How to find out who owns a domain: 8 main methods
A domain is a unique identifier for various electronic websites, stores or web pages. Sometimes you may need to find out who owns a particular domain. In this article, we will discuss a few basic techniques that will help you find out the owner of a domain, and also identify the main reasons why you might need to know the contact details of a domain owner.
First of all, the meaning of two main concepts should be remembered:
What is a domain? It is a system of Internet addresses that is used to identify and access web pages and other Internet sites. It is a unique text or sequence of characters (between 1 and 63 characters) that allows users to easily access desired websites using unique addresses. For example: “elnis.lt” is a domain.
A domain is composed of two main parts: a domain name (e.g. “elnis“) and a domain extension (e.g. “.lt“). A domain name is a unique name that people use to identify and remember a website more easily. A domain extension (top-level domain – TLD) indicates the type of website or assigns it to a specific country (Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD) or a specific area (Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD) ): .edu for educational organizations, .gov for government organizations, .mil for the military, etc.
Domain names are managed and registered by special organizations called domain registries. They are responsible for registering, managing and distributing domains. To register a domain, you need to contact a domain registrar or do it through dedicated registration platforms.
A domain owner is the person or organization that owns a particular domain. The domain owner can be a natural person or a legal entity, such as a company, organization, government institution, etc. The owner has the right to manage and control the domain and determine what information will be displayed to website visitors. This includes settings such as email email addresses, server settings, DNS settings, etc.
Wanted to register a domain but it’s already taken? Don’t be discouraged, because there may still be a way out!
It is important to note that the purchase of an occupied domain may involve certain legal and financial conditions and agreements between the current owner and the potential buyer. Be prepared that various difficulties may arise during the process, such as a higher price than you can afford or the owner may simply refuse to sell the domain. But to be able to find out all the conditions, you must first contact the current owner.
The main methods of finding out who owns a domain:
- WHOIS search is one of the most reliable ways to find out the owner of a domain
WHOIS is a useful and very popular tool for finding out who owns a domain. WHOIS is a public internet protocol for retrieving information about domains. Typically, these search tools allow you to enter a domain name and get detailed information about the domain owner (commander, surname, contact phone number), domain registration and expiration date, domain status, registration technical contact and other detailed data. Unfortunately, it is also possible that you will not find out the information you want, as privacy protection measures may be applied to the domain owner’s personal data, which will limit the ability to obtain complete information about the owner through a WHOIS search. Throughout the European Union, the information of domain owners is stored in accordance with the general regulation GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Every domain owner can check what WHOIS information is publicly available about him: who.is by entering the domain name without www in the search box on the website.
- ICANN WHOIS lookup
The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regulates domain name registration and ownership. They also provide a public WHOIS lookup service that you can use to get information about domains. The ICANN WHOIS lookup is similar to other WHOIS tools. Try it and see for yourself.
- Domain broker service
As some companies (eg godaddy.com) offer an additional paid service: Domain broker. After purchasing the service for a fixed one-time price, a special broker will help you formulate a strategy and budget for trying to purchase the desired, currently occupied domain. He works with the current domain owner to try to take over the domain for the lowest possible price while keeping your identity confidential. If successful, if the owner agrees to the sale, the Domain Broker closes the deal for you: You pay the agreed sale price plus a 20% commission. Then the domain is safely transferred to you.
- Contact the domain registrant
A domain registrar is a company or organization that registers and manages domains. Their contact information is often listed in WHOIS data. Contact the registrant’s customer service and provide them with the domain name, they may be able to provide you with information on who owns the domain or be able to broker an opportunity to purchase an occupied domain.
- Wait until the desired domain becomes AVAILABLE
We have discussed the domain cycle in the previous article (read more and know all the stages of a domain: Every domain owner must know about it: domain life cycle) If the registration of the current domain owner is not renewed/extended and the domain expires, it will become vacant and available to others. This is a great chance for you if you want to buy a currently occupied domain.
- “Contacts” page of the domain website
At first glance, this is a self-explanatory step that should be done first: check whether the desired domain address is active and perhaps there is a published website where contact information about the website owner can be provided on the “About Us” or “Contacts” page. If the site is published and used, the chances of repurchasing it may be low, but trying to contact the provided contacts is necessary if this is a domain that is really important to you.
Auctions are a popular way to acquire occupied domains, especially when the domain has high potential or is valuable because of specific words, trademarks, or other features. There are many online platforms where you can search for and purchase occupied domains through auctions: GoDaddy Auctions, Sedo, NameJet, Flippa and others. Choose a platform that meets your needs and confidence. It’s worth noting that auctions can involve multiple people seeking to purchase the same occupied domain, which can lead to competition and increase the price of the domain.
- Domain capture service
This service is available if the domain you are interested in is in Quarantine. If the domain is not renewed by the current owner for the Quarantine period, which lasts 30 days, which companies offer a domain capture service for an additional fee. For example this service is provided by UAB “Domenus”. in 2023 07 months according to the data, the price of the domain capture service is EUR 32.99 (the fee is paid only in case of success: when the domain is registered in your name).
Some of the most common reasons for wanting to know who owns a registered domain
1. Business research. Some people want to know the owner of a domain and related information for business purposes. This may include conducting competitive research to obtain information about competitors, their operations, product or service offerings, etc. Also, it is not uncommon for business professionals to establish a connection with the domain owner, due to the possibility of cooperation or creating a partnership.
2. Domain acquisition. There are cases when people want to know who owns a domain because they want to buy it. This can be related to several situations:
- Some people are interested in domain market prices and potential sales or acquisition deals. By finding out who owns the domain they want, they can get information about the current owner’s identity and see if the domain is for sale or if there is an option to buy it from the current owner.
- For some businesses or brand owners, it is important to know who owns the domain that is associated with their business or brand. It can help you identify existing or potential competitors, assess the market situation and opportunities, and plan the development of your business or brand.
- Sometimes people have a specific idea or project that they want to assign the right domain to. They may want to know if the domain they want is already registered and if it is possible to purchase this domain from the current owner. In case of failure, he will have to create an alternative domain.
- Most common case: company development. After purchasing a domain with the extension .lt, after some time the company’s strategy changes or the company grows, you want to purchase the same domain name, e.g. with the .com extension, which unfortunately is often already taken.
3. Website owner identity verification. Internet users may want to know who owns a domain, ie. who is the owner of the site, in order to determine its reliability, authenticity or simply to find out who is responsible for the content provided on the site. This becomes especially important if there is online commerce and the user needs to provide personal or financial information or wants to communicate with the site administrator.
4. Solving domain problems. In some cases, people want to know the owner of a domain in order to solve a problem related to the domain. This may be related to copyright infringement or misuse of the domain. By knowing the identity of the owner, people can take the necessary steps to protect their rights or resolve conflicts without the intervention of third parties.
5. Law enforcement and security. Police, law enforcement agencies or security professionals may need to know the owner of the domain, for various investigations or legal processes. This may involve online fraud, transmission of confidential information, cybercrime or other acts that may be harmful to the public or the rights of the accused.
In this article, we discussed several methods of finding out who owns a certain domain and highlighted the main reasons why you might need to find out the contact details of the domain owner. Methodologies provide certain information and the ability to reach the domain owner and can help with business research, domain acquisition, or the desire to find out who owns a certain domain due to a specific business or brand connection. It is important to note that, unfortunately, there may be privacy protections in place that limit access to full information about the domain owner.