Choosing a domain name for your next website can be a frustrating experience. You’ve thought of a brilliant small business. You meticulously planned out the business details. You chose the perfect domain. And then your plans fall flat because when you tried to register the domain, you find that the domain name has already been purchased by someone else. Even worse, the domain is parked and not being used.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In this post, we will walk you through the steps of finding out who owns the domain you want. Even better, we will help you prepare to discuss the transaction should you decide to approach the owner.
The WHOIS Lookup tool is a database with every domain name and basic registrant information. It includes information like name, phone number, and the date the domain was acquired. You can usually find the information you need by visiting whois.net.
Once you have set your browser to the WHOIS lookup, you can enter the domain you are trying to locate. Click the search button and you will have access to the following information. Below you will find the information you will see as well as descriptions of what the information means:
Domain Name: Most likely the name you just searched or the host domain if a subdomain was searched.
Registry Domain ID: An identification string that defines the administrative autonomy authority.
Registrar WHOIS Server: Names the registrar accredited by ICANN or where the domain originated and the server where the domain is served.
Registrar URL: The domain name for the accredited registrar.
Updated Date: The most recent registration renewal date.
Creation Date: The date the domain was first registered.
Registry Expiry Date: When the domain is set to expire if not renewed prior to the date listed.
Registrar: The ICANN accredited registrar.
Registrar IANA ID: The identifying number for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: The email to contact if the domain is engaged in abusive activities.
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: The phone number to contact if the domain is engaged in abusive activities.
Domain Status: The current status of the domain which describes whether or not the domain can be transferred.
Nameserver(s): Defines the nameserver(s) currently employed by the domain.
DNSSEC: Describes whether or not the domain has been assigned DNS Security (DNSSEC).
ICANN Information: Basic information for contacting ICANN about the domain name.
Contacting the domain owner
From the information found above, you should be able to determine who owns the domain and some basic information about them. The abuse contact information should get you in contact with either the owner or someone nearby. However, it is important to determine when the domain is up for renewal, whether or not the domain can be transferred.
Note, if the domain is for sale, the domain information will reveal it. Rather than cryptic or hidden information, there will be clear information for the contact. If you choose to contact the domain owner, an email is most likely the best method. Take note that domains purchased from resellers tend to be more pricey than from domain hosts. Your level of interest will most likely determine the price you are willing to pay. Good luck and happy domain hunting!