You are an entrepreneur who wants to create a website for a new business. The first thing you would do is to register your domain name and look for domain availability. This can be a daunting task as the domain you want for your website might already be taken by someone else.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. You can still find the information about the website owner, contact them and see whether they are interested in selling the domain or not. If they are willing to sell the domain you need, you can secure the domain name you are looking for.
Apart from that, there could be other reasons why you might want to find the owner of a website. You want to inquire about the design and content of a website, verify whether the business is legitimate or not, or inquire into how they actually operate.
Before we look at some of the ways to discover a website owner, it is first important to understand the difference between a domain owner and a website owner.
A domain owner is basically the legal owner of a domain name. It can be an individual or an organization. The domain owner name is usually listed as a domain registrar.
Every domain has four contacts:
A website owner is the person who designs and writes the code for your website. They can transfer the ownership rights to you on your request. You can ask your web development company to give ownership of your website to you if you want to become a website owner.
One of the biggest differences between a domain owner and a website owner is that a domain owner is usually a single entity. It can be an individual or a business but a website can be owned by multiple entities. For instance, your business website can be owned by a corporation or multiple partners. On the flipside, domains are usually registered to one individual. A website owner and domain owner can be the same or different.
If you are wondering who owns a website, here are five ways to find the owner of a website.
By far the easiest way to find the owner of a website is to look at the website itself. Visit the website and browse through the following pages:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out the footer of the website. Here you will find who owns the copyrights of the website and which web design and development agency created the website. This usually gives you a clue about the website owner.
When you conduct a domain availability search, it only tells you whether the domain is available or not. To identify the owner of the website, you need to dig into the domain registration history. Commonly known as WHOIS history, it maintains the record for every entity associated with the said domain since the registration.
Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a body responsible for managing the domain name registration and ownership. A publicly available WHOIS record is created for every domain name registered with ICANN, incorporating the contact information of the domain owner.
All you have to do is go to their website, enter the domain name and hit lookup. It will give you the entire domain registration history. Moreover, you can easily find the contact information of the domain owner. If the information doesn’t show up, chances are that the domain has been registered privately.
If you could not garner the required information from the domain registration history, you can contact a domain broker. These domain brokers are individuals that sell domain names. Some of these domain brokers can also assist you in finding information about the domain owner as part of the buying and selling process.
Whenever a person registers a domain, they can create an email address with that domain. The good news is that you can use online tools such as Hunter.io to find email addresses linked to a particular domain. Just enter a domain name and Hunter.io can give you a list of all email addresses associated with it.
Last but certainly not the least is search engines and social media. Yes, you read that right. You can use search engines and social media sites to find the owner of a website. For instance, you can use Linkedin to find employees that work for a particular company. Additionally, you can filter results by job titles and departments, which helps you narrow down your searches to different functional units.
You can easily find people that work in the IT and marketing department of a company. This takes you one step closer to people who are responsible for managing a website. With some trial and error, you can find the right person. Once you do, contact them directly. Similarly, you can also use search engines such as Google to find contact information of individuals.
Which method do you use to identify the owner of a website and why? Share it with us in the comments section below.