How to find out if a website URL is available

I have a lot of clients who are unsure of how to check if a URL or domain name is available for their new website. They type different URLs into the location bar of their browser, and if no website appears, assume that its available. This is often incorrect — domain parkers buy domains and hold them to resell at a profit; it could also be that someone has purchased the domain name and simply not set their website up yet.

The right way to search for an available domain name and register it is to go to the website of a domain registrar, such as Register.comThese sites generally have a prominently placed search box on their homepage, saying “Find a Domain Name” or similar. That’s where you type in the domain name you’re looking for. The next page will give you the real answer as to whether its taken or not, and also suggest similar names that may be available (.org instead of .com, etc.)

If the name you want is available, simply add it to your cart. You can often add on services like web hosting and/or email. Domain names get bought quickly by domainers and parkers, so if you really want a specific name, its best not to wait on purchasing it.

If the name is taken
- you can see who owns it by clicking the link to the “WHOIS” information (as in “who is this person”). You may also have an opportunity to make an offer to purchase the domain name from this person. Or, you can of course simply continue to search for other available name possibilities.

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