How to Find the Owner of a Domain Name & Steps to Buy a Pre-owned Domain Name

How to Find the Owner of a Domain Name & Steps to Buy a Pre-owned Domain Name

When it comes to buying or renting a house, location is often the top priority so your friends & relatives can find it easily; the same thing goes for a website. A website without a domain name is like having a home in the middle of nowhere; nobody will be able to find it. This is why a domain name is commonly called a web address- it’s where people go to find your website.

Choosing the right domain for your website is one of the most critical aspects of establishing yourself online. Your website’s domain name needs to be engaging enough to catch one’s attention and memorable enough for easy recall.

But what would you do if you find out that the domain name you’re interested in is already registered under someone else’s name? In this article, we’ll focus on how you can buy a pre-owned domain name. But first, let’s look at how you can find out the owner of the domain name.

How to Find out the Owner of a Domain Name

Before we dive into the steps to find the owner of a domain name, you must ask yourself why you’d want to do this. How will it benefit you? 

Owner’s information can be incredibly useful for numerous reasons, especially when you’re interested in buying an existing domain name. By looking for the owner’s information, you can find all their contact details to get in touch & enquire about the purchase. Also, you get to see when the domain expires. This is perfect if you want to purchase one, as you can see when the domain needs to be renewed and can contact its owner at the ideal time to submit a bid.

The below-mentioned steps will help you find the owner of a domain name. 

Make sure the domain is registered

Your first step should be to check domain registration details to find out if the domain you’re interested in is already registered or not. The easiest way to check this is by searching for the domain name at a registrar. This will help you find if the domain is available or resold as a premium domain, you can easily buy a premium domain name directly from the registrar. If the domain name is listed as unavailable, likely, it’s already registered & you’ll need to turn elsewhere for more details.

Navigate through a Whois Lookup portal

Your next step should be to find a Whois owner Lookup portal. A variety of websites & services allow individuals to access the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Whois Lookup via their distinct portals.

Let’s see how WHOIS lookup works with ICANN WHOIS Lookup. First;  


  1. Open ICANN & type the domain name into the search bar.
  2. Click on the Lookup button. Here we are using (one of the most commonly searched domain names in the world) as an example.
  3. Detailed information will appear on your screen.

Search for the domain you’re interested in

After finding the Whois lookup portal, simply type the domain name,you want to find out more information about in the search bar & press ‘enter’. Whenever a domain owner registers a domain name, they are required to include information such as their name, address, email, and phone number. These Whois domain registration details also include which registrar the domain is at, when the domain was registered, when it could potentially expire, etc.

Find all the information you need in Whois records

If the domain owner is interested in selling their domain name, their contact information will be available in the Whois records. However, sometimes you may find that the domain owner has blocked the information you are looking for, for privacy reasons.

If the domain you are interested in is owned by someone looking for a willing buyer, the steps mentioned above are the easiest way to start negotiating a purchase. But if the seller has hidden their contact information or is not interested in selling their domain name, don’t despair! Below we have mentioned the steps that you can take to buy a pre-owned domain name. 

Steps to Buy a Pre-Owned Domain Name

Here we will cover three ways to buy a domain name, which includes:

  •       Buying directly from the owner
  •       From a marketplace
  •       Through a backorder

Buy Directly from the Owner

The first step to buying a domain name already owned by someone else is to contact the owner & ask them if they want to sell it. The steps involved are:

Step 1: Find the owner’s contact information 

As mentioned above, the easiest way to find the owner’s contact information is to look it up in the WhoIs domain owner’s registration details. Just as a property owner’s name is listed with the local governing body, the domain name owners are listed in the WhoIs directory.

However, domain owners can decline a WhoIs directory listing. If the domain name you’re looking for isn’t listed, you can visit the domain website & find the owner’s contact info there. Checking out the “Contact Us” page of a website’s WHOIS domain name you’re interested to get started.

Step 2: Negotiate a fair price

When buying a taken domain name, there are two things you need to keep in mind regarding the cost:

  •       No owner will sell you a domain name for a very low price. You will have to prepare yourself to make a reasonable price offer.
  •       You’ll need to be very good with your negotiation skills as most domain owners who are willing to sell will try to get the highest price for their domain name.

However, you can look up for similar domain names in the market to make your case for a lower price. Also, you can hire a broker to make the deal for you.

Step 3: Use an escrow service to pay

Wire transfers are typically not a good idea when it comes to paying for a domain name. There are chances that the seller will take the money & run. To eliminate the possibility of any kind of theft or fraud, it is advised to use an escrow service. This will help you ensure that your domain name purchase is secure and legitimate and is exactly as described before you release the payment to the seller. Of course, these escrow services come with a price, but low risk makes it worth the added cost.

Buying from a Marketplace

Buying a pre-owned domain name from the marketplace is often considered a safer option than buying from an individual. There are fewer chances that the seller will scam you & run away with your money.

Step 1: Visit a domain marketplace

There are various domain marketplaces online that you can use to find your perfect domain. Some popular domain marketplaces are: BigRock, Sedo and Flippa.

Step 2: Make your offer

Once you have found the domain name that you like, make an offer to its owner. You can also check the current bid for the domain name of your choice. If the seller likes your offer, they will contact you for further negotiations.

Step 3: Complete the purchase

If your negotiations are successful, you simply pay for the domain name & become the new owner. If you don’t know how to negotiate, you can always hire a professional to negotiate for you.

When you buy a domain from the marketplace, there are nil to very few complications as compared to buying from an individual. All you need to do is simply choose a domain, place a bid, and once your bid is accepted you buy the domain.

Buying Through a Backorder

There are certain situations where you make a great offer, negotiate like a pro, and the domain owner still won’t sell it. As a last resort, you can place a backorder for the domain name.

Thousands of perfectly good domain names expire on a daily basis because their owners have stopped paying for them. In such situations, the domains move back into the marketplace, where others can buy them.

You can place a backorder for these domain names. It is not certain that you will definitely get the domain, but you will be notified instantly if it expires, and then you can easily buy it.

However, a domain stays with its owner for 90 days even after they stop paying for it. You will have to wait for some time before you get a notification about the domain ownership expiration.

Therefore, this method should be considered as the last resort. If you do it, you might have to settle for your second choice while you wait for the domain name you backordered.

Final Thoughts

Buying a domain name that has already been taken is not an easy task; the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. And if the domain owner doesn’t want to sell, then it can even take years to convince them. Thus, it is always recommended looking for a few alternative options while searching for domains. Some other points to consider when buying a domain:

  •       You can estimate your chosen domain’s value by looking at the price of similarly worded domain names in the marketplace.
  •       Before finalizing a domain name, make sure to check if it is or has ever been blacklisted by Google.
  •       See if the domain name you wish to buy is available with some other extension. Maybe you will find it cheaper.

Armed with these tips, you are now much better equipped to buy a domain!

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