image of blue & purple flowers with text overlay introducing how to avoid domain name front running

When you are thinking of creating your own blog or website, one of the first things that comes up is; what is going to be my website or blog name?

Coming up with a unique and creative name goes hand in with checking if that blog or website name is still available and not in use by someone else already. 

Few people know that it’s good to be careful if you want to check if a domain name is still available. If you don’t do this in the right way, you run the risk of your domain name being bought up right before your eyes, and you’ll only be able to buy it back at a premium price.

This is called “front-running” and throughout the years we have seen many cases where people had run into this unfortunate practice. Read on to find out how you can check the availability of domain names while avoiding “front-running“. 

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what is domain name front running?

When you are brainstorming for a name for your business, then you also have to find out if that name is already in use by someone. Often people then go to a domain name registrar’s website (like namesilo or godaddy) and type the name in the search field, but that is not such a good idea.

If your domain name idea is still free, that registar will show you and give you the option to register it (by paying the domain name fee). If you don’t do that immediately, then there is the chance that the next time you’re checking, the name will no longer be available.

What has happened is that the domain registar monitors what people type into their search fields and if the name sounds interesting enough they register it themselves and offer it afterwards as a premium domain (much more expensive usually).

This is called front running.

how to avoid domain name front running

First and foremost; don’t use the sites of domain registrars to look for domain names, only go here if you are really ready to buy your domain name(s).

To safely look at domain name availability, use the ICANN website and carry out a “WHOIS lookup”.

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is an international not for profit organisation that oversees domain name registration. On their website  whois.icann.org you can check the status of a domain name and see if it’s free or already registered.

So for example, if we check our domain websiteswithaheart.com, we see that this domain is already registered and ICANN shows us the publicly available details for this domain, such as contact info and expiry date.

If you search for a domain that’s currently unregistered, you’ll get a message that the domain was not found:

This means that your domain is available and that you can register it if you like.

 

top level domains only (like .com etc)

Please note that through ICANN you can check for the availability of generic  domains. These are domains that end in in the traditional .com, .org, .net, and .info, as well as newer generic extension like .life, .shop, .today, .blog and many more. 

In our Free Domain name E-book you’ll find lots of Brainstorm tips and a link to a resource listing the best domain name extensions for female entrepreneurs to help you come up with creative and unique website & blog names. 

If you want to check for a country specific domain extension such as .co.uk, .au.com, .ca, .us, .nl, .de, etc., then you’ll have to check at the WHOIS database for your country’s registry. In the box below you’ll find links to a few commonly used country specific domain registries where you can check domain name availability.

how to check country specific domains (like .co.uk)

If you want to check for a country specific domain extension such as .co.uk, .au.com, .ca, .us, .nl, .de, etc., then you’ll have to check at the WHOIS database for that country’s registry. In the box below you’ll find links to a few commonly used country specific domain registries where you can check domain name availability.

Country level registries where you can safely check domain name availability

If you country is not on this list, you can find it by Googling: your-country-name domain registry, so for example, Spain domain registry or Brazil domain registry, etc. And then look for the result that has something in there that indicates it’s the overarching domain registry for your country.

 On Wikipedia you’ll find a table with all these country code domains.

You can click on each country code to find out more information about what organization deals with registering of those domains.

Go to the Wikipedia Country Code Top Level Domain list to look for your country code.

If you need any further help with this, send an email to hello@websiteswithaheart.com.

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For more guidance on where and how to register your domain, + a discount code, download our Free Domain name E-book below. And if you have any questions about choosing or registering your blog or website name, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

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