How to find out who owns a domain name

Search the domain on WHOIS database

There are many sites and companies that offer a WHOIS database Search.  I prefer to use the official Nominet WHOIS search tool as there’s no adverts compared to some of the commercial sites.

A WHOIS database search will show you:

  • The name of the registrant.
  • The TAG the domain is registered on.
  • Date the domain was registered on and the date it will expire.
  • If the domain is registered, suspended or available to register.

Check the Registrar Tag for more information

The registrar tag section of the WHOIS data is a good indication of the type of domain owner.  A domain tag from a registrar e.g. Namecheap on [Tag = NAMECHEAP-INC] or 123reg on [Tag = 123-REG] is likely to indicate the domain owner is a business owner, individual or small level investor.

A domain banker or investor will have so many domains registered that it is cheaper for them to become their own registrar tag.  They are more than likely have their own tag e.g. Garth Piesse on [Tag = COHERENT-NZ] or [Tag = MEMORABLE] for Memorable domains.  Domains registered to tags like these are less likely to drop and are

Look in the web archive

The web archive “Wayback Machine” at is a great place to research the history of domain names.  If a domain has been used by a business in the past it is a good tool for finding contact information for the domain owner.  Domains that have no historical data in the archive may indicate that they have been banked by an investor.

Domains that have been used for spam or phishing sites at some point in their history may also subject to Google penalties or suspensions.  This is of particular interest for domain investors searching the history of a domain name.  Starting with a domain tagged as “spam” with Google is going to be an uphill battle for a new business.

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