How to Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name
If you’ve decided on a domain name for your new website only to find it’s unavailable, don’t worry. There are still ways you can buy the domain name, even if it’s already registered by someone else.
You can reach out to the current domain name owner and see if you can purchase it from them directly. However, first, you need to find out who has the domain ownership.
To explain how that can be done, we created this step-by-step guide. Read on and learn the methods that can get you the domain name you want.
1. Visit the Website Directly
If you’ve checked the domain status to find out your wanted domain name is not available, the first thing you should do is visit the website directly.
Some domain names are bought out to be resold later for a higher price. In such cases, the existing site will state the domain’s availability for sale and provide the owner’s contact information right away, like in the example below.
If you enter the domain name into the search bar and get taken to a proper website, see if there is a Contact Us page in the navigation bar or the site’s footer.
There you will either find the contact details of the website owner or a contact form. Take the chance to reach out and offer to buy the domain name from the registrant.
2. Search for the Domain Registrant Information in the WHOIS Database
If you’re not successful in finding the contact information on the website directly, you can try using a domain lookup tool.
Some domain registrars submit the basic contact details of new domain owners into a WHOIS directory. This directory is an online database that contains data about the registered users and owners of domain names.
There are a variety of lookup tools available online. However, due to privacy concerns, the information may be limited. The information of the domain owner’s identity that WHOIS database can provide without infringing on privacy laws is:
- Name and contact information of the registrant (domain name owner).
- Name and contact information of the registrar (where the domain name is registered).
- Domain name registration date and expiration date.
ICANN Domain Name Registration Lookup
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for coordinating and maintaining IP address allocation, domain name system (DNS) management, and certain other specifics of the internet’s overall infrastructure.
In other words, ICANN keeps tabs on all registered domain names and network addresses to ensure an up-to-date database that can be accessed and interacted with.
The ICANN Domain Name Registration Data Lookup is a search tool that provides current registration data on domain owners. This information comes straight from registry operators and registrars, as ICANN doesn’t store such information.
Simply enter the domain name into the search bar and click Lookup. ICANN’s lookup tool will draw the available information about the domain owner from the WHOIS directory and display it on the next page.
Other WHOIS Lookup Tools
Other lookup tools can provide WHOIS information about domain name registrants, such as who.is.
Such lookup tools work similarly to the WHOIS lookup tool employed by ICANN. Simply enter the web address into the search bar and get the domain registration information about the person who owns a domain name you want.
3. Contact the Domain Name Owner
Hopefully, the steps outlined above lead you to some sort of contact information, such as an email address. Now it’s time to find the owner of the domain name and make an offer.
Make sure your email does not look like spam, as the recipient might decide not to open it. Here’s how you can increase the chances of the domain owner opening your email and replying with an answer:
- Use a professional email address. If you have an email address with your business name in it, that’s the one you should use. Otherwise, use an email address with your full name.
- Be mindful of the language. Make sure the subject line is clear and the body of the email conveys your message. Be professional and make it clear that you’re willing to make an offer if the domain name is for sale.
- Make it easy to get in touch. Provide your phone number for a more convenient method of communication.
4. Other Ways to Get Contact Information
If the above methods to find out who owns a domain name were not sufficient, there are other actions to take.
Contact the Domain Registrar
Sometimes the WHOIS lookup tools will only provide the information on the domain’s registrar and nothing on the registrant. In such cases, try to get in touch with the domain registrar and ask them who owns a domain name you’re after.
You can also ask the specific registrar to forward the email that includes your offer and contact details to the owner of the domain on behalf of you. If their customer service is good, they’ll be sure to put in the effort.
Go Around the WHOIS Protection
Some domain owners decide to hide their information by using third-party protection services, such as WhoisGuard. Such services use methods to protect the privacy of their clients by providing their own contact details instead.
The best way to go around this kind of privacy protection is to reach out to third-party company and ask them to pass on the email to the owner. While there are no guarantees that this method will work, it will increase your chances.
Use Social Media
Another method of finding the domain owner is to perform a search on social media websites. Head to Facebook, LinkedIn, or other various channels and try to find the name of the company that is currently using the domain name.
If you find a social media profile related to the brand, write them a message. You may not get in touch with the owner directly, but your message might be passed on if your offer is enticing enough.
Use a Domain Broker
If all else fails, or you’d rather pass on the work to someone else, you can always hire a domain broker. Companies like Sedo offer professional services such as buying and selling domains on your behalf.
This method will result in additional spendings as this service isn’t free. However, it will save you valuable time and energy.
Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how to find out who owns a domain name you want. As mentioned before, even if the new domain name is already registered, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the owner will not be willing to pass on the domain ownership to you.
In short, here’s how you can find and contact the domain owner to make an offer:
- Look for the contact information of the website directly.
- Use a WHOIS lookup tool to find the information on the registrant.
- If the person is using a WHOIS lookup privacy protection service, reach out to their privacy service providers.
- Contact the domain registrar and ask for information on the registrant.
- Hire a domain broker to gather the needed information and make an offer on your behalf.
We hope you found this information to be helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below.