How to Buy a Domain Name that Is Taken in 7 Steps (+ Pro Tips)

How to Buy a Domain Name that Is Taken in 7 Steps (+ Pro Tips)

Ever found the perfect domain name for your website, only to discover it’s already taken?

There are several compelling reasons to consider acquiring a domain name that’s currently owned by someone else, including business expansion, gaining SEO value, or merger & acquisitions.

There are also several challenges, such as negotiations with current owners, high purchase costs, and legal considerations.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of doing so and provide you with seven clear steps and pro tips to successfully secure your desired domain name.

  • Buying a taken domain is possible: You can acquire a desired domain even if it’s already registered by someone else.
  • Research is essential: Check the domain’s current use, owner, and value before making an offer.
  • Negotiation matters: Negotiate a fair price and use escrow services for secure transactions.
  • Explore alternatives: If buying isn’t feasible, consider abbreviated names, new top-level domains, taglines, or consulting experts for a suitable domain solution.

How to Buy a Domain Name That Is Already Taken

Setting up a website can be an exciting venture for a business, blog, or personal use. However, it can be disheartening to discover that the perfect domain name you’ve envisioned is already in someone else’s hands.

With over two billion websites online, this situation is quite common. But don’t worry; there’s a way to acquire a domain already registered by someone else.

  1. Check What the Domain Is Currently Being Used For

Before attempting to purchase a taken domain, it’s crucial to investigate its current usage. Visit the domain in your web browser to see if it hosts an active website. Understanding its current purpose can help you assess its value and determine whether it’s worth pursuing.

Additionally, consider performing a WHOIS lookup to learn more about the domain’s owner and registration details. This information can be valuable during negotiations.

  1. Find Who Owns the Domain Name

How to Buy a Domain Name That Is Already Taken

Determining the present owner of a taken domain is crucial. Utilize the WHOIS database to uncover essential details such as the registration date, registrant information, and contact details of the current domain owner.

Additionally, identify when the domain’s current ownership is set to expire. This information is instrumental in initiating contact and negotiations with the domain owner for potential acquisition.

  1. Determine How Much the Taken Domain Name Costs Realistically

When acquiring a registered domain, be prepared for costs beyond the average $10-$15 for a new domain. Domains in the possession of individuals or domain flippers often command higher prices.

Calculating a domain’s value involves assessing various factors like the top-level domain (TLD), name length, spelling, and organic traffic.

Domain appraisal services like EstiBot can help determine a reasonable budget for negotiations, providing insights into a domain’s value based on these factors.

Consider aspects like traffic, generic appeal, brand potential, domain age, and length to assess whether the investment aligns with your long-term goals.

  1. Contact the Domain Owner

Getting in touch with the present owner is pivotal in securing your ideal or dream domain. Start by checking the WHOIS database for contact information. Craft a polite and professional email expressing your interest in purchasing the domain.

Be clear about your intentions and budget, and allow room for negotiation.

While responses vary, some domain owners may be open to selling, while others might not respond or decline the offer. Persistence and respectful communication often yield positive results.

  1. Negotiate the Purchase

Once you contact the owner, be prepared to negotiate a fair price. Start with a reasonable offer based on your research and the domain’s value. Emphasize your intent to buy the domain and your commitment.

Engage in a respectful and open dialogue, allowing room for counteroffers. Negotiations can take time, so patience is key.

Ultimately, both parties should aim for a mutually agreeable price that reflects the domain’s worth and your budget.

  1. Pay for the Domain with an Escrow Service

When learning how to buy domain names that someone else already owns, navigating the payment process is crucial. Unlike a typical online purchase, domain acquisition involves a delicate transaction. You need to pay the existing owner, but trust is a concern – who goes first?

Should you send money upfront, hoping the owner will transfer the domain? Or does the owner transfer the domain, trusting you’ll pay as agreed?

To ensure a secure transaction, always use an escrow service. Acting as a trusted intermediary, the escrow service holds your money until the domain transfer is complete. This safeguards both parties and adds a layer of protection against potential scams. If a domain seller refuses escrow, exercise caution and reconsider the purchase.

  1. Transfer Ownership of the Domain

After the payment is secured, the next step is the transfer of domain ownership. The process may vary slightly depending on the domain registrar the existing owner uses.

Typically, it involves unlocking the domain, obtaining an authorization code, and initiating the transfer process with your own registrar. Once completed, you’ll have full control and ownership of your dream domain, ready to use for your website or online venture.

Buying a Domain Name from Someone: Pro Tips

When purchasing a domain name from its current owner, consider these expert tips:

  • Avoid Using a Different Extension Instead: While your desired domain may be taken with a “.com” extension, it’s generally advisable not to settle for a different extension like “.net” or “.biz” if the “.com” is your ideal choice.
  • Check the Domain Name Isn’t a Registered Trademark: Ensure the domain name isn’t a registered trademark to avoid potential legal issues down the road.
  • Check If a Website Has Ever Been Built There: Investigate whether a previous website existed on the domain, as it might have a digital history or SEO implications.
  • Don’t Get Emotionally Attached: Stay objective and avoid overcommitting emotionally to a domain. There are always alternatives.
  • Know Exactly What You’re Buying: Clarify what’s included in the sale, such as any associated website content, social media accounts, or email addresses.
  • Make Sure You Are Buying from the Domain Owner: Verify that you’re dealing directly with the actual owner to prevent potential scams or complications.

By following these tips, you’ll navigate the process of acquiring your desired domain name with confidence and savvy negotiation skills.

When to Use a Domain Broker Service

There are instances when employing a domain broker service is the smart choice:

  • You can’t locate the owner: If you can’t track down the current domain owner yourself, a broker has the resources and expertise for this task.
  • You need help with budgeting and negotiation: Brokers can assist in budget-conscious negotiations, ensuring you get the best deal.
  • You want to maximize the domain value: When selling a domain, brokers help find the optimal buyer, maximizing its value.
  • You want to leverage time and expertise: A broker handles it efficiently if you lack time or the technical know-how for domain transactions.
  • You prefer a personal touch: Some prefer a human touch over online interactions, and brokers provide that personalized service.

A domain broker acts as your intermediary, simplifying complex processes and delivering results.

How to Backorder Domain Names

If buying the ideal domain isn’t currently an option, consider backordering it. Backordering, also known as domain drop catching, means reserving a domain once it becomes available.

Here’s how you can do it:


  1. Visit the Deleting Domains page (ensure you’re logged in)
  2. Search for the desired domain and set your criteria
  3. Results will show Available domains, backorders, and some unavailable ones. Only one backorder is allowed per domain, and it must have a predetermined drop date.
  4. If your chosen domain is available for backorder, click the Backorder button
  5. Review the order in your cart and proceed to checkout

By backordering, you have a chance to secure the domain when it becomes accessible in the future.

Alternatives to Buying a Domain Name from Someone

If securing your desired domain from its current owner proves unattainable, don’t despair. There are alternative routes to consider, ensuring you still acquire the web presence you seek.

Use an Abbreviated Version of the Domain

Sometimes, a clever abbreviation can do the trick when your dream domain is out of reach. For instance, if “” is taken, consider “” or “,” creating a perfect domain for your cafe business.

Use a New Top-Level Domain

Top-level domains (TLDs) are the suffixes in domain names, like .com or .net. While .com is popular, explore newer TLDs like .coffee, .cafe, or .brew for a creative spin on your domain choice.

Use a Tagline or Slogan Instead

When your desired domain isn’t available, craft a memorable tagline or slogan instead. For instance, if “” is taken, use “” or “” for a premium domain name with character and charm.

Consult a Web Expert

If securing your desired domain proves to be a challenging endeavor, don’t hesitate to reach out to a seasoned web expert. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating the intricate world of domain registrars and premium domain names.

A skilled professional can assist you in brainstorming creative alternatives for your domain, ensuring that the new name aligns seamlessly with your brand’s identity.

This collaborative effort guarantees a fresh and promising start for your online presence, setting you on the path to establishing a unique and memorable digital identity.

Final Word: Unlocking Your Desired Domain

Acquiring your ideal domain name is akin to claiming a prime piece of virtual real estate. While it can be a nuanced process, remember that creative solutions, persistence, and expert guidance are your allies in the quest to secure a taken domain.

So, how do you purchase a domain name that is taken? Explore various avenues, choose wisely, and embark on your online journey with determination.

For related insights, check out our guides on the Best Website Builders and Best Web Hosting services.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Buying Domain Names

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy a domain that is already taken?

Yes, you can purchase a domain name that is already registered by someone else. It involves several steps, such as identifying the current owner, negotiating a fair price, and transferring ownership.

While the process may require patience and persistence, it’s entirely possible to acquire a desired domain that was previously taken, allowing you to establish your online presence effectively.

How do I get a domain name that is taken but not used?

To secure a domain name that’s already taken but not in use, follow a step-by-step approach. Begin by conducting a domain search to determine if it’s available for purchase. Next, identify the current owner using the WHOIS database and initiate contact with them to express your interest in acquiring the website’s address.

Negotiate a reasonable price with the owner, and for secure payment, consider using an escrow service. Once the deal is settled, work collaboratively to facilitate the domain transfer. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of obtaining a previously taken but unused domain name.

How much does it cost to buy a domain name from someone?

The cost of purchasing a domain name from someone can vary significantly, influenced by factors like the domain’s perceived value, demand, and negotiation skills. Premium domains can command prices ranging from a few hundred to millions of dollars.

For instance, set a record by selling for over $30 million in 2019, making it one of the most expensive domains ever. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and negotiate wisely to ensure you secure the desired domain at a fair price within your budget.

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