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How to Buy a Domain Name That is Taken (9 Pro Tips)

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Do you want to buy a domain name that’s already been taken?

Buying a domain name that has already been taken can be expensive and may go wrong if you are not careful.

In this article, we will explain how to buy a taken domain and give you some insider tips and proven strategies to get a good deal.

Tips on buying a taken domain name

Note: Unlike other guides on the internet, this resource is based on our actual collective experience of buying premium domains. We have spent anywhere from a few hundred to a few million dollars in buying premium domains and established website businesses.

The Basics of Buying a Domain Name That’s Already Taken

All websites need a domain name. It is your website’s address on the internet. See our beginner’s guide on how domain names work if you are not 100% sure what a domain name is.

You can register a new domain name for around $10 – $15 from top domain registrars.

Alternatively, you can even get a free domain name when you sign up with hosting companies like Bluehost, Hostinger, SiteGround, and others.

But what if the domain name you want has already been taken?

In that case, you have two options: come up with a different name or buy the one you want from its current owner.

Buying a domain name from someone who has already registered could be a great move for your business.

However, it’s important to be aware of risks and scams so you don’t waste time or money.

That’s why we have put together these tips on buying a taken domain as safely as possible.

What to Consider Before Buying a Domain Name

One key question to ask yourself is whether you want to purchase a domain name alone or an established website.

Buying a website, if it’s one that has a consistent track record of making money, can be a great shortcut.

It lets you get a money-making business straight away rather than having to build one from scratch.

However, it’s going to be way more expensive to buy a website than just a domain name. You’ll also have more risks and legal liabilities to consider.

How to Actually Buy a Taken Domain Name

There are two main routes to buying domain names that are already taken:

  • Privately approaching the domain name’s owner and agreeing on the sale
  • Looking for the name in domain marketplaces.

The first method avoids involving a third party in the sale, and you may be able to persuade the owner towards more favorable pricing.

If the domain name already has a website with a contact form, then you can use that to reach out to the site owner.

Alternatively, you can search for it using the WHOIS tool. You may get the contact details of the owner from the domain details there.

The second method is to look for the name using online domain marketplaces. This is where many domain owners go to sell their domain names.

We recommend using It is one of the best places to register a domain name or buy a domain name for sale.

Simply search for the domain name you are looking for to see if it is available for sale. search

Domain names that are already taken may be highlighted as premium domain names with a higher price. If you find the domain name listed there, you can add it to the cart and proceed to payment.

You can try multiple domain marketplaces like Sedo, Flippa, and more to see if the domain is listed for sale there.

If the domain name is not listed anywhere, then it is probably unavailable for sale. You can still try the first method of approaching the owner with your offer.

That being said, let’s look at tips on making sure you buy your domain name safely.

Tip 1: Avoid Using a Different Extension Instead

Domain name extensions

If you find that your domain name is taken when using a .com, then you might be tempted to use a different domain extension like .net or .org.

However, this can cause problems as people may forget your domain name and type in .com or .org.

You may even face legal issues if the .com owner argues that you are trying to infringe on their brand name. This is particularly the case if they’ve registered it as a trademark.

We cover more information in our article on how to choose the best domain name.

Tip 2: Check the Domain Name Isn’t a Registered Trademark

Trademark and copyright

If the domain name is a registered trademark of an existing business, then you could end up having to take your website offline completely in the future.

It’s well worth doing a quick search of the US trademark database to check whether your domain name is already being used by another company. You may also want to check local databases too.

Even a domain name that uses a trademark within it could be a problem. For instance, you can’t use the word “WordPress” in your domain name.

Tip 3: Don’t Get Too Emotionally Attached

Starting a new online business idea is exciting. Since your domain name plays a crucial role, getting emotionally attached to a specific name is easy.

However, you need to be intelligent and rational about all financial investment decisions, including this one.

We recommend keeping your options open and looking around for multiple domain names or at least giving them serious consideration.

This will help you in negotiation so you can get the best deal without overpaying for your domain name.

Remember, the cost of premium domain names can vary from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Having options ensures that you don’t end up paying a huge sum of money for a domain name that’s really not any better than something else that was 1/10th of the price.

Tip 4: Check If a Website Has Ever Been Built There

Viewing the website history of a domain name using the WayBack machine

Make sure that you check the website history using the WayBack Machine. It is possible that the domain name may have been used by someone else.

It is alright if the domain name has been used before, but you want to make sure that it wasn’t used for malicious, spammy, or illegal activities.

This may harm your business’s reputation and may even cause legal issues in the future. If there’s a Google penalty on the domain, then that could take a lot of work and resources to wipe out.

The WayBack Machine is also a smart way of finding domain owner information as well.

Tip 5: Figure Out What the Domain Is Worth

Domain valuation

Domain name pricing is tricky. If you are new to buying domains, then you might wonder whether the price you are being quoted is a bargain, a rip-off, or something in between.

Well, the truth is that there is no standard regulation for premium domain name pricing. Sellers independently decide the price, and it’s up to you as a buyer to decide if it’s worth the investment.

Premium domain names can range from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars. Some rare premium domain names even go into the million-dollar range.

If you are new, then you can use a tool like EstiBot to get a general idea of what the domain may be worth.

Disclaimer: Automatic domain name evaluations aren’t necessarily very accurate, but they do show similar domain sales data, which is helpful.

If the domain is priced too high (and it often will be), then you’ll need to be prepared to haggle. Don’t start by offering the maximum you’d be willing to consider. Instead, start at a lower price with the expectation that you’ll likely end up meeting halfway.

Keep in mind that there’s a limit to how low the seller will go. Don’t expect someone to accept $500 if they originally asked for $20,000.

However, just because someone asked for $20,000 doesn’t mean you need to meet them halfway either. We’ve often secured $20k domain deals in the $3k – $6k range.

Tip 6: Know Exactly What You’re Buying

Evaluate details

Make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be getting. Is it just the domain name you’re buying? Or are you buying a website, too? If you’re buying the website, then does this include all the content?

Established websites may well use lots of different plugins and tools for which the owner has licenses. It’s unlikely that these licenses will be transferred over to you along with the sale, so you’ll need to be prepared to purchase them for yourself.

You’ll also want to be clear on whether you’re receiving assets like the website’s email list data.

If the domain name or website is a large purchase, then you should definitely have a lawyer draw up a contract for you. Consult someone who’s an expert in IP (Intellectual Property) law.

Even if you’re making a small purchase, be sure to get crucial details in writing, at the very least.

Bonus: Ask if the owner has access to existing social media accounts for the domain name so you can get that as part of the deal.

Tip 7: Make Sure You’re Buying From the Domain’s Owner


Imagine this. You hand over your money for a domain name, only to find that the domain has been stolen. You never see your money again, and you’re not the legal owner of the domain either.

It’s a nightmare scenario, but unfortunately, it can happen. An excellent initial check is to use a tool such as DNS Trails to see whether there have been any recent changes to the DNS records. If you see something odd, then ask for an explanation.

If all your contact with the domain name owner has been through email, it’s well worth getting a phone number so you can actually talk to them. Email accounts can be hacked, and email addresses can be faked.

Tip 8: Use Escrow to Transfer the Money


You might be nervous about buying a domain name, particularly for a significant sum. What if the seller takes your money and doesn’t hand over the domain name?

The best solution is to use a site like You give your money to the site, and they hold it securely until you confirm you’ve received the domain name. At that point, they hand the money to the seller. has been used to purchase some hugely famous domain names, including,,, and more. Note that you will need to pay a fee to

Important: Don’t take a shortcut here by trying to save on Escrow fees. We always use Escrow for domain purchases unless the domain owner is willing to transfer the domain to us before receiving payments. Trust us, it’s not worth the risk!

Tip 9: Consider Backordering a Domain You Want

Every day, thousands of domain names expire and lose their registration. Many businesses fail to take off, or the domain owners lose interest.

In some cases, the owner might simply forget to renew the domain.

You don’t have to watch the domain name to see when it’s about to expire. Instead, there are plenty of services that will monitor the domain name on your behalf. They’ll automatically try to register it the moment it’s available.

You can use Network Solutions or GoDaddy for domain backorders. There are plenty of other sites that offer a similar service, too.

The problem with back-ordering is that it may not work at all. The domain owner may renew their domain name, or someone else may have placed a backorder before you, which will be given priority.

Final Thoughts + Alternative Strategies

Buying a domain name that’s already taken is not easy, and the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. And if the owner doesn’t want to sell, then it can even take years to convince them.

This is why we always recommend having a few options when you’re searching for domains. You can use a domain name generator like Nameboy to come up with ideas.

Alternatively, you can also try our brand-new AI-powered business name generator tool.

Here are some clever tips that can also help you come up with alternatives:

  • Add a verb to your keyword – for example:,, and
  • Extend your brand with a keyword – for example,, etc. Remember, Tesla didn’t own, so they started with Buffer didn’t own, so they used in the beginning.
  • Use abbreviations – for example,,, etc.
  • Use a catchphrase or adjective – for example:,,, etc.

We hope this article helped you learn how to buy a domain name that’s taken. You may also want to see our guide on proven ways to make money online and our comparison of the best website builder platforms.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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13 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Dayo Olobayo says

    This is a comprehensive piece. As part of my web developing activities, I take domain flipping as a side gig. The best way is to place backorders as you have said but if two or more persons place backorder for a certain domain, it goes into auction once caught upon drop.

  3. Jiří Vaněk says

    As for the domain that is already taken, lately it is a big problem to get any information about the owner of the domain. Due to GDPR and similar regulations, total whois privacy is quite common for domains. The registrar is not allowed to contact the owner, so it is very problematic to find out the owner of the domain for a subsequent purchase. Is it possible to solve this somehow and get in touch with the owner of the domain? I can only think of contacting the registrar and asking him to forward the request to purchase the domain to the owner.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You could try reaching out using whois information but if the site owner does not allow direct contacts then the domain registrar may not pass along your email to the owner.


    • Dennis Muthomi says

      that’s actually a problem that I have been experiencing too.
      One option to try is if the domain is listed with a registrar like Namecheap – they often have a “Make an Offer” button that allows you to “inquire” a purchase offer directly to the current owner, even if their contact details are private.

      you can give it a shot!

  4. John Antaya says

    Thank You for your advice on trying to purchase already taken domain names. There are one or two that I want to look at so I will be able to see how this is going to help me.


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