Why You Should Check Domain History Before Buying

Stay Safe Stay Updated August 8, 2023
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Why You Should Check Domain History Before Buying

Your domain name is an important element of your online business, and having the right domain name can make or break your site. Picking the right domain name may sound easy: find a domain name you like, and buy it. But, not so fast! 

Did you know that you should also check domain history before committing to purchasing your domain name? But what counts as bad domain history? And why is it important to check domain history before you buy? 

What information do you get from checking domain history? 

A domain ownership history check is a bit like checking the service history of a used car you are interested in buying. You want to know what it’s been used for, has been well maintained, and is likely to cause you any problems in the future. 

You wouldn’t start a big project without a properly planned out project request form, and you shouldn’t buy a domain name without checking the domain history. 

With a domain history check, you can find out: 

  • What the domain has been used for
  • When it was first registered
  • If the domain has been involved in any illegal activity 
  • If the domain has been associated with spam or malicious activity 
  • Previous sales history 
  • Domain reputation with search engine results 

Investigating which domains might be right for your business is essential. Tech companies might want to look at .io domain names, whereas international organizations may opt for a .com domain. Taking the time to check domain history can also provide lots of useful information for domain buyers and ensure your purchase is the right one for you. 

Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

Why check domain history?

When you purchase anything second-hand you would always want to know the ownership history. Buying a domain name is no different. 

Checking domain history can be particularly useful when choosing a domain name in a new territory. For example, a company expanding into Hong Kong would want to ensure their hk domain name was going to be the right choice for growing their business. 

Buying a domain name with a bad history can have negative consequences for your business. Read on for five reasons you might want to check domain history. 

1. Ensure the domain isn’t associated with spam or malware

You should check that your chosen domain hasn’t been associated with spam or malware in the past. If you purchase a domain that was previously used to host a malicious website, it can be difficult to get this information removed from databases.

This could cause your website to be blocked by security software, or for your emails to be marked as spam. Both can be disastrous for business and something you definitely want to avoid. 

Many businesses use a variety of productivity tools, such as candidate management systems for managing the recruitment process. It is just as important to use tools to check if a domain has been blacklisted for spam. 

2. Ensure the domain is secure

If a domain contains malicious code that can infect your computer with malware or viruses, you want to know about it! This can happen when previous domain owners didn’t properly secure their websites or if they were the victim of hacking. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

This is something you definitely want to avoid, and you can check if a domain contains malicious code using the Google Transparency Report. If the domain is not safe, you will be given a list of the types of malicious content found on the site. You can then avoid giving yourself lots of problems by choosing to purchase a different domain. 

3. Ensure the domain hasn’t been banned by Google

If the domain has, in fact, been associated with spam or malware, or is malicious in any way, it may be banned by Google. This can be very damaging for large organizations as well as small home businesses.

If your domain is banned by Google, it will not be able to show ads or organic results on the search engine. This clearly will affect the amount of traffic to your website and can also damage your reputation. 

Use the Google Safe Browsing Tool to check if Google has banned or blacklisted a domain, and ensure you don’t end up with a domain that will harm your reputation or revenue. 

4. Check the domain hasn’t been blacklisted by ISPs

ISPs can block domains that they deem to be unsafe, and once a domain has been blacklisted by ISPs, it is very difficult to undo. 

A domain that has been blacklisted will lead to significantly decreased website traffic and visibility, ultimately affecting the success of your business. 

To check if ISPs have blacklisted a domain, you can use the MxToolbox Blacklist Check

5. Check the domain wasn’t previously owned by suspicious organizations

Sometimes a domain can be associated with illegal, unethical, or suspicious activities. If a domain was used for fraud or cyber crime, for example, you would want to know about it. 

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

You can check who has previously owned the domain by using DomainTools Whois Lookup. If a registrant’s name is withheld, this could be a sign that they are trying to hide their identity, and you may want to look further into the domain’s history. 

Final thoughts

In the same way that call tracking for call center management is common practice, checking domain history before purchasing should be too. When it comes to domain names, history matters. Make sure you have as much information about the domain and its history before you make a purchase for your online business.

Taking the time to check domain history is a worthwhile task that can save you from making a mistake and committing to a domain that is going to cause your business problems in the future. Use the tips set out in this article to ensure you pick the right domain for you and that you know the domain history before you buy.