How To Find out Who Owns a Domain Using WHOIS

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Naming your online store can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a bit stressful. You might come up with a great name, only to find that someone else already owns the domain you want.

Don’t worry. Using the WHOIS tool, you easily can get all the information you need to find out who owns the domain and negotiate a deal to acquire it.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to using WHOIS and setting up your new domain.

How to find out who owns a domain

1. Go to the WHOIS database

To find out who owns a domain, head over to the Shopify WHOIS database. There, you can see details like the registrant’s name, IP address, and maybe their contact info.

Keep in mind, some domains keep this info public, but others might use a domain privacy service provider to keep it hidden from view.

2. Look up the domain URL

To find details about a domain, just type the URL into the WHOIS search bar and hit Search.

WHOIS will first display basic details like the domain registrar, name, ID, and creation date. For example, the screenshot below shows that was created on March 11, 2003, and is registered with MarkMonitor.

WHOIS domain info

From the search results, you can click “View more information” to expand the view and see more information about the domain.

how to find out who owns domain

3. Check whether the contact information is private

In some instances, the WHOIS registration data doesn’t reveal the contact information of the domain registrant in search results.

Instead, it acts as a middleman between you and the registrant. In other words, the WHOIS lookup tool safeguards the domain owner’s identity while still offering enough information to find a way to contact them.

So if you come across a domain where the contact information is private, it means you’ll need to take a few extra steps to find the owner and reach out to them.

4. Locate registrant contact information

If the domain owner’s details are hidden, try searching online for the company behind the domain. Check their Contact or About pages for info on their founders or leadership team.

If you can’t find that, see where the company is registered and look for relevant databases listing registered businesses. For instance, if the domain is owned by a Texas-based company, you can use local databases to find business ownership by company address, name, or registered agent name.

What to do when after find out who owns a domain

Once you know the owner of a domain you want to acquire, the next step is finding out how to contact them, and negotiate a deal to transfer ownership.

1. Contact the domain name owner

The first step is to get in touch with the domain name owner. If you followed the previous steps, you should already have their info. But if you need another way to get in touch, here’s what you can do.

Start by Googling their name. You can try searches like “[name] email” or “[name] contact details.” If that doesn’t help, databases like Hunter and LinkedIn can assist in finding the contact info for the domain owner. database

If you manage to get in touch with the domain owner, try and negotiate a deal for its transfer. Prepare a quote by considering the domain’s value. You can quote a lower figure if the site is outdated and ranks low. However, begin with a higher offer for sites with strong online presence. You can continue to negotiate until you reach an agreement or get a counter offer that suits both parties.

2. Negotiate to acquire the domain

If the domain owner responds, try to negotiate a deal for the acquisition of the domain. Come up with an offer by considering its domain authority or the search equity the site has. For example, if the site barely ranks, you might offer $200 to $500, but for a well-established site, start at around $1,000.

Continue negotiating until you reach a mutually acceptable price. You can keep adjusting your offer based on the responses you receive. Then, agree to a deal once you find common ground or receive a counteroffer that meets your expectations.

3. Move your site to the new domain

After you get the new domain, you should move your existing site to it. (If you’re building a website from scratch, skip this step and continue building your site.)

If you’re on a platform like Shopify, it’s easy to migrate your site. You can easily transfer to or from almost any online site builder. Shopify offers detailed guides and support to make the process smooth and hassle-free.

4. Brainstorm other ideas for your domain name

If your desired domain name isn’t available, it’s time to look for another domain or come up with new ideas.

Here are some tips to help you choose a domain name without starting from scratch:

  • Consider another top-level domain (TLD). A TLD follows the dot in a web address. While .com is popular, you might also look at .org, .biz, or .shop, depending on your business type.
  • Add a word (or two) to your domain name. Words like “buy” or “shop” make great additions. For example, if isn’t available, try or
  • Utilize a domain name generator. Shopify’s free tool can help. Input your ideas and keywords, and it will offer creative alternative domain names for your business.

Secure your domain with Shopify

Ready to start with your new website domain? Make it official with Shopify. When you register your domain with Shopify, you gain access to a complete set of business tools. Shopify helps you manage everything from inventory and shipping to marketing and more, making it easy to build a successful online business.

How to find out who owns a domain FAQ

What is the WHOIS database?

The WHOIS database keeps track of all registered domain names on the internet. Managed and updated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), it serves as a comprehensive directory of domain information.

You can use this database to find details about domain names, such as their current registrar, name servers, registration and expiration dates, IP addresses, and the owner’s contact information.

Can anyone use WHOIS?

Yes, anyone can use the WHOIS database. It’s a public resource that offers information about domain names. Anyone with an internet connection can access it.

What is WHOIS used for?

WHOIS is a protocol for retrieving details about domain names. It helps identify the domain owner, registration and expiration dates, and other administrative contacts. Additionally, WHOIS can reveal the registrar managing the domain and provide technical information about its configuration. All this info is valuable for someone looking to get in touch with the current domain owner and transfer domain ownership.

What information can you get from WHOIS data?

WHOIS is a public database with details about domain names and their owners. Here’s what you can find through a WHOIS lookup:

  • Domain’s creation and expiration dates
  • Registrant’s name
  • Telephone number
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Server information
  • Technical and administrative fields

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