 30-day redemption grace period. During this period, the domain is no longer active - any websites or email addresses associated with the domain name will cease to function.

During this period, you may request that your Registrar redeem and renew the deleted .CA for one year, or you may transfer it to an alternative Registrar. This is your final opportunity to renew the domain.

Domain is added to the To Be Released (TBR) list

Once the Redemption Grace Period ends and you haven't renewed your domain, the domain name status will change to “To Be Released”. CIRA releases domains through the TBR Session every Wednesday – the list is available online and is updated each week. If a domain name you would like appears on the list, you must ask a Registrar to back-order it for you. To find a Registrar that offers this service, select “To-Be-Released (TBR) Registrations” in the filter on our Registrar list page.

TBR Session is held

For a domain to be included in a TBR Session, it must appear on the TBR list for a minimum of 60 hours, up to one week. TBR Sessions are held on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. (ET). Only Registrars can participate in the TBR session. If there is a domain name on the TBR list that you are interested in, contact a Registrar that offers TBR as a service to express interest in registering the domain.

Pending delete status

Domains that were not registered during the TBR Session move to a pending delete status for 24 hours.

General availability

Domain names that are in a pending delete status become available to register between 3–4 p.m. (ET) the Thursday following the TBR session.

If you still have questions about the status or expiry date of your domain, contact your Registrar for more information.