If you ever check Whois records of a domain name to find out what’s its current status, you should have seen the domain status codes. These codes are generally not that easy-to-understand. That’s why we think it’s a good idea to publish a blog post explaining them.
Why Do We Check Whois?
We check the Whois info of a domain name with a tool like dofo.com, because we may want to know who the owner is, what registrar it’s registered with, dates the domain is registered and expires on, and what the current status of the domain name is.
For example, when we check Whois for google.com, some of the information it says:
- Create Date: 15 September 1997
- Expiration Date: 14 September 2028
- Whois Update Date: 09 September 2019
- Organization: Google LLC
- State: California
- Country: United States
- Registrar: MarkMonitor
- Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited, clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited, serverDeleteProhibited, serverTransferProhibited, serverUpdateProhibited
You may easily understand what that information means except domain status codes.
What Do Domain Status Codes Mean?
Each status code state a different situation of the domain name. There are two types of status codes, also called EPP (Extensible Provisioning Protocol) codes as stated by ICANN: server status codes and client status codes.
Server Status Codes
Server status codes are set by the domain registry; for example Verisign provides server status codes for .com and .net, and Public Interest Registry for .org.
OK is actually the clearest status codes and it means everything is OK with the domain name. Also, it states that there are no waiting operations or prohibitions such as transferring or deleting.
This status code cannot coexist with other operation/prohibition status codes such as pendingTransfer and clientDeleteProhibited that we explained below.
The redemption period is the period a domain name enters when it’s not renewed. It generally lasts 30 days. The domain name goes into pendingDelete status when the redemption period ends.
If you have a domain name with redemptionPeriod status, you have to pay the redemption fee through your registrar to renew your domain name and continue to use it. Redemption fee, also called late renewal/restore fee, is much higher than the regular renewal fee.
Domain names with generic extensions such as .com, .net, .org, and .xyz have a 5-day period before dropping and becoming available to register again. This status code means the domain name in this last period before dropping.
If the domain name is pending for deletion, there’s no way to get it back before it drops.
If a domain name is pending for deletion, you can backorder it through a backorder service such as SnapNames.
This period means that the domain name isn’t renewed yet but waiting for renewal.
This status code takes place when an authorized party requested to transfer out the domain name to another registrar with an authorization code. This status code is removed when the transfer is completed.
This code indicates that the request for registering the domain is received. We don’t see this code much.
This status code is provided sometimes when you register a new domain name. The registrar has the right to delete the domain name and get a refund during this period. Some registrars allow the customer to delete the domain name and get a refund in specific situations.
This status code means a domain renew request was made by the registrant but it’s still waiting for renewal. This code is very rare in gTLDs because renewal processes are almost instant.
When the registrant forgets or didn’t want to renew the domain name, it goes into redemptionPeriod. When the registrant pays the redemption fee to take back the domain name, pendingRestore status code appears. The average redemption fee for a .com domain name is $80, but some registrars add their own fees on it and the fee goes up to $250.
This status code indicates that the domain name is being updated. It’s a rare status code.
renewPeriod status code means that the domain name is renewed but the renewal may be reversed. This status code is uncommon.
This status code indicates that the domain name is successfully transferred to the new registrar. In this period, the transfer can be undone and the domain can go back to the previous registrar again. We also don’t see this status code much.
serverDeleteProhibited, serverRenewProhibited, serverTransferProhibited, serverUpdateProhibited
These codes prohibit actions on the domain names such as deletion, renewal, transfer, and update.
The most used and important status code here is serverTransferProhibited which is used to lock a domain name against unauthorized transfers. A domain name cannot be transferred when it has serverTransferProhibited status code.
Server prohibition codes are higher-level status codes than client prohibition codes. We see server prohibition codes (except serverRenewProhibited) on important corporate domain names like google.com and facebook.com. You need to especially request from your registrar to apply these status codes.
Server prohibition codes are neither necessary nor appropriate for average domain registrants.
Client Status Codes
Client status codes are set by domain registrars such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Dynadot.
clientDeleteProhibited, clientRenewProhibited, clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited
These codes’ functions are almost same as server prohibition codes: clientDeleteProhibited, clientRenewProhibited, clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited
They indicate that the registrar prohibited actions such as delete, renew, update, and transfer. When you turn on the transfer lock for your domain name on your registrar panel, clientTransferProhibited code is added to the Whois records.
This status code indicates that the domain name isn’t active in DNS and will not resolve anything. This code generally takes place with other status codes like redemptionPeriod.
You can check domain status codes of your domain names to keep track of what happens with your domain names, so you know when your domain is expiring or being transferred without permission.
Most domain reporters find out domain sales by following these status codes. Because if a quality domain name is in the pendingTransfer status, it’s most likely sold.
When we explain them in a simple way, domain status codes don’t seem that hard-to-understand, right?