Got a domain name you’re not using? Maybe you chose a domain name a while ago with the intention to start a website, but those plans never materialised. Or, maybe your domain name just isn’t relevant to your business anymore.

Whatever the reason is, it could be time to sell your domain if you’re no longer using it. Depending on the value of your domain, you could be sitting on a fair bit of money – some domains have even sold for millions of pounds!

It’s unlikely that your domain will be worth that much, but it’s still worthwhile to sell it. To help you get started with the domain selling process, here’s an in-depth, step-by-step breakdown of how to sell a domain name effectively and avoid potential scams.

1. Park the domain

If you’re no longer using a domain name and are thinking of selling it in the future, it’s best to park it until you’re ready. A parked domain is a domain name that’s purchased and registered but currently not connected to an online service (such as a web hosting or email hosting).

By parking your domain, you can reduce the risk of cybersquatting until you’re ready to either use the domain name again or sell it. Parked domains will typically point to a different domain’s web page, a basic ‘parked domain’ page or no web page. Sometimes, you can even make money from your parked domains by displaying advertisements on their web pages.

Learn more about domain name parking.

2. Appraise the value of the domain name

To sell your domain name, you’ll need to set the right price to get people interested. But what's your domain name actually worth?

To appraise a domain, you need to honestly consider several factors that will affect its worth, including:

  • The top-level domain (TLD): Domains with a .com TLD are generally more valuable because this is a more authoritative and sought-after TLD. If you have a new TLD like .xyz, this could make your domain name less valuable.
  • The length of your domain name: Domains that are short and easy to remember can sell for a lot more money than very long or obscure domains.
  • The use of hyphens and other elements: Including these in your domain name can make it less valuable to buyers, who are looking for easy-to-remember domain names that can boost brand recognition.
  • Traffic: Domains with a lot of pre-existing traffic will be more appealing to buyers and may fetch a higher price.
  • Keywords: Keyword-rich domains can improve a website’s SEO and traffic, making them more sought after on the domain name market.

To get an even better idea of what your domain name is worth, you should use a domain valuation tool. This will give you an estimated value for your domain, but bear in mind that your domain is only worth what people are willing to pay for it, so an estimation isn’t a guarantee that you’ll earn a certain amount of money.

You can also use these appraisal tools to look at similar domains, and you could research previous domain sales to discover what similar ones sold for. This will give you an even better idea of what to expect when selling your domain name.

3. Choose a pricing strategy

Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to work out your pricing strategy. There are a few options to choose from, including:

  • Fixed price: You set a specific price and the buyer has to agree to it to buy your domain name.
  • Flexible price: You set a specific price for your domain name but potential buyers can negotiate. This is a good option if your domain has an uncertain value.
  • Auction: You sell your domain name on an auction site, which means you set a reserve price (the minimum you would accept) and potential buyers then put in their bids until the highest bidder wins.

The best pricing strategy for you will depend on the potential value of your domain name. If your domain isn’t worth very much according to your research, it’s best to set a fixed price because auctions only work well for high-value domains that attract a lot of interest.

4. Choose how to sell your domain name

Next, you need to choose how and where to sell your domain. Again, there are multiple options to choose from depending on the value of your domain and your preferences.

Selling privately

The first option is to sell your domain name privately. This will often be a much cheaper option as you won’t have to pay fees or a commission to a third party, such as a broker or marketplace platform. Due to the lower costs involved, selling privately may be better for you if you don’t expect to sell your domain for much money.

To inform potential buyers of the sale, you should set up a landing page for your domain name. You should include sale information on this page, such as details about the domain name, your contact information and an inquiry form.

Selling on a domain name marketplace

To get some help with the selling process and find more buyers, you could sell your domain name on a domain name marketplace, such as Sedo.

These sites get a considerable amount of traffic, making it more likely for potential buyers to come across your domain name listing. Plus, these marketplaces come with integrated escrow services to make the selling process more secure for all parties involved.

One downside to using these marketplaces is that they’ll either charge a commission (typically around 15-20% of the sale), a one-off fee or a monthly subscription fee. Only you can decide if the convenience of using these services is worth the cost.

Selling via a domain name broker

Similarly, you can use the services of a domain name broker, such as Sedo.

Just like with marketplaces, brokers offer convenience, expertise, more visibility for your domain listing, and secure payment options. Plus, brokers typically won’t charge up-front fees, but they will charge a commission on the final sale price.

Selling on auction sites

For high-value domains that are likely to generate a lot of interest, selling on an auction site, such as Sedo, is a great option. On the site, you’ll create a listing and set a starting price before bidding starts. The highest bidder will get to buy your domain name, and the auction site will then charge a fee or commission.

5. Advertise your domain name

To sell your domain for the best price, you’ll need to ensure that enough potential buyers actually see your listing. But how will they find your listing at all if it isn’t advertised anywhere?

If you decide to sell via a domain name marketplace or broker, part of the work will already be done for you. The broker or marketplace will advertise your domain name listing on their site – and since these websites get a good amount of traffic – there’s a lot of potential for interested buyers to come across your sale.

However, if you’re selling privately, you’ll need to work on your own advertising. The easiest way to advertise your domain name is to share it on social media and reach out to people you know in your industry. Plus, you could also find domain investing forums to advertise your listing and network with buyers.

Finally, no matter how you’re selling, you need to optimise your domain name listing to pique people’s interest. In addition to the price, you should add extra information to the listing that will make it more appealing, such as current traffic statistics, how much ad revenue it generates and its existing authority within its niche. Don’t forget to include your contact information so potential buyers can get in touch.

6. Update your Whois information

Whois is a public database that houses information on who owns domain names. So, when you buy a domain name, your contact information should be listed in the Whois directory.

If you’re hoping to sell a domain name, you need to make sure that the contact information in your Whois record is up to date. If someone looks up your domain name in the Whois directory because they’re interested in buying it, they need to be able to get in touch with you to complete the sale. With up-to-date Whois information, a buyer could even contact you and make you an offer before you officially put up a listing if they come across your domain and are interested in it.

7. Arrange a payment method

When conducting transactions over the internet, it’s important to ensure that everything is handled safely and fairly. You can arrange a payment privately if you wish, but you’ll run the risk that the person buying your domain is actually a scammer who has no intention of handing over the money for a domain name transfer. Alternatively, if you were a buyer, you could never be sure that the seller wouldn’t just ghost you once you handed over the money.

To conduct transactions safely, it’s best to use an escrow service when buying or selling a domain name. Escrow is a legal arrangement where a licensed third party holds the money for the transaction until a condition has been met. In the case of selling a domain name, the escrow agent or service would hold the buyer’s money until you transferred the domain to them, at which point the money would then be released to you. If the domain transfer failed, the buyer would get their money back.

You’ll need to arrange your own escrow service if you decide to sell your domain name privately. If you’re using a broker, marketplace or auction site, you’ll most likely have free escrow services included with your sale.

8. Transfer your domain name

Once the payment has been exchanged, it’s time to transfer the domain name to its new owner. There are quite a few steps to follow for a domain transfer, including:

  • Contacting your domain registrar to inform them you want to transfer your domain to a new owner.
  • Unlocking the domain name to allow changes to be made.
  • Sending an authorisation code to verify the transfer.
  • Confirming the transfer within 60 days to ensure its completion.
  • Receiving the payment once the domain name has been successfully transferred to its new owner.

Before you start this whole process, you need to make sure you’re able to transfer your domain name. A transfer can’t be completed within 60 days of registering the domain, changing its details (such as the registrant’s name or email address) or completing another transfer. This is called the 60-day Change of Registrant lock.

To learn more about domain name transfers, make sure you read our step-by-step guide on how to transfer a domain name. You should become familiar with this process before you initiate a domain name sale.

Frequently asked questions about selling domain names

How can I speed up the process of selling a domain name?

To make selling your domain name as quick and easy as possible, we would recommend using a domain marketplace website. They’ll provide helpful features such as escrow services and domain appraisal services. Plus, due to the amount of traffic on these sites, your domain name will get noticed more quickly by interested buyers.

How can I get more money for my domain name?

To maximise your earnings, you should include as much information on your domain listing as possible to make it more appealing. For example, you could include traffic statistics, discuss the niche that the domain name has authority in, and use psychological pricing (e.g. £99 instead of £100).

What’s the best way to sell your domain name?

The best selling method will depend on the value of your domain and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in its sale profile. For a quick and easy transaction, opt for a domain name marketplace or broker, and for high-value domains, use an auction site to benefit from lots of competing bidders. Alternatively, you can sell your domain name privately if you want to avoid fees and commission charges.

How much can you sell a domain name for?

This will all depend on the value of your domain name and how much people are willing to pay for it. Short and easy-to-remember domain names with .com TLDs and a lot of pre-existing traffic can sell for a lot of money (even millions of pounds in some cases), but most others won’t be as valuable. However, it’s always worth selling a domain name you won’t use to get some extra cash.

Why should you sell a domain name?

The main reason why you should sell domain names you’re not using is that you can potentially make some money. Plus, if you have a large portfolio of domains to manage, you can reduce your workload by selling the domains you don’t use.

Hoping to sell your old, irrelevant domain name and buy a better one? Fasthosts offers a wide range of TLDs, such as .com, .net, and .pro, to help you find your perfect domain name for an incredible price. Contact us today to find out more and take advantage of FREE .com domains for the first year.