When you’re creating a website for your business choosing a domain name is essential. The domain name for your business’s website is an important part of your branding. Having a domain name that’s highly relevant to your business also helps your customers find you.
In a perfect world, the domain name for your website would be the name or a simplified version of the name of your business. However, because there are so many websites on the web, finding your perfect domain name can be difficult.
You’re probably wondering how to check if a domain name is available so you can know whether you’ll be able to get that perfect domain name. This guide will walk you through the process. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
The easiest way to see if your preferred domain name is available is to try it out! In your web browser type in www.thedomainnameyouwanthere.com in the bar that shows the domain name of the webpage you’re viewing. Obviously, type in the domain name you’re looking for instead of “thedomainnameyouwanthere.”
Press enter and then see if a webpage opens. If a functioning webpage opens, then the domain name is taken. If no functioning website is attached to that domain name you’ll see one of two things. You’ll either see an error page or you’ll see content on the page that offers to sell you the domain name.
Do not be fooled by the offer to purchase the domain name. That usually means that the domain name is already registered to another business or individual. It may be available for sale by that individual or business, but they’re likely to charge an exorbitant amount for the domain name.
If the webpage goes to an error page, you know the domain name is available!
Once you’ve determined that there’s not an active website for your preferred domain name, you’ll want to check the WhoIs record for the domain name. What is a WhoIs record and why do you need to check it?
The WhoIs record for a domain name provides the history of that domain name. It will show you if that domain name has ever been registered to another company or individual and when it was registered to them. This is important information to have because it will let you know if the domain name is likely to get traffic from people looking for the business that used to own the domain name.
If the WhoIs record shows no previous registrants for that domain name, then you know that your business is the first to use that domain. This is the ideal scenario because it means your business will be the only one associated with the domain name.
If the WhoIs record shows that the domain name is currently registered to someone else, that means the domain name is not actually available even if there’s not an active website associated with it.
WhoIs will offer you the option to purchase the domain if it’s available, but this is not usually the best option for your business. A good domain name registrar provides more services than simply registering your domain name. So, you’ll want to look for a good company domain name registrar from whom to purchase and register your domain name.
If you really want a specific domain name, but it’s already registered there are a few options.
The best and cheapest option is to explore alternatives that are very close to your preferred domain name. You could see if a different top-level domain is available. Top-level domain refers to the end of the domain name, which is usually .com.
Most businesses want a domain that ends in .com because this is the most common top-level domain. But if your domain name isn’t available as .com, it may be available as .co or .biz or .net. Purchasing your preferred domain name with a different top-level domain allows you to keep the branding associated with your preferred domain name.
Another way to explore alternatives is to try shortening your business name or using common abbreviations in the domain name. This may end up being a better domain name anyway since simple domain names are easier to remember and include in advertising.
If you’re absolutely set on getting the domain name you want there are some options. You can look up the WhoIs record to see who currently manages the domain and contact them directly. If there’s an active website at the domain it’s very unlikely they’ll be willing to sell you the domain, but you can always put in an offer.
If there isn’t an active website and the domain is still registered, you’re probably dealing with a domain reseller. Some businesses will purchase and register domain names for the sole purpose of reselling them at ridiculous rates. Be aware that you will be paying way over market value for the domain name and you won’t be getting the additional services provided by a reputable registrar.
This isn’t recommended unless you absolutely have to have the specific domain name.
Once you find an available domain name that will work for your business you’ll want to move forward with purchasing and registering the domain. There are lots of services out there that will help you purchase and register a domain name, but not all of these services are created equal.
For the best domain purchase and registration experience, you’ll want to use a reputable domain registrar. These services will not only sell you the domain and help you register it they’ll also offer domain support and management. This will make it easier for you to ensure that your domain name stays yours and that you get the support you need if there are any issues with your domain.
Finding a domain name that works for your business and a domain registrar that fits your needs can be a complicated process. We hope this guide has cleared up how to check if a domain name is available and how to move forward from there.
If you have additional questions or want more information feel free to check out our blog, where our experts share their advice regularly or contact us today!