3 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name

How to Find the Owner of a Domain Name

If you’ve found the perfect domain name, but it is already registered to someone else because there is an existing site, you don’t have to give up yet. Domain ownership records are maintained by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in a public WHOIS database, so you can find out who owns a domain name and contact the owner of a website to make an offer on any particular domain name.

Find Out Who Owns A Website With WHOIS Domain Lookup

A WHOIS domain lookup can provide information about domain names, including the name of the domain registrar, the state or country where it is registered, and the name of the organization or individual who owns it. WHOIS tools also provide interesting details, such as the date created and the date updated.

How to Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name

Example Of The Information Provided By WHOIS Lookup

For example, if you do a WHOIS search of cars.com, you will see the registration organization, registration country, that it was first registered on February 11, 1998, and that it was last updated on January 10, 2023. If anything is changed in the WHOIS it will change the updated date. That could be the middle initial of an owner or a change in registrar to a new server.

See below for an example of the information provided by a whois lookup on cars.com:

Registrant OrgCars.com, LLC
Registrant CountryUS
RegistrarMarkMonitor, Inc.
MarkMonitor Inc.
IANA ID: 292
URL: http://www.markmonitor.com
Who is Serverwhois.markmonitor.com, abusecomplaints@markmonitor.com
(p) 1206851750
Registrar StatusclientDeleteProhibited, clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited
Dates9,223 days old
Created on 1998-02-12
Expires on 2024-02-11
Updated on 2023-01-10
Name ServersNS-1005.AWSDNS-61.NET (has 56,656 domains)
NS-1142.AWSDNS-14.ORG (has 51,259 domains)
NS-1879.AWSDNS-42.CO.UK (has 253 domains)
NS-285.AWSDNS-35.COM (has 1,699 domains)
Tech Contact
IP Address23.198.168.98 is hosted on a dedicated server
IP LocationWashington – Seattle – Akamai Technologies Inc.
ASNAS16625 AKAMAI-AS, US (registered May 30, 2000)
Domain StatusRegistered And Active Website
IP History121 changes on 121 unique IP addresses over 18 years
Registrar History2 registrars with 2 drops
Hosting History 7 changes on 7 unique name servers over 21 years

As you can see, WHOIS searches can provide a wealth of domain registration information. However, sometimes the contact information is blocked or made private by the domain owner. We have been seeing this more and more in the domain industry due to privacy laws such as GDPR. If the domain is private, the WHOIS  directory listing will provide an email or a contact form to contact the site owner.

Important Things to Keep In Mind Before You Perform a WHOIS Search and Submit a Message to The Domain Owner

  1. A lot of domain owners with sought-after domain names get an immense amount of spam mail and bad offers. Approaching with a close to fair market offer usually helps give that person an indication that you are serious.
  2. Before you send an offer, it’s a good idea to look at the more popular marketplaces and see if it already has a listed price for sale.
  3. It’s a good idea to consider hiring an experienced professional. Have you ever attempted to do a home project only to spend your day going back and forth to the hardware store only to have to hire a professional to do the job in the end? I’ve seen this same situation happen in the world of domains. Sometimes, instead of wasting time and effort due to a lack of knowledge or experience, hiring an experienced broker is be

They know where to look, what to say, and might already have a relationship with the domain name owner. They might be able to get you a better price in a shorter period. In the case of private domains, our domain brokers can use the communication options that are available or use other methods like looking back at past WHOIS history, in addition to many other tools of the trade. In the end, our experienced brokers will find the domain owner and buy the domain name at a fair market price. 

We use tools and investigative skills to analyze the domain’s ownership history. For example, we may contact past domain name owners to find out to whom the domain was sold and how to find the current website owner. In other cases, finding the decision-maker at the company may take some extra time and effort. Again, this is something that we are experienced and specialized in doing. To set up a consultation with one of our experienced domain brokers, click here.

Once you find the owner, the next step is to make an offer for the domain name. If you have not already done so, you may want to read my article on appraising domain names. When you’re looking to contact the owner of a domain name to make an offer, the first thing you should do is visit the website and look around. It’s important to determine how the company is using the domain (even if the appraisal tells you the domain is worth x amount).

If the domain takes you to a bona fide working business, the company’s livelihood is probably tied to the brand name of the domain, and it will cost significantly more than fair market value. Additionally, even if it’s just a landing page or a dead page, it might be in the company’s plans for a future project. If this is the case, the appraisal may be incorrect, or it may cost a little more to convince the company to change its plans or purchase a new domain name. Whatever the case, be prepared to negotiate the domain’s price by researching the domain before you contact the owner.

Need help with how to find out who owns a domain? Let us know!