Before you can start building a WordPress website, you’ll need to choose a domain name that is in line with your brand. However, you might come up with the perfect domain, only to discover that it’s already been taken.
Fortunately, there may be a solution to your dilemma. If your desired domain name already exists, you can buy it from the owner. This could be a great solution if you want to boost your brand recognition and establish a consistent image.
In this post, we’ll talk about domain names and discuss some myths about buying an existing one. Then we’ll go over some pros and cons of this process, and explain how you can get started. Let’s jump right in!
What an Existing Domain Name Is
Your domain name is the address users type into a browser to find your website. The actual location of your site is a combination of complex numbers, called an IP address. Fortunately, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates those numbers into a readable domain. In other words, your domain names enables visitors to find your site quickly and easily.
Choosing the right domain name is an important step when building your WordPress website. The key is making sure your chosen name is memorable, specific, and easy to type:
Since each website has its own unique domain name, they are all one-of-a-kind. As such, some might not be available for use. When someone already owns a domain, that’s called an ‘existing domain name’. If you want to use one, the only way you’ll be able to acquire the name is by purchasing it from its owner.
An easy way to see if a domain has been taken is by searching for it on Google Domains. You can search for desired domain names, find out if they are available, and view the costs for each.
3 Myths About Existing Domain Names
Now that you’re familiar with domain names, let’s discuss some misinformation surrounding existing domain names. Since the right domain is essential for building a website, you don’t want to let these myths fool you into making the wrong decision.
1. You Can’t Use a Domain Name That Already Exists
When you search for a potential domain name, you might find that someone already owns it. Using a tool like Domain Wheel, you could go through the process of choosing another unique domain, but this isn’t your only option.
It’s definitely possible to buy a domain name. You can contact the owner directly to see if they’re willing to sell. It’s best to visit the website under the domain and use its contact form to reach out to the owner:
As an alternative, you can use the WHOIS service to search for the owner’s contact information. There, you’ll be able to search for domain names and their availability. There will also be details on how to reach the owner of each domain.
2. You Should Just Change the TLD
One way to use an existing domain name is by changing the Top Level Domain (TLD). You might notice that the .com domain is taken, but the .net or .org options are still available:
You can easily purchase one of these alternatives instead. However, this may not be the best option for everyone.
For one, .com is still by far the most common TLD option. Using a different TLD risks users visiting the wrong website entirely, if they use .com by reflex.
Additionally, choosing a different TLD for your domain could lead to competition with other websites. Owners of a similar domain might say that you are infringing on their brand name, which could lead to legal issues as well.
That doesn’t mean alternative TLDs are never effective. For example, schools may benefit from using the .edu TLD, whereas organizations might prefer .org. However, those choices should be based on your site’s niche and audience, rather than an attempt to circumvent an existing domain.
3. Once You Purchase a Domain Name, It’s Yours Forever
When you register a domain name, you might think that you own it permanently. Unfortunately, no one really has full ownership of a domain.
Buying a domain name is more like a rental agreement. Once you register the name, you own it for a certain period of time (typically a year). You’ll need to periodically renew your registration to keep it active:
This means that just because someone else owns a domain name today, that doesn’t mean they’ll own it forever. If you’re not in a hurry or can’t find a way to contact a domain’s owner, you can simply wait a while to see if it becomes available.
Pros and Cons of Buying an Existing Domain Name for Your WordPress Website
Before you buy an existing domain name, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this process.
In order to create an effective website, you have to establish a clear identity and values. When you find a domain name that encapsulates these factors perfectly, it can be difficult to let it go.
A particular domain name might be perfect for drawing in a specific audience that shares your values or is interested in what you’re offering. If that’s the case, you might want to prioritize it, even if it currently belongs to someone else.
It might also be a good idea to buy an existing domain if you’re worried about competition with similar websites:
Additionally, buying an existing domain may help you avoid legal issues. If your domain name is similar to a company’s existing domain name or other trademarked content, it could lead to infringement allegations.
One the other hand, buying an existing domain name isn’t the right choice for everyone. It can often be a complicated undertaking that requires a lot of time and money.
When you approach the owner of a domain name, you’ll need to make an offer. If the domain is highly valuable, it may not come cheap.
What’s more, if you’re negotiating the deal yourself, you’ll have to appraise how much the domain is worth. To put this in perspective, the average domain sale price for GoDaddy auctions is about $2,300:
If you’re creating a website for the first time, you might want to think about opting for an available domain. That way, you can dedicate your time, energy, and funds to launching your new site instead.
When you choose an available domain, it’s an instant process. Buying an existing domain, on the other hand, requires the time taken to negotiate a fair deal with the owner. Even then, there is no guarantee that they will sell the domain.
How to Buy an Existing Domain Name
If you decide to buy an existing domain name, you can use a few different avenues. The best options are contacting the owner directly, hiring a domain broker, or searching for the domain on marketplaces.
The first step is to visit the domain you want to purchase. There, you can often find information on how to contact its owner. If the website doesn’t have contact details listed (or a contact form), you can use the WHOIS service, which we mentioned previously:
This can help you identify who owns the domain. Alternatively, you could hire a domain broker. Services such as GoDaddy can act as a third party when contacting a domain owner. Sometimes, an owner will be more willing to sell to a company rather than an individual.
Finally, you can search for existing domains on marketplaces like NameBio. When using this service, you can check to see if your domain name is being listed in an auction. Occasionally, you can even find existing domain names available at fixed prices.
Buying an existing domain name can seem like a daunting task, but there are many benefits to going through this process. Whether you want to avoid rebranding or competition with similar websites, a strong domain can start your WordPress site off on the right foot.
This route is ideal if you have already spent time establishing your identity and branding. If an existing domain name aligns with these values, purchasing it could be a smart option. For newer creators, it might be better to use an available domain, to avoid the expenses and complications of buying an existing one.
Do you have any questions about buying an existing domain? Let us know in the comments below!