How to Check a Domain's History Before Buying It

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
How to Check a Domain's History Before Buying It

Domain names are an essential part of any online business. They can make or break a site and should be chosen with care. As someone looking to start an online business, you know the importance of picking the right domain name. But did you know that you should also check a domain's history before buying it? 

In a recent survey conducted by Pew Research, 36% of respondents said they would not buy a domain name if it had a bad history. So, what counts as a bad domain history? This article will show you how to check a domain’s history quickly and easily.

Why is Checking a Domain's History Important?

Domain names are an essential part of any online business or personal website. Like any other asset, it is necessary to do your due diligence and research a domain's history before making a purchase.

You might want to check a domain's history for many reasons. For example, perhaps you are considering buying an expired domain name that someone else let lapse. Or maybe you want to see if a domain name has ever been blacklisted for spam or other malicious activity.

Buying a domain name with a bad history can have severe consequences for your online business. If you're not careful, you could end up with a domain that:

Has Been Banned By Google

Google's ban policy is as follows: "Google doesn't allow domains that are associated with spam, malware, or phishing schemes to be in our ad network. If your domain is found to be violating our policies, we may suspend it from showing ads."

If Google bans your domain, it will not be able to show ads or organic results on the search engine. This could lead to a significant loss in traffic and revenue for your website. Additionally, being banned by Google can damage your site's reputation and cause potential customers to steer clear.

You can use the Google Safe Browsing Tool to check if Google has banned a domain. In addition, this tool will allow you to see if Google has blacklisted a domain for any reason.

To use the Google Safe Browsing Tool, go to:

Replace with the domain you want to check. If Google has blacklisted the domain, you will see a message saying, "This site may harm your computer."

Associated with Spam or Malware

Another reason you might not want to buy a domain is if it has been associated with spam or malware in the past. This can happen if the domain was previously used to host a spammy or malicious website. If Google or other anti-spam organizations have blacklisted the domain, it could be challenging to get it removed from their databases. As a result, your emails could get flagged as spam, and your website could get blocked by security software.

To check if a domain has been blacklisted for spam or malware, you can use the following tools:

MxToolbox DNS Record Lookup:

Replace with the domain you want to check. Then, scroll down to the "Blacklists" section. If the domain is blocked, you will see a message saying, "This IP is listed in x number of DNSBLs."

Spamhaus:

Replace with the domain you want to check. If the domain is blocked, you will see a message saying, "is listed in the Spamhaus Block List (SBL)."

URIBL:

Replace with the domain you want to check. If the domain is blocked, you will see a message saying, "is listed in the URIBL."

Contains Malicious Code

A domain containing malicious code could infect your computer with malware or viruses. This can happen if the domain's previous owner didn't properly secure their website or the domain was hacked.

To check if a domain contains malicious code, you can use the following tool:

Google Transparency Report:

Enter the domain you want to check. Then, scroll down to the "Domain Status" section. If the domain is safe, you will see a message saying, "No unsafe content found."

If the domain is not safe, you will see a message listing the types of malicious content found on the site.

Has Been Blacklisted by ISPs

If ISPs have blacklisted a domain, it could be difficult for people to visit your website. This is because some ISPs block domains that they deem to be unsafe. As a result, your website could have decreased traffic and visibility.

To check if ISPs have blacklisted a domain, you can use the following tool:

MxToolbox Blacklist Check:

Enter the domain you want to check. If the domain is blacklisted, you will see a message saying, "Blacklist status for xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is Listed."

Has a History of Abuse

You might not want to buy a domain if it has a history of abuse. This can happen if the domain was previously used to send spam emails, host phishing websites, or engage in other malicious activities.

To check if a domain has a history of abuse, you can use the following tool:

AbuseIPDB Domain Checker:

Enter the domain you want to check. If the domain has a history of abuse, you will see a message listing the reported abuse types.

Was Previously Owned by a Suspicious Person or Organization

A suspicious person or organization previously owned a domain could be associated with illegal or unethical activities. For example, this can happen if the domain was used for criminal activity, such as fraud or cybercrime.

To check who previously owned a domain, you can use the following tool:

DomainTools Whois Lookup:

Enter the domain you want to check. Then, scroll down to the "Registrant" section. The registrant's name and contact information will be listed here.

If the registrant's name is withheld, it could be a sign that the previous owner was trying to hide their identity.

If the registrant's name is listed as "Domain Admin," it could be a sign that an organization or company purchased the domain.

Popular Tools to Check a Domain's History

Whether you are looking to buy a previously used domain for your business or website, or you are simply curious about a specific domain's history, a few popular tools can help you obtain this information. Depending on how much detail you are looking for, some devices may be better suited than others.

WHOIS History Lookup

One of the most popular methods for checking a domain's history is to use a WHOIS History Lookup tool. WHOIS is a public records database that lists website domain contact and registration information. A WHOIS History Lookup will show you all of the past and present registrant information for a given domain and any changes that have been made to this information over time.

To use a WHOIS History Lookup, simply enter the domain name into the search bar on a WHOIS website and hit enter. A results page will populate with all of the available information on that domain, including when it was registered, who registered it, and when any changes were made to the registrant information.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a digital library that houses billions of website snapshots dating back to 1996. This makes it an ideal tool for checking a domain's history, as you can see how the site was used in the past and who owned it during different periods of time.

To use the Internet Archive, simply enter the domain name into the search bar on the website and hit enter. A results page will populate with all of the available information on that domain, including when it was registered, who registered it, and when any changes were made to the registrant information.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool that can help you check a domain's link history. Just enter the URL into the site's "Site Explorer" tool and click on the "Referring Domains" tab. This will show you all the websites linked to the domain in question.

If you see a lot of links from spammy or low-quality sites, the domain has likely been used for spam in the past. Unfortunately, this could mean that it's been blacklisted by Google and other search engines, making it very difficult to rank well in search results.

However, it is important to note that Ahrefs is a paid tool, so you will need to sign up for an account in order to use it.

Google

Google provides a few different ways to check a domain's history.

  • The first is to enter the URL into Google and hit enter. This will show you all the pages on that domain that Google currently indexes. If you see many low-quality or spammy-looking results, the domain has likely been used for spam in the past.
  • The second is to use Google's "cache" feature. This will show you the most recent version of a website that Google has indexed. To do this, enter "cache:" followed by the URL into Google. For example, if you want to check the cache for www.example.com, you would enter "cache:www.example.com" into Google.
  • The third is to use Google's "related:" feature. This will show you websites similar to the one you are searching for. To do this, enter "related:" followed by the URL into Google. So, for example, if you want to find websites related to www.example.com, you would enter "related:www.example.com" into Google. This can be a helpful way to find out if a domain has been used for spam in the past and get an idea of what the site was about.

Conclusion

Checking a domain's history before buying it is an intelligent way to avoid problems down the road. By using WHOIS, the Internet Archive, Ahrefs, and Google, you can get a good idea of what a domain has been used for in the past and who has owned it. This information can help you make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase a particular domain.

GET YOUR .INC DOMAIN BEFORE IT'S GONE!

example.inc is available!
check markred "x"

Get the perfect domain for any stage of your business’s growth.

GoDaddy
$999.99
Buy
NameCheap
$999.99
Buy
false