So, you’ve come up with a perfect domain name for your website? Did you also make sure it is short, simple, and goes straight to the point? After all, it’s the URL your online visitors will use to find your site, so make it hard to forget.
Whether you’re planning to create a personal blog or a professional site, your domain will serve as the face of your site. It will give critical clues about you, your site, and its intended audience.
A well-chosen domain name will let you leave a good impression on your audience even before they land on your site. And if you’re making a business site, this is one of the major milestones in establishing your brand.
If you already have a catchy, unique, and brandable name for your soon-to-be-created site - congratulations. However, don’t get carried away until you’ve checked whether that domain name is still available - perhaps you’re not the first person who thought it sounded perfect.
Now, let’s get cracking and find out how you can check if a domain name is available.
How to check domain name availability
There are a couple of ways to check if a domain name is available and all of them are surprisingly simple.
1. Do a simple web search
If you're sure what domain name you wish to use, you can do a simple web search. Open your browser, type in the domain name together with the top-level domain (TDL) extension (let’s say “meow.com”) and hit the Enter button.
If you land on a site - tough luck - the name is taken. If you don’t, it should be available. However, we suggest you double-check relevant search results to be sure.
2. Check domain name registrars
Domain registrars are probably the go-to solution for most people that are searching for a perfect domain name. There, you can do three things: check the availability of a specific domain, get suggestions for similar domains, and register an available domain.
To start, go to one of the best domain registrars - such as Domain.com, Hover, and Dynadot. As soon as you land on any of these sites, you’ll spot a search box - it’s a domain check tool. So, go ahead and type in the domain name your wish to check - you can type it with or without the extension.
In a matter of seconds, the registrar will tell you whether the domain name is available and make a list of similar domains. For instance, since “meow.com” was simply too good to be available, we were left with suggestions such as “babymeow.net”, “meow.blog”, and “happymeow.biz”, which aren’t bad at all.
If the domain name you had in mind is available, go and get it straight away. If you wait for too long, someone else might claim it.
3. Visit web hosting providers
Purchasing a domain name from a web hosting provider works pretty much the same as with domain name registrars. While not all web hosts provide a domain name registration, most of them do - you’ll want to check some of the heavy hitters such as DreamHost, Bluehost, and GoDaddy.
More often than not, a domain name will be a part of the all-in-one package, together with a web hosting service and website builder. Plus, if you subscribe for one year or longer, most hosts will give you a domain free of charge for one year.
4. Search the WHOIS database
Lastly, you can check if your domain name is available by searching through the WHOIS public database. This secure system was specially created to share information about domain names with all those who want to find out more about them. To keep everything up to date, every time someone registers a domain name or updates their DNS records, WHOIS collects that information and adds it to the database.
To find out if a domain name is available, type it into the WHOIS search tool, hit Enter, and look at the results. If it says something like “No data found”, the domain probably isn’t taken, so go and get it.
However, if it is taken, you can find information about the registration date, the registrar that sold it, the name of its owner, and much more. As you might suspect, this can come in useful if you want to get in touch with the domain owner and try to persuade them to sell it to you.
What you can do if a domain name you want isn’t available
If a domain name you wish to use isn’t available, you’ve got two options. The first and simpler one is to search for similar domains and settle for one that works for our site. Here, you can change the extension (let’s say swap “.com” for something less popular like “.cat”) or add a word or a number to your domain name.
However, if you’re bent on getting the domain name owned by someone else, you can search through the WHOIS database, find the current owner, and check if they’re willing to sell it. Also, you could stop by some of the domain name marketplaces and auction sites - such as Sedo, Flippa, and NameCheap - and see if you can find the domain name there.
Find out if a domain name is available right now
Picking the right domain name will give you a head start when it comes to creating a perfect site for your online project.
Now, you should know how to check if a domain name is available - all four ways are fairly simple and you can combine them to get the best results. Also, all is not lost if your first choice for a domain name already has an owner - you can still try to get it for yourself. So, lose no time and go get your domain name right now.
- You can also get a free domain for a year by picking one of the best web hosting services on the market