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How Can My Domain Name Get Sniped?


HostGator cannot guarantee protection from domain name sniping; no one can.

Domain registration should be paid for when the domain is ordered to protect your investment. Payment must have time to process. It might be a good strategy to buy the desired domain name before purchasing hosting for that domain.

There are plenty of ways that a domain can be obtained through sniping. Some of the most common methods are listed below.

  • It is possible someone else registered the domain name before you did, and the domain is still shown as available when checking its availability.
  • It often happens that someone orders a domain registration but does not render payment immediately. In that case, anyone else can register the domain name and get it before you register it.
  • It is also possible after searching for available domain names at another website that registers domains. Some of these registrars are not ethical and have been known to steal domain ideas and then auction the domain back for a much higher price.
Remember: You can trust HostGator to never snipe any domains queried. We are a reputable registrar, and we will stay that way. Feel free to use our tools and services to search for your potential domain names.

How to prevent Domain Sniping

Fortunately, ICANN does attempt to discourage this practice by limiting the number of domain name refunds allowed by a registrar. If the domain cannot be refunded, then the corrupt registrar is less likely to risk their money.

We strongly recommend using https://www.hostgator.com/domains to search for available domain names to avoid domain sniping.

Here are some tips to secure your domain name.

  • Make sure to renew your domain name on time 
    Preventing your domain from expiring is one of the best ways of keeping your domain's ownership. As the domain owner, you are responsible for your domain name. Here at HostGator, you have the option to automatically renew your domain within your Customer Portal. We strongly recommend keeping Auto-Renew ON to ensure that you get notified of your domain's expiration date. If you disable the auto-renewal feature, you will need to manually renew your domain at the right time. If not, you may lose your domain once it expires without you knowing. For more information on how to enable your domain's auto-renewal feature, please check out the article, How Do I Renew My Domain Name?
  • Keep your WHOIS information up to date
    Important updates and notifications, such as domain expiration, are being sent to your WHOIS email address. To make sure you get the expiration notification, you will have to keep your contact information updated. To know how to update your domain's contact information within the Customer Portal, please refer to the instructions in the article, Updating WHOIS Information.
  • Lock your domain
    Yes, Domain Locking is a security feature that prevents the unauthorized transfer of your domain. You have the ability to manage this in your Customer Portal too. By default, your domain's locking feature is turned ON; however, you might encounter the need to temporarily turn it off for some reason. If that is the case, you have to pay attention to this crucial feature and remember to enable it again after you're done.
  • Enable Domain Privacy
    Domain Privacy plays an important role in protecting your domain's personal and business contact information (WHOIS) from prying eyes. Keeping your WHOIS contact information (and that includes your name, address, email address, and phone number) private also lessens the risks of being a target of "domain snipers." Here is a helpful article discussing Domain Privacy, its importance, and how to enable it in your Customer Portal, How to Enable Domain Privacy.
  • Ignore domain-related spam messages
    Let's say you forgot to enable your Domain Privacy, or perhaps your email address was already caught by domain snipers before you enabled your Domain Privacy. You may receive spam messages from these domain snipers, whose intention is to manipulate you with their request emails, threats, etc. If this happens, you may block these domain snipers or report them to your email provider or host.
  • Be vigilant!
    As the domain owner, you are responsible for your domain, and your domain name is yours for a reason. You've worked hard to strengthen your domain's value and ranking. You are provided with the tools to keep your domain name safe. Be on a constant lookout for your domain's expiration date, keep your domain contact information private, and make sure that all the safety features (Domain Privacy and Locking) in your portal are enabled for your domain. They were created to secure your domain from these domainers.

Additional Information

  • Domain Overview - Here is our consolidated guide of domain-related articles.
  • Domain Concepts - Want to learn more about domains? This article is a good read.
  • Domain How-To's - You may check out our go-to articles for domain management.
  • Domain Troubleshooting - Need articles for troubleshooting domain-related website issues? Please check out this article.