Who Owns This Domain Name? How to Look Up a Domain’s Registrant

Who owns this domain name? Landing on a domain name that you’re interested in acquiring, without any obvious signs of who owns the name, can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are several services available that will let you find details on a domain name’s registrant. Several services also offer historical registrant data. Here are my picks for services to look up a domain name’s registrant.


DomainTools – My Choice for Complete Records

DomainTools, accessed at DomainTools.com, is a stalwart of the domain data niche. Founded in 2002, DomainTools now focuses much of its attention on investigative software, but at its core is a powerful WHOIS database.

The data available from DomainTools includes up-to-date current records for domain names, allowing access to full information for the registrant, registrar, and nameserver data when applicable. Beyond the simple WHOIS lookup is DomainTools’ WHOIS history database.

This paid feature, part of the $99/month personal membership package, allows users to access historical WHOIS records from a comprehensive database that can span decades. It’s the most complete WHOIS history database that I’ve used.


DomainIQ – My Compromise for Price & Historical Records

While you can access DomainTools’ live WHOIS database for free, DomainIQ is a membership-only service from Intelium Corp., the company behind Estibot. DomainIQ, which is accessible for a monthly membership fee from $24.95/month, allows members to search for live WHOIS listings, as well as access historical listings.

In my experience, the DomainIQ historical WHOIS database isn’t as comprehensive as the DomainTools database. However, for the money, the WHOIS historical records plus the other tools made available by DomainIQ are worth the money, especially if you need to look up historical WHOIS records multiple times per day or week.


WHOIS.com – My Choice for Live Data

What if you want to simply check a domain’s live WHOIS data with up-to-the-second accuracy? Fortunately, there are several free services available for this. My personal favorite is WHOIS.com, which offers an easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasing interface to view live WHOIS data.

By visiting whois.com/whois, you’ll be able to type in any domain name and search for registrant data.

The relevant WHOIS data will appear. You’ll notice that in the top right-hand corner of the image above, there’s a “refresh” sign. Clicking this will update the WHOIS data to the current live data, perfect for checking very recent registrant or status changes. With WHOIS.com, you can update this live data every thirty minutes.


GoDaddy WHOIS – My Choice for GoDaddy Domains

Thanks to GDPR and CCPA, many domain registrars have been obscuring WHOIS data for years, meaning that it can be difficult to make contact with the domain’s registrant. GoDaddy, as well as some other registrars, have introduced a contact system for GoDaddy-registered domain names.

If you’re attempting to contact the owner of a domain name registered at GoDaddy, this may be an option to consider.

To do this, visit “who.godaddy.com” and search for a domain name that’s registered at GoDaddy. Once you click to search and the WHOIS data appears, scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a “Contact Domain Holder” link. Click this link and you’ll be presented with a form (pictured above), prompting you to enter your details.

Once you have done this, your details will be submitted to the domain’s owner and it will be up to them to respond to you.


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