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Research the Availability of the Domain Name You Want

When building a website, you need to research whether the domain name that you or your client is absolutely head over heels in love with is taken.

Step 1 is to type the name in a web browser to see whether you get a hit. Don’t assume that not getting a hit online is a guarantee that the domain isn’t taken, though, because people do purchase domain names and never do anything with them.

For example, if a company already has a .com website, they might also purchase the .biz, .net, and .info extensions to protect their brand name and never use (park) the domains.

So, Step 2 — the next way to find out whether the domain is taken — is to go to the website of a company that sells domain names. There, you can typically find a page or section that you can use to determine whether the domain name you want is available.

For example, run a search at domain registrar (a company that charges you a fee to register the domain of your dreams) GoDaddy.

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You can also use other websites to aid in your search for whether your “perfect domain name” is already taken or free. You can find sites that give you more information about a domain name than a standard registrar.

One such site is Domain Tools. The site offers many services, including finding out which domain names are expiring on a specific date, and which domains are for sale. Some of these services are free, and others require you to become a member. The three types of accounts available are Novice (free), Standard ($29.95 per month), and Professional ($49.95 per month). A 15-day free trial is also available.

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If the domain name you want isn’t available, consider registering a derivative of the name, or choosing a different domain extension. Some registrars offer the option to backorder a domain, but if you need the site up yesterday, that’s not an option.

If the domain name you’re after is popular and it’s already been taken, the domain name may be up for auction. When you research a domain at a registrar like GoDaddy.com, you’ll see alternatives if the domain you want is already registered.

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