Domain names are the cornerstone of the internet. Let’s say you want to purchase one and you can’t decide whether it’s available or not; how can you find out then? In this article we’ll walk you through the different ways that you can use to check domain availability and what can you do if the domain name that you want isn’t available.
First things first: What is a domain name?
A domain name is the foundation of your website and it plays a role in how people find you online. Domain names were created to make IP, or Internet Protocol addresses more human-friendly.
So what is an IP address? It is a unique set of numbers (like 188.8.131.52) that are assigned to every computer on the internet. While computers require IP addresses to locate one another, we can just use domain names. Think of IP addresses like street addresses as they identify where a computer is located on the Internet and help route information so that it can easily travel between computers. The Domain Name System (DNS), takes domain names goddaddy.com and translates them into IP addresses that computers need to communicate.
So that when visitors enter your domain name into a Web browser, the browser uses your domain name to find the correct IP address and, in turn, passes back the website associated with that IP address.
Do you need help choosing the right domain name? This article has 10 tips that will help you choose the perfect domain name. If you’re also wondering about the steps that you need to buy one, you can check this article that explains how to buy a domain name in three steps only.
Also, before choosing a domain name don’t forget to check this guide on domain name extensions.
How to check domain availability
There are a couple ways to see if a domain you want is available. The below points explain the methods that you can use to check if a domain name is available:
- Simply type the domain name in your search bar: The first and easiest way is to check through your browser if someone used this domain name for their website or not.
- Check online domain registrar or web hosting platforms: In order to find out if a domain name is available or not you need to use a domain registration search tool. GoDaddy offers a domain search tool. All you’ll need to do is type the domain name that you want in the search bar and press enter. Then you’ll get the preview below that shows whether the domain name is taken or not and the alternatives:
Then you can select the domain names that you wish to register and purchase them. When you purchase a domain name you basically take it off the market so that nobody else can register it as long as you renew it.
What if the domains is unavailable
There are instances where the domain name that you are looking to register is already taken – like the screenshot above – so what can you do about that?
When the domain name is taken, this means that someone else registered it. Let’s say you really want this domain name; what you can search the WHOIS domain lookup and find out who the owner is and reach out to them and give them an offer to buy it from them.
Feel like it’s too much work for you? Easy, you can sign up to GoDaddy’s Domain Name Broker tool, and your domain broker will negotiate with the current owner on your behalf to get the name for you.
We hope you found this guide useful on how to check domain availability, and now you’re ready to go snatch the domain name that you want. If you’re interested in more domain name related content you can check our blog for more educational and inspirational information.