The first steps to launch your dream website are choosing a domain name and then finding a suitable hosting plan. However, choosing the perfect domain name can be a lengthy process.
You’ve spent time brainstorming domain names, have tried different domain suggestion tools, and you’ve finally found the perfect one. You go to buy your domain and find that it’s already been registered.
This doesn’t have to be the end of the road.
You can figure out who owns the domain name you want, and get in touch to see if they’d be willing to sell it. You might pay a bit more than registering a fresh domain, but getting that perfect domain could be worth it.
A lot of people buy domains without actually using them. If you’ve found a domain that’s registered, but the site is empty or has a landing page provided by a hosting company, then there’s a solid chance the domain is available for purchase.
In some cases, you’ll be able to purchase the site entirely, even if it’s already built-out.
Maybe the owner decided to move onto other projects and hasn’t updated the site in quite some time. If this is the case, you should expect to pay a higher domain name price, but if the traffic levels are low the number shouldn’t be outlandish.
How to Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name
Finding a domain name owner’s information isn’t that difficult.
To do this, we’re going to be using the website called WHOIS. This site essentially answers the question: who owns a certain domain name or IP address?
Whenever someone registers a domain name they must provide relevant contact information.
To perform a domain lookup navigate to the site: https://whois.icann.org/en, and enter the domain name you’d like to lookup.
As long as the domain owner isn’t using a proxy or domain privacy service to shield their information, then you’ll be given relevant contact information.
Usually, you’ll find information like:
- Where they registered their domain
- The owner’s email address and phone number
- The domain expiration date
- When the domain was registered
You’ll find more information about the IP address as well, but the above elements will be the most useful to you.
By using WHOIS database information you’ll be able to see when a domain is about to expire. This can help you time your bid, so you can reach out with an offer right before the domain is set to expire, or needs to be renewed.
I’ve Found the Domain Owner, Now What?
If you’re still interested in making an offer for the domain name, then you’ll have a few different options.
The first is reaching out to the owner via email and expressing interest in buying the domain name.
The second is using a domain name broker who will handle the negotiation and transfer process for you. There are services like Sedo, which will handle the entire process on your behalf for a fee, or you can use the HostGator domain tool and place an offer directly through the site.
In cases where the domain owner’s information has been hidden, your best bet is to get in touch through the site’s contact form.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how you can use the Whois lookup feature to find the owner of a domain name.
If you run into a domain name owner who either isn’t willing to sell the domain or is asking too much that means it’s time to cut your losses and continue your domain search.
With hundreds of thousands of potential domain names still available, and a multitude of top level domains to choose from you’re bound to find the right domain for your needs.