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How to Find Out Who Owns a Domain

Why would you ever need to know the ownership of a domain?

Well, sometimes you’re just curious about who owns a website but sometimes domain info can be much more valuable.

If you want to know how to find out who owns a domain name, then you need to start with a who is?

Stick around and we will show you how to find out the owner of a domain, why you need to check a domain, and how to search for a domain of your very own.

Looking up who owns a domain name

The first thing you need to know is that WHOIS is not an acronym. It’s a rare internet find where the word just makes sense.

Who is the owner of this domain and how can I find them?

A WHOIS lookup (also known as a WHOIS IP checker) is a simple method to gain contact information and find out who owns a site.

Here’s an example of how WHOIS lookup works with ICANN WHOIS Lookup:

  1. Open ICANN and type in the domain name into the search bar.
  2. Click on the Lookup button. Here we’re using Facebook.com as an example.
  3. Detailed information will appear on your screen.

Ever wondered who is behind a certain website?

If you’re looking for a way to check who owns a domain name, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we discuss how you can find out a domain owner’s information easily by using a WHOIS lookup tool.

Hermit the Frog typing gif

Looking up who owns a domain name

Most of the time, registered domain owners don’t hide their contact details. This makes the process of finding out the owner quite simple.

All you need to do is open a domain lookup tool, and type in the domain name in the search bar.

Here’s an example of how to do this with ICANN Lookup:

  1. Open the ICANN tool and type in the domain name into the search bar.
  2. Click on the Lookup button. Here we’re using Facebook.com as an example.
  3. Detailed information will appear on your screen.
icann domain lookup information

Did you notice that the domain lookup doesn’t show the domain owner?

It is one of the most commonly searched domain names in the world and everyone knows the domain name owner since they are probably the most famous person on the internet.

Still, you might want to find out, right?

Sometimes you want to know how to find out who owns a domain even when the domain owner doesn’t want you to.

It’s not as sinister as it sounds and we will cover that in a later section.

Realistically, the question of who is the domain owner is all about finding out the contact details and information of an already registered domain so that you can buy it.

And the best way to find out about the owner of a domain? WHOIS.

Choose your WHOIS lookup tool

There’s a bunch of different WHOIS lookup options online to check who owns a domain.

These tools help you quickly search the WHOIS database. They provide such information as:

  • Contact details of the domain owner
  • The domain name registration.
  • The expiration date.

Here are some of the most popular picks:

ICANN Lookup

icann lookup page

The Interner Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) provides a simple summary of the WHOIS records. You see:

  • The expiry date.
  • The owner of the domain.
  • The registration date.
  • Where the domain points to.

It is available in a number of languages. It also provides useful information about registration policies and other topics.

WHOis.net

whois net lookup

WHOis.net has been available since the late 90s and is very easy to use. You can conduct the WHOIS search either with an IP address or a URL.

WHOis.net provides detailed information on whether a domain name is available. If it is not, it will tell you who owns it and where it points to.

WHO.is

whois search page

This simple search tool provides comprehensive details on the standard articles of inquiry about a domain name: its status, servers, and expiration dates. If available, you will see the owner’s contact info as well.

Buying and transferring the domain name

Domain registration is a first-come-first-serve business. No two persons can be the owner of the same web address.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that the domain registrar cannot transfer their domains to other registrants.

In reality, this is why WHOIS records and information on the registrars of domains is made public in most cases.

Still, you may encounter problems along the way and in this case, there are a few things you need to do:

Step 1: Educate yourself

Before we go any further, be aware that in some cases, information and data on the domain owners has been hidden.

In such cases, it is possible that the site owner is using domain privacy software.

There are a variety of reasons that a website owner might want to keep their name out of the eye of the world but in the end, it almost always comes down to privacy protection.

If you use a WHOIS record service and the contact information of the domains are completely generic then it is likely that domain forwarding software is being used to keep the information of those domains private.

If this is the case, then your best bet to find some way to contact the owner through the website.

Step 2: The old fashioned way

Thanks to the world of social media, privacy is a legitimate concern, and WHOIS records may show contact information that the current administrator or registrar would rather keep quiet about until asked.

This could be something as simple as a domain name renewal date or something more sensitive such as a billing contact.

If the information on a domain name is private that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck in your journey to becoming the registrar.

More often than not, website owners will have a place with contact information for people to reach them on their site.

It could be a physical company address, email address, phone number, customer service, or social media. All of this info can help you get in touch with your domains query.

Step 3: Find a domain broker

One less common and more expensive option is to find a domain broker that will guide you through all the steps we have just mentioned.

Buying a domain name will come at a price and it is hard for the average person to make a valuation on a domain name based solely on the products and promotions offered by the current registrar.

A domain broker will value a domain and take steps to make offers based on terms you might not have considered.

Yes, you could use search engines to run some background checks on the site owner and others, but in more than one case, these steps might be best left to the professionals.

Thanks to their expertise in the niche, this option is likely to be the most effective.

Step 4: Transfer the domain

Thanks to the advice in the steps above, we are going to assume that through email, or whatever your chosen medium, you have successfully taken possession of the domain and are the proud owner of your new brand name.

Luckily, that was the hard bit.

Now, all you need to do is a domain name transfer.

Anyone, with any history in creating websites, will tell you that a domain name transfer was a nightmare.

Keyword: “was”.

As the new owner of your domainyou will need to get an EPP code especially if you are switching between hosting companies.

EPP articles cover this in greater detail but more often than not, a simple email to the customer success of the hosting service will be enough to find this out.

Why check domain details?

With so many web hosting options out there it is not always practical to go after domain names with a registered owner.

Given the growing trend for ‘domain flipping’ businesses – where people buy domain names to resell them at a higher price – take a moment to consider privacy concerns.

Keep in mind that it could harm your reputation as the domain name owner if you buy a domain that has been regularly “flipped”.

In this instance checking the domain can be a good indicator of the legitimacy of a registrar.

Having a brand name or email that is associated with such websites may put people off visiting your website.

An SSL certificate can defend the privacy of your customers’ email but it can’t protect their opinion of the site’s name and its owner.

Tip 💡 – Top website builders and web hosting providers usually offer domain and SSL security packages as part of their plans. For example, Hosting Data lists the best web hosting sites in the UK, making it easy to compare different providers beforehand.

Written by

Author avatar

Martina

Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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