If you are ready to check available domain names, you must be at the point where you are ready to buy a domain name.
You've gathered a list of your top 3-5 desired domains and now it's time to see which ones are actually available for purchase.
I'll give you some ways you can find out which domain names are available.
For this method, go straight to the source by using your web browser to see if a site comes up at a given domain name.
This works no matter what browser you're using, whether it's Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari.
Try typing the domain name you want as a URL into your browser.
If a website comes up, that domain name is obviously taken. You should move on to your next choice.
If nothing comes up, or the browser says website is not found, chances are that domain isn't taken yet. Yay!
You can double check your findings by using another method on this page.
ICANN’s WHOIS lookup searches a database to see if a website domain name has been registered.
If it's already registered, the search results will bring back the contact information of the domain owner.
This resource can be helpful if you want a domain name that's already been registered, but you see it isn't being used. If you really want it, you can try contacting the owner listed to see if they are willing to sell the domain name to you.
Any site that allows you to register domain names have a search availability tool on their website.
There's usually a convenient search box on the registrar's site that allows you to quickly verify whether or not a domain is up for grabs. Some will even suggest alternatives if the one you typed in is not available.
Please do this with caution though. Some web users have complained that their desired domain name was grabbed up by someone else after entering it into untrustworthy sites. This is called domain name front running or poaching.
I haven't experienced this problem before, but others claim it is an issue.
Once you've found an available domain name, register it right away. You can use any registrar of your choice.
And here's a word of advice... If you are using a web designer, don't let them do it for you. Register the domain name yourself, so that you have ownership of it.
It's easy to do and doesn't take much time.
Why is it important for you to own it?
I discuss that more in another article about why you should own and register your business domain name.
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