Domain name history refers to information on a given domain name’s entire life cycle. It answers questions like “Who owned the domain at any time?”; “How long has the domain been in existence?”; and “Does anyone own the domain at present?” In short, it tells you almost everything you wish to know about a domain, including if it has a soiled past.
Think of it as a Wikipedia entry on a particular person that tells you important stuff about him or her—family, achievements, and current whereabouts.
Read More about “Domain Name History”
Before diving into domain name history, let’s tackle some basics first.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a string of words that identifies a website on the Internet. An example is threat[.]media. When you type that into your browser, you’ll land on the Threat Media site’s homepage identified by the URL https[:]//threat[.]media/ and see this:
A domain name tells the Domain Name System (DNS)—the so-called “Internet’s phonebook”—what IP address to direct users who type the domain into their browser to. That way, they can see the website they’d like to visit.
Now that you know more about domain names and the DNS let’s dive into domain name history.
Does Domain Name History Differ from WHOIS History?
The answer is no, they are the same thing. You get the same information from both as that comes from historical WHOIS records—all of the retrievable WHOIS records of a domain name throughout its life cycle.
How Can You Know More about a Domain Name’s History?
Determining a domain name’s history requires using a special tool called a “domain name history checker.”
Using a typical domain name history checker is straightforward. Just type the domain name you want to know the history of into the Search input field to get results like this:
What Information Can You Get from Domain Name History?
A typical domain name history checker tells you:
- When the domain name was created
- When the domain name’s registration expires
- When the domain name’s WHOIS record was last updated
- Who the domain name’s registrar is
- What the domain name’s WHOIS server is
- What the domain name’s nameservers are
- What status codes determined by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) apply to the domain name
- The domain name’s registrant, administrative, and billing contact details are, including:
- Contact name
- Street address (street name, city, country, and postal code)
- Phone and fax numbers
- Email address
More advanced tools give more information, of course. They provide all the data mentioned above for all of a domain name’s existing WHOIS records. You can easily see how many records it has to date, too.
What Are the Practical Uses of Domain Name History Information?
Domain name history information is helpful for:
- Cybersecurity research: You can check out a domain name’s history to identify all its owners (past and present) for in-depth cybercrime investigations. The data can potentially reveal an attacker’s identity if he or she left historical footprints before WHOIS record privacy was implemented.
- Online fraud prevention: You can know your customers, suppliers, or third parties better by diving deep into their domain name history. Find out if they had ties to fraud or attacks in the past. That way, you won’t become their next victim.
- Digital marketing: Knowing is half the battle, they say. And that’s true in digital marketing. Obtain in-depth information about your customers. Domain name history data helps conduct statistical and market share analyses to improve your marketing strategies. It also allows you to trail your sights on the right markets and identify possibly untapped opportunities.
- Domain name research: If you’re in the market for that perfect domain name for a new product or service, use domain name history data to avoid potential liabilities. Those can arise if your dream domain name has a storied past (and bad ones at that). A domain name’s past involvement in cybercrime and other malicious activities can haunt its new owner.
Looking into a domain name’s history is critical these days if you want the best out of your cybersecurity, fraud prevention, digital marketing, and research efforts.