domain history

Checking Domain’s History

Eureka! You’ve stumbled upon the perfect domain name for sale. It effortlessly rolls off the tongue, perfectly aligns with your growing brand, and doesn’t threaten to break the bank. All that’s left is to click “add to cart,” proceed to checkout, and brace yourself for an exhilarating journey toward founding the next startup sensation. Smooth sailing from here on out, right?

Hold your horses.

Don’t let your excitement cloud your judgment, as it’s absolutely crucial that you first delve into the domain’s past. Investing a few precious moments in researching its history can help you avoid buyer’s remorse and ensure that you made the right decision.

This article can serve as your guide, describing each step needed to meticulously examine a domain’s history. 

Thanks to the information below, you’ll be able to confidently ensure that you’re acquiring a domain name free of any hidden pitfalls or unpleasant surprises. This will allow you to focus on what truly matters — transforming your vision into a thriving enterprise.

The Significance of Domain History

Imagine acquiring a piece of prime real estate. A thorough investigation into the property’s background is essential to avoid any unexpected post-purchase complications. Digging deeper into a domain’s history is, in many aspects, similar to conducting a meticulous home inspection. The only catch is that the properties are digital.

When you intend to resell an acquired domain, potential buyers are likely to inquire about its past. Possessing this invaluable information not only streamlines the sales process but also enhances the likelihood of fetching a higher selling price.

If you don’t check it, the repercussions could range from minor hiccups to severe roadblocks. In extreme cases, site owners may unknowingly acquire a domain burdened with unresolved manual actions, making it impossible to appear in search results altogether.

Here are the essential elements of domain history:

  1. Consistent and topical historical site content. 
  2. Current indexing in Google.
  3. A clean record of domain registration.
  4. On-topic and authoritative backlink profile.

By carefully considering these critical aspects of domain history, you can protect your investment and pave the way for a prosperous online venture without any unwelcome surprises lurking around the corner.

How to Check Previous Websites on a Domain

Exploring the domain’s history begins with unveiling the websites that have resided on it since the first time it was registered.

Thankfully, you have a powerful ally in this quest: the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

The Wayback Machine is a free service that enables users to delve into archived parts of websites. By entering a domain or URL and selecting a date range, you can effortlessly navigate through a digital time capsule of the site’s past versions.

Let’s harness the prowess of the Wayback Machine to unearth the historical content of the domain that we’re using as an example today.

Navigate to Archive.org and input ‘ourgardens.co.uk’ into the Wayback Machine search bar.

internet archive website
source: https://archive.org/web/

Then, you’ll see a calendar view detailing each time ourgardens.co.uk was crawled by archive.org. This particular domain was first crawled in May 2013. Over three years, the site has been crawled merely five times, last in March 2016.

web archive data
source: https://web.archive.org/web/20230000000000*/ourgardens.co.uk

If you click on one of the sections, you’ll be able to look at the content that’s hiding under it.

It’s always a good idea to check out the first year. This will give you an idea of what the site was when it was first crawled.

web calender
source: https://web.archive.org/web/20130501000000*/ourgardens.co.uk

Once you click on the timestamp under the calendar date, you’ll be redirected to the archived page. This may take some time. Often, the archived pages don’t load fully. 

web archive full version
source: https://web.archive.org/web/20130818020615/http://www.ourgardens.co.uk/

It looks like back in 2013, the domain served as a website for a professional gardener based in St Helens who used it to market their services.

It’s the type of content that shouldn’t raise any red flags.

domain details in web archive
source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160307145346/http://ourgardens.co.uk/

Things had changed quite significantly by 2016, but it’s still safe content that you don’t have to worry about.

Now, you have a great understanding of what the domain used to be and how it changed through the years. 

Is the Particular Domain Still Indexed?

Checking if a domain’s pages remain indexed in Google is crucial when evaluating its worth. One of the perks of acquiring an expired domain is bypassing the infamous “Google sandbox” – a phase where newly launched websites struggle to make their mark in search results during their initial months.

By ensuring that your potential domain continues to be indexed by Google, you not only maintain its visibility in search results but can also avoid the often-frustrating period of staying in the virtual shadows, waiting for recognition from the search giant.

How can you do this? The process is relatively easy. Open Google and type site: ‘domain name’ into the search bar. In our case, it looks like this:

google search box

The more indexed pages appear, the more Google favors the site. If a lot of pages appear, look through them and pay attention to the ones that look spammy or are filled with content that doesn’t really match the subject of the site.

Researching Domain Registration History

The act of registering a domain creates a corresponding entry within the WHOIS directory, complete with ownership and contact information. Although recent WHOIS data is often veiled by privacy services, you can still gain insight into a domain’s past ownership by conducting a free historical WHOIS search on websites like Whoxy.com.

By utilizing resources like Whoxy.com, you can unravel your prospective domain’s history and gain a deeper understanding of its previous ownership, empowering you to make informed decisions about its potential as part of your online presence.

domain search engine
source: https://www.whoxy.com/ourgardens.co.uk

Once again, no results when it comes to our domain of choice. But what if the results do appear for your domain? If none of them look suspicious, you can simply treat it like an extra piece of information.

DNS Record History

To investigate a domain’s historical hosting status, utilize HosterStats.com as your go-to resource. Changes in DNS may indicate shifts in ownership or content, and understanding these changes is essential when assessing a domain’s potential.

Armed with the data from HosterStats.com, cross-reference any alterations with the Wayback Machine to confirm their validity. Keep an eye out for low-quality or spam content accompanying each change, as this could be a red flag for your prospective domain’s credibility and future success.

domain dns record
source: http://www.hosterstats.com/historicaldns.php?domain=ourgardens.co.uk

By diligently examining a domain’s hosting history and scrutinizing its past content, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding its suitability for your online venture.

Checking Domain’s Backlink Profile

A domain’s backlink profile is a crucial indicator of its authority and can also reveal spam or low-quality content.

A handy tool like AHREFS simplifies this investigative process. With AHREFS’ free backlink checker tool (https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker), you can gain insights into the top 100 backlinks (1), the top 5 anchors (2), and the top 5 pages (3) associated with your prospective domain. 

Keep a close watch for low-quality or off-topic links and anchor texts that deviate from the domain’s niche.

Examining a domain’s backlink profile allows you to assess its authority, potential value, and any hidden obstacles that could hinder your online venture’s success.

Domain’s Sales History

If you’re thinking about reselling a domain, it’s essential to determine if it has previously been sold and the price at which it was acquired. This historical pricing data can assist you in establishing a current market value and facilitate effective price negotiation during the sales process.

NameBio.com is a comprehensive repository of pricing history for numerous prominent domain marketplaces dating back to 2007. 

domain's sales history
source: https://namebio.com/

Leveraging this information, you can gain valuable insights into your prospective domain’s past transactions and better position yourself for a successful resale venture.

sales history
source: https://namebio.com/

No records for ourgardens.co.uk.

Bear in mind that NameBio won’t have data on all sales. It also doesn’t include private sales, which are only listed if someone involved in the private sale reports them.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, meticulously examining a domain’s history is an integral part of any successful online venture. By investigating aspects such as past website content, Google indexing status, registration records, hosting history, backlink profile, and previous sales data, you can make informed decisions about the suitability and value of a domain. 

Equipped with this knowledge, you can confidently embark on your journey to acquiring a domain that aligns with your brand’s vision and paves the way for a thriving digital presence.

Remember, investing time in researching a domain’s history not only safeguards your investment but also helps ensure that your online venture flourishes without any unwelcome surprises lurking around the corner.

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