Domain History

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Mar 31, 2023

Domain History

What is Domain History?

Domain history is a list of all the past and present owners of a domain, along with their contact information and registration details as provided by WHOIS records.

Domain history is also called WHOIS history, domain name history, and domain ownership history.

What is WHOIS?

WHOIS (pronounced as who is) is an internet service that enables users to search for a particular domain and all the information provided by ICANN.

ICANN (The Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for regulating domain name ownership and registration.

Domain names are registered through the companies like GoDaddy and Namecheap. These are accredited and approved by ICANN.

WHOIS is a way of storing the domain registration information and making it available publicly upon request. In addition, WHOIS records contain all the essential information related to a person, business, or organisation that owns a particular domain.

A typical record contains:

  • Contact information of domain owner 

  • Contact information of the entity that has registered a particular domain 

  • Date of registration

  • Domain age

  • Domain status according to ICANN

  • Name of servers

  • Date of creation

  • Expiry date

  • Recent update date

Why is domain history important?

Domain name history tells a lot about a domain. If you want to purchase a domain, don't let its name deceive you. Instead, check its history first because it may impact your SEO plan from minor to severe.

One of the most severe problems a site owner may encounter is buying a domain with a history of errors preventing it from appearing in search results.

Looking into domain history gives you much more information than you think. You can see if it has any record of violating Google guidelines, traffic drops, ranking difficulties and penalties.

A website with a bad history may face challenges in ranking. A good record of domain history is essential for overall SEO ranking and strategy. 

Knowing the domain history is useful as it helps examine how a domain's technical and administrative information has changed over time.

For example, with a rise in internet scams and fraudulent activities, domain history has helped cybercrime investigators understand and correlate online information with indicators of digital crimes.

Some key points that you must take into account while purchasing a domain include:

  • Domain has a clean history

  • It has consistent and topical site content history

  • It has a relevant and authoritative backlink profile

  • Good reputation among users

  • Previously not involved in black hat tactics

  • It is still indexed in Google

Old or new domain – what to choose?

You must have heard about different concepts by SEO specialists about domain history and its authority.

Keep one thing in mind, if a domain is old, it must have a history. It can be either positive or negative.

Domain names can be classified into three categories:

Domains without history

It means the domain is new and has never belonged to anyone. You will make all the changes here yourself.

With good history

The domains under this category are trustworthy and have quality resources linked to them.

With bad history

The domains under this category may have a dodgy history. You may have to face the negative consequences of these domains after purchasing them.

Ideally, if you want to avoid all unpleasant experiences, you must purchase a new website domain. It seems simple, but it can be challenging for new businesses.

However, if you want to purchase an old domain, ensure it has a good reputation and history. That will help you easily rank your domain in Google.

While a thorough domain history check requires a little more time and effort, it will be worthwhile.

WHOIS lookups

There are two ways to check the WHOIS lookups:

  • Basic lookups

  • History lookups

Basic Lookups give a basic idea about a domain's current status, its server, and where it is registered. 

A History Lookup or WHOIS History will give you a detailed overview of the current and past status of a domain, its servers, registrants, and registrars.

All the changes a domain passes through are tracked in WHOIS history and remain available for users using the right tools.

How to check a basic WHOIS lookup?

You can perform a basic WHOIS lookup to know the current status of a domain, its ownership, and the expiration date.

WHOIS Domain Lookup - Domain History
  • Enter the domain name in the search bar.

  • Check out the domain's status, like creation date, expiry date, servers it is connected to, and other additional information.

Basic WHOIS lookup of a website

(Basic WHOIS lookup for the website

How to check WHOIS history?

The process of checking the WHOIS history is the same as the basic lookup. Plenty of tools with different free and paid features will allow you to see basic to advanced information about a domain.

Here are a few tools to check the domain history.

If you want to perform simple searches, is ideal for you. It allows you 10 free daily searches. You can see domain ownership, contact information, reverse IP lookups, and WHOIS lookups.

For most advanced searches, is good. The best thing about this tool is its free search option. You can search for as many domains as you want. However, they will charge only for integrating their services into your apps.


This is also an excellent option to see domain history, but unluckily, it only offers one search per day. Most features are paid, including hosting history, bulk WHOIS checking, traffic estimator, and registrar research tool.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine

One of the most popular features of Internet Archive is its Wayback Machine. It provides a fantastic resource to see the domain history of over 750 billion websites and their performance over time. Simply enter your domain name to see how it looked like in the past.


This tool provides a complete set of SEO tools. You may look into a domain and its backlink profile. You can get an idea about spammy links that indicate black hat SEO strategies.

This tool provides a free backlink audit feature and divides the links into three categories:

  • Toxic domains

  • Potentially toxic

  • Nontoxic

See the ratio of toxic to nontoxic backlinks. If a website has a higher proportion of toxic backlinks, purchasing it is not a good idea. Even good domains also have toxic backlinks, but that doesn't mean you should avoid them.

Use this audit report to avoid buying a spammy and problematic domain.

  • To see the WHOIS history, go to the site of your choice.

  • Type in the name of the domain.

  • Check out the information or domain history of that particular domain.

The bottom line

WHOIS is the protocol or internet-based record listing that keeps the databases of registered users of domain names.

WHOIS history provides a record of past and current owners of a domain. A website's domain history can be searched using different free and paid tools. 

Checking domain history before purchasing a domain is crucial. It takes a lot of time and effort, but in the long run, it will be worthwhile.

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