Every day, thousands of Internet users research various domain names for a number of reasons. Research can be done to track down illusive domain name owners, to monitor a potential sale or to recover a stolen domain. Fortunately, there are many services available that can help you to conduct effective domain name research. In this article, I’ll run through five services that can be useful.
DomainTools has been in operation for a long time, with the service being the go-to research tool for a
number of people for over 15 years. According to the company’s website, the service is used by government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and security firms to track domain and DNS data.
For domain investors, a free account offers a small amount of WHOIS lookups per day, with very little else available. To take advantage of features such as WHOIS history, domain name monitoring and reverse IP lookups, you would need to upgrade to DomainTools’ “Personal Membership” at a cost of $99 per month. The company recently announced an increase in price from $49 to $99 per month.
WHOIS history is a popular feature of DomainTools that has many uses. For example, you may use WHOIS history if you are trying to trace a domain’s ownership records as a part of your due diligence before buying a name, or for tracing a stolen name.
From the makers of Estibot comes DomainiQ, which provides a whole host of domain name research
services that look to be primarily aimed at investors. DomainiQ allows you to register for a free account, which can be upgraded to one of three monthly packages, providing more data than I can list here.
A free account at DomainiQ offers a limited number of daily services, whilst paid subscriptions that start at $24.95 per month offer WHOIS history reports, identity discovery tools, comprehensive domain portfolio reports and much more.
This impressive service seems to have the majority of the features of DomainTools, with some extra services thrown in. One of my personal favorites is the comprehensive report that allows you to see, in detail, the domains that anyone with public WHOIS listings owns, along with a breakdown of their TLDs, common words and the portfolio’s estimated value.
A no frills, reliable WHOIS lookup tool that offers up-to-date WHOIS records with no fuss. I regularly use this
site if I’m interested in getting completely accurate, up to the minute WHOIS details. The majority of other WHOIS providers use cached data, meaning that some services take a number of minutes to update the WHOIS.
Whois-search.com offers 25 searches per 5 minutes, per IP address which should be enough for anyone. If you’re looking for a stable and free WHOIS provider to check on current records, this is the website to go to.
Another consideration for those who use a lot of domain data is Whoisology. The service, which offers free
and premium accounts, allows you to perform basic WHOIS lookups as well as having access to a number of other data and statistics.
On a free account, you’ll be able to look up a domain name or email address, and view recent WHOIS records as well as see domain names connected to that name’s owner. Premium accounts, which usually start from $30 per month mean you have access to archived data and domain reports.
A free service that I use regularly. Take a look at what a domain name has hosted in the past by using
archive.org’s “Way Back Machine” that has archived over 478 Billion pages of the Internet for you to search. Of course, some sites have restricted archive.org’s access, but the majority of websites are there for you to see.
For a domainer, it’s a useful check before acquiring a name. You may want to check whether the name you’re about to buy has hosted any content in the past. If it has, is it legal? Is anyone going to be searching for the previous owner of the name?
When attempting to sell a name on, I’ve had potential buyers ask what the domain has been used for in the past; it’s good to know this, and give them an answer straight away.