How to Check a Domain's History

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Domain name registration provides the registrant with Internet "real estate." An important component of online businesses, a good relationship with search engines--like Google, Yahoo or Ask--contributes to the success of the domain. Domain names are indexed by search engines, which means that the information on a website turns up in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users enter search terms and keywords. When previously owned domains have acquired a ban from a major search engine, they are penalized and no longer appear in SERPs. As a result, researching and checking the history of a domain prior to purchase is important.

Check Historical Domain Content

  • Visit the Wayback Machine. As of 2010, the Internet Archive’s "Wayback Machine” (Archive.org) houses a database of over 150 billion web pages from 1996, according to the Archive.org website. Researching old content will allow you to determine if the domain has a history of questionable business practices.

  • Enter the domain name. Once you reach the Wayback Machine’s homepage, enter the domain name search text box. You can enter www.domainname.com or domainname.com.

  • Start your search. Click the “Take me back” button to begin your search. The Wayback Machine will return results for the domain you entered. If there is information to be found, the page will list the year and the number of available pages.

  • Check the content history of the domain name. Review content history by clicking the date for each entry that interests you. The Wayback Machine will return content, available images and any other information from the selected time period.

Check Historical Domain Ownership

  • Visit the Domain Tools (Domaintools.com) database, which provides a listing of ownership records and hosting history. The site requires a minimum membership fee of $15 per month as of March 2010. Visit the website and click the “Domain History” link.

  • Sign-up for an account. Click the “Read more about memberships” link at the bottom of the “Domain History” page. Review the membership features and prices on the membership page. Select a membership that is suitable for your situation and complete the sign-up process.

  • Check domain history. Once you have compelted the membership process, return to the “Domain History” page and enter the domain you would like to research. The site will return a listing of years that correspond with changes to the domain. Click each date you are interested to find out more about the transaction.

  • Visit the WhoIs database. The WhoIs (Whois.net) database provides information on the registrant, technical and administrative contacts of Internet entities. Visit the site and conduct a check by entering the domain name in the “WHOIS Lookup” text box. Click the “Go!” button. WhoIs will return information on the registrant of the selected domain name.

References

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