First question. Who Cares?
Why bother to even find out whether your domain name has a history or not? You probably think your website will be unique and no one else will have come up with the same name as you.Â
Consider this, your website name is just like your personal name. It identifies your business to the world via the internet.
Imagine this, you are applying for a new job. As a matter of routine, your employer runs a criminal background check. Ah oh, your name gets flagged with a criminal record you never knew about. You lose the job!
Domain ownership history is important. It is like a criminal background check on your domain name. This is your ultimate guide on why this is important and how to go about doing it.
Domain Ownership History – Why Important?
There are over 330 million domain name registrations across the top level domains. No matter how creative you are or unique your business name may seem. There is a good chance that someone else is using the same name now or have used the name in the past.
Domain names that have been used in the past will have a history. It is important to know what that history is and if it will affect how Google and other search engines view your website.Â
There are lots of reasons why domain names have been used in the past and are no longer being used now. It could simply be that the domain name owner never actually developed the website and the name fell into disuse.
Another reason could be that the business failed. As a consequence, the website and its domain name fell into disuse. However, the most worrying problem is that the domain name was used to spam other websites and was blacklisted by search engines.
If a domain name has been misused in any way, then the search engines will block any website associated with that domain name, no matter how catchy it is!
Domain Registration – Know the Basics
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANNÂ is the organization responsible for domain names since the late 1990s.
WHOIS is a protocol for making inquiries to a database that contains domain names and their registrants.Â
When someone purchases and registers a domain name, the registrant must provide certain personal information such as their full name and address. This information is available to the public at any time through the WHOIS database.
Some people do not want to have their personal contact details available on the internet as they are concerned it will be abused by others, such as spammers. So it is possible to subscribe to a privacy service which will provide their details by proxy rather than your personal details.
Domain History – How to Search Free
You can search directly from the WHOIS websiteÂ to see if the domain name is currently owned by someone. Of course, you will not be able to see results for people who are using a proxy service.
You will not be able to see the history of the domain name either. To search the history you need to enlist the help of others. It is possible to do this for free. However, realize there are limitations on the search results that you will get.
To search the full history of a domain that potentially goes back to the beginning of domain name registration requires a provider to have crawled the internet and gathered a lot of data. This database has a commercial value.Â
For this reason, if you really want an accurate history, you will have to pay for the service. Even though we do not like to part with our money, it is reasonable to pay for this as you would when running a criminal background check.
Domain History – How to Search Almost Free
You can use any one of many domain research tools. For example, you could use DomainTools. This service will allow you to do research on many aspects of your domain. Many of which are very helpful in optimizing your website.Â
The professional subscription costs around $50 per month and will allow you to search the domain history. This price is fairly typical of services like this. However, here is the best bit. You can get a trial for only $1.
Once again, you will find similar offers from other providers. An alternative to a nearly free trial is to purchase a one-off search from providers like Reg.com. This will set you back a massive $3.Â
Some providers offer a completely free trial for premium services but it is not always clear on how to activate that trial. Some sites require you to enter your credit card details first. So it is up to you which path you want to take.Â
Get a Premium Domain Name
It is possible to buy domain names that have already been vetted as safe and also offer certain advantages that make the domain name desirable. These are called premium domain names.
They are attractive because they are usually short, easy to remember and contain important search terms that people may use to look for websites through Google.Â
Of course, premium names come at a premium price. If you prefer a cheaper option then check out this article that will help you come up with a great website name.Â
Don’t Get Caught Out
Domain ownership history may be the last thing you are thinking about when choosing a domain name and setting up your website. Don’t get caught out choosing a domain name that has a bad history.
Thanks to this article you know it is important to check and how to go about doing it. You also need to be aware of the advantages of using different providers for your email and website. Learn more about us here and how we can help.