Before deciding on the domain of your dreams, you should probably check if it’s available first. There’s nothing worse than having your heart set on a great domain name, only to discover that someone already has it. To make matters worse, you've already set up all of your socials in that particular name – yikes. So, hold your horses on setting up any social media accounts. Read on to find out who owns your wanted domain name first and how you can find their contact information to negotiate getting your dream domain name.

Why find out who owns a domain name?

Finding out who owns the domain name you want can potentially help you find out some useful information – such as their contact, when it was last registered, how many owners the domain has had and much more.

If you find a ton of people have owned the domain name, then there’s a good chance that the domain name may have been used maliciously (such as for spam), so you may want to swerve from the name you wish to use – as it could have a bad reputation.

Instead, if you’re creating your own ecommerce store or WordPress site, you’ll want to come up with a few valid domain name variations and ideas so that you at least have some backup ideas.

How to find out who owns a domain

There are a few different ways to work out who owns a domain. But here’s our top few methods:

Using a tool

There are tools at your disposal which make finding out who owns a domain name a piece of cake. The WHOIS database makes it super easy to find a website owner and their site ownership details. The WHOIS tool for example will tell you who exactly owns a domain and how is best to get in touch with them. Then you just need to get in touch with them.

If you have a certain domain name in mind, you can always look it up via a search engine of your choice. This may be quite a lengthy process, but it works! You can also have a quick peek at the site that holds your wanted domain and see if there is some way to contact the owner. Be aware that contacting a random email address with your requests may not get you to where you want to be, so it’s best to ask around and get directed to the correct person.

Using a domain provider

Domain providers, like us here at Fasthosts, have a domain name search tool, which is a great way to 

check what domains are actually still on offer. If there isn’t a domain name available then you will know that it’s been taken by someone else and you can use the above ways to figure out who owns it. Although a domain provider can’t tell you who owns a certain domain name, it’s still a useful tool to have on hand.

Can you buy a domain name from someone else?

Yes, you can buy a domain name from someone else. 

There are two ways to purchase someone else's domain name, either by using the WHOIS tool to find who owns that certain domain and contacting them directly, or through an aftermarket. Many domain providers use aftermarkets where you can buy an already-owned domain straight from the source. Aftermarkets also provide the extra security of third party involvement.

How to buy a domain name from someone else

So, if you’re going down the WHOIS route, how can you actually purchase a domain name that someone else owns? Let’s run through the steps:

1. Find the owner 

The most effective way to find out who owns your dream domain is through the use of the WHOIS tool. It’s quick and easy to use, and will take you directly to the source. Once you have searched for your chosen domain name, there should be some form of contact provided with it, so this is a great way to get in touch and to see if they’re open to offers.

Things to consider before contacting the domain owner

Sometimes there will be privacy settings, which means you won’t be able to find any contact info via WHOIS. In this case, we recommend using a contact email on their site if there is one, but be prepared to be ignored or sent to spam!

Another thing to consider at this stage is that not everyone will want to sell their domain name, so be prepared to find a new dream domain. It’s always useful to have a backup name in mind in case of emergencies. Preferably one that is already available.

Other things you’ll want to consider include:

  • Researching the owner ahead of time
  • Being kind and courteous about wanting the domain name – we get the frustration, but you’re trying to negotiate here
  • Ensure the transaction is through a secure portal

2. Negotiate a price

If your chosen domain owner has replied to your request and is willing to sell their domain name – hooray! You can now begin to negotiate a price. We suggest asking them what they would be willing to sell for, and then go from here. 

3. Pay for the domain and transfer it over

At this stage, it’s always a good idea to get a third party involved to ensure that the payment and domain transfer runs as smoothly as possible. A third party such as us here at Fasthosts! Once you feel comfortable that everything is in order, you can purchase your domain name. Your domain provider will then handle everything and transfer the domain over to you.

Now you have successfully received the domain name of your dreams!

If you can’t buy the domain name

If you can’t get the domain name you want despite the methods above –  don't worry. The internet has lots of options! There are millions of registered domains and many more waiting to be taken. With a bit of thinking, and trial and error, we’re certain you can find a great alternative.

You can try changing your desired domain slightly by using different words, or spelling things in a new way. You may even want to go down the alternative language route – particularly if it’s one your community will know about and associate with your niche.

Also, there are many new top-level domains like .co, .tech, .io, or .app that might work for you and are more likely to be available compared to the usual .com and TLDs. Even if you don't get your perfect domain, you can make your brand stand out by being creative with a TLD.

Remember, your domain name is just one part of your online presence. Your website's content, design, and how easy it is to use are all important for building a strong brand and getting visitors too.

Can the owner of a domain be traced?

Potentially. By performing a WHOIS search, you may be able to find the contact information of the company or individual that owns the domain. However, it is very common for this information to be hidden from basic WHOIS searches.

Can you anonymously own a domain?

It’s possible to own a domain anonymously, either by going down the domain broker or marketplace route. Alternatively, private domain registration allows you to register a domain name without having your information go public.

Learning who owns your wanted domain is only half the battle. But, once you’ve contacted the domain owner and negotiated a price, the rest is history, and you can now enjoy your domain name. Maybe your next step is to build your website from scratch. Not to worry, we also have lots of other great services and products to offer you.

With a 24/7 support team, you don’t have to worry about being left in the dark – our team can support you. With all of that said, begin your Fasthosts journey today and get in touch.