If you’re planning to purchase a new domain name, it might be a good idea to check the domain history. This is because domains can have a long history with ownership changing hands a number of times.
They reason you may want to know a domains past is because the site may have contained malicious code that can cause it to be blocked or penalized by the search engines, or it may have hosted questionable activities. Or you may simply need to contact the previous owners of the domain name.
When registering a domain name one step is to provide valid and accurate contact information, this is known as WHOIS info. While some prefer to make this information private others provide detailed domain history such as the name and address of previous owners, DNS records and hosting information.
Here are some tools to help you research a previous websites content, the domains history and the domain name ownership history
Probably my favourite is WayBack Machine. For many years Wayback Machine has been backing up parts of the Web that would otherwise have been lost. Wayback Machine provides snapshots of how the site appeared months and often years ago. This will help you to identify what kind of content the site once contained.
Click here to visit Wayback Machine
DomainHistory.net is a simple website that can check domain ownership history by providing current/past whois information and reverse email/registrar/IP. All you need to do is enter the domain name in the website and click the Search button. The historical whois data is shown in the results page and you can jump straight to the specific record date from the right hand side.
To get unlimited whois, domain history and export the reports you can buy a professional membership that costs about $29.99 per month with the first 30 years being free.
Domaintools.com is one of the most comprehensive services, offering a number of premium online tools for carrying out research on a domain. One such tool provides Whois Domain name History. This enables you to look up previous registrants, Name services, IP addresses, locations and more.
Unfortunately the Whois History features is only available with a professional subscription that costs $49.95. However you can still sign up for a 7 day trial account and then cancel your membership trial within 7 days, before your credit card is charged. Your subscription however will include access to some of their other great tools.