If you’re scouting the interwebs for an appropriate domain name for your business, happen to be eyeing a domain that’s up for sale, or maybe looking to get into the lucrative business of domain flipping, now would be a good time to go beyond basic WHOIS lookups and acquaint yourself with additional handy domain research tools.
Don’t get me wrong. A WHOIS lookup is indeed a good resource for domain research. But, it doesn’t provide all the critical insights you’d need for a conclusive decision.
Imagine, for instance, acquiring a perfectly available domain, only for it to subsequently land you in court for trademark infringement.
Another possible scenario would be setting up a pre-registered domain name, only to discover much later that its previous owners had built up a negative history on Google.
And that’s the least of the many potential risks that you’ll be exposed to while acquiring new domains. ICANN’s Domain Abuse Activity Reports show that the security threat levels are exceedingly rising in the TLD space, while the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) itself has lately been registering a sharp increase in the volume of domain name complaints .
What makes this even worse is, the risks are skyrocketing at a time when it’s getting exceedingly difficult to find unused catchy domain names. Thankfully, however, at least you could make the whole process less burdensome by combining strategic insights from the best domain research tools and services.
Why combine multiple domain research tools?
We usually encourage people to leverage different tools because you can’t possibly draw all those insights from one domain research service.
While some domain research tools are ideal for discovering brand name ideas, others are masters of generating the available domain name suggestions from your keyword ideas, and then we have the ones that specialize in collating intel on a domain’s ownership history, and so forth.
Hence, by the time you’re done with all the domain research, you should have figured out the best all-around domain name for your brand. That means one that’s not only inventive, but also keyword-rich, competitive, unclaimed, and untrademarked, as well as free from any legal, security, compliance, and phishing risks.
Now, to help you with the entire process, here’s our compilation of 10+ of the best tools and services to include in your domain research. Think of this as the ultimate domaining cheat sheet for business owners, brand marketers, web admins, business buyers, and domain flippers.
10+ best domain research tools and services in 2023
For domain name ideas
1. Google Keyword Planner
Popularly searched keywords have always been a great source for competitive domain name ideas. And one of the best domain research tools for this job is Google’s own Keyword Planner.
The free tool comes in the form of a keyword research platform, which is engineered to dig through Google’s search data for insights into the most relevant keywords for your business.
You just need to enter a seed term, and the system will proceed to generate top keyword ideas, along with their metrics for monthly search volume, competition, and change over time.
2. Moz Keyword Explorer
Whereas Google’s Keyword Planner prioritizes PPC-worthy keyword ideas, Moz Keyword Explorer tends to base its analytics on organic search data and attributes.
Developed by the widely renowned SEO research platform Moz, the Keyword Explorer can be counted on for accurate reports on the organic traffic trends across the most popular search keywords. You get to choose domain name ideas after comparing keywords by their difficulty score, monthly search volume, organic click-through rate, etc.
Now that nearly all the 170,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary have already been taken up by various brands, you might have better luck in branding if you coin your own catchy domain names from fictional, made-up words.
In that case, the best tool for the job would be Wordoid – as it has this unique ability to formulate completely new words that sound and flow like regular English words. You’ll even get to explore the corresponding domain name options inspired by the “wordoids”.
Domain name generators should ultimately come in after you’ve gathered various solid keyword ideas from your research. Their role is to take the keywords, try to refine them, and then convert the ideas into valid domain name suggestions.
This is one thing that DomainWheel has perfected quite outstandingly, thanks to its AI-powered analysis, calculated wordplay, and exhaustive TLD suggestions.
All you need to do is enter a keyword, and the domain name generator will instantly propose a series of available domains that have been inspired by your seed term.
You’ll see keyword variations and related terms under different Top Level Domains (TLDs), plus random suggestions of words that sound and rhyme with the seed term.
For domain name branding
5. US Trademark Office
Once you’ve drawn the best available domain options from your domain name generator, comes the process of establishing which ones would best represent your brand.
Now, the first stop here should be the US Patent and Trademark Office, as this is where you get to confirm if any trademarks have been registered under any of your selected domain names.
To check, go to the US Patent and Trademark website, proceed to the “Trademarks” section, and then click on “Search our trademark database“.
Another critical thing that you ought to confirm is the status of your selected brand names on social media. You wouldn’t want to settle for a specific domain, only to discover much later that the brand name is already taken on social media.
Now, for this, you’ll need to leverage the power of KnowEm, a username search tool that screens over 500 of the most popular social networks – including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Pinterest.
For domain history research
7. Domain Tools
If you’re otherwise seeking to purchase an existing domain, it would be advisable to confirm all its ownership particulars plus history before committing to the sale process.
In that case, the best domain research tool would be Domain Tools – which is an intelligence system that uncovers not only a domain’s WHOIS information, but also the corresponding historical records.
You should be able to confirm who owns the domain, where it was registered, the hosting provider, all the past and current IP addresses, the accompanying DNS specifics, etc.
8. Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine is an internet archive that logs dated screenshot copies of web pages across all publicly accessible websites. Think of it as a library of photos that show the appearance of a website through the years.
This is where you come to confirm a domain’s content and site design history.
For understanding domain value
For people trying to get into the business of domain flipping, Flippa is one of the best domain research tools for demystifying the parameters that drive domain valuation.
The site itself is a globally renowned marketplace for buying and selling websites, domains, and other digital assets – including apps and, social media accounts. Buyers and sellers of domains come here to not only connect with potential prospects, but also take advantage of the domain valuation tools and insights that come with the platform.
You might, for instance, want to check out the prices quoted in various domain listings, along with the attached domain metrics and information. This should give you a basic understanding of how various variables affect the relative pricing of domains, how the values shift from one industry to another, and the market demand for different types of domains.
To provide even more clarity, Flippa.com has set up a free valuation tool – which you’ll find handy in estimating how much your domains would sell for on the marketplace.
The platform generates the pricing rates after considering, among other factors, data from thousands of similar assets already sold, along with the category, age, and branding of your domain.
For understanding the domaining industry
10. Domain Name Wire
Domain Name Wire is the place to go for news and reports on major developments across the domain name industry. It even carries itself like a full-service media publication, with the only differentiating factor being the focus subject – Domain Name Wire is all about domaining and nothing more.
Now, to be specific, the news articles posted here on a daily basis are on domain sales, domain registration, expired domains, domain parking, domain research tools, domain management, domain-focuses services, plus legislations affecting domains.
As such, you could say that the Domain Name Wire platform is particularly suitable for domain investors, domain registrars, policy makers, webmasters, domain service providers, domain flippers, brand owners, and domain buyers.
Otherwise, for insights into domain registration tools and procedures, we’d recommend DomainWheel’s blog.
Domaining.com is not exactly what you’d call a news site. It is, instead, a directory that curates trending articles from all the major news publishers in the domain name industry.
The featured articles appear in the form of headline and excerpt snippets, which upon clicking, should direct you to the original article posted on the publishing site.
You’ll be sampling news pieces from renowned publishers such as DSAD.com, OnlineDomain.com, NameBio.com, DomainGang.com, DomainIncite.com, and even DomainNameWire.com.
With these domain research tools, you get to come up with relevant domain name keywords, after which you should be able to refine the name ideas into suggestions of available domain names, before finally moving on to domain name branding.
Domain buyers, on the other hand, could use domain history research tools ⚙️ for due diligence before finalizing the business purchase.
👉 Otherwise, if you’d still want more information about an existing domain, you could additionally try out the following tools:
- Wappalyzer: For confirming the tools a website is built on.
- Bulk WHOIS Lookup: For performing WHOIS lookups on multiple domains at once.
- DNS Checker: For establishing the DNS records of a website.