Photo credit: JR P
If you make a living buying, selling, or developing domain names – or hope to – you will be pleased to learn there’s a wide variety of free and paid tools out there to help you get the job done.
The hardest part of writing this post about my 8 favorite domain name tools was deciding which of my long and forever expanding list of frequently-used tools would make the cut.
What follows is an eclectic mix of some of my most cherished tools, plus a few particularly cool or noteworthy ones you might not know about. Where possible, I have tried to indicate the price(s), if any.
Estibot is best known as an automated domain name appraisal tool (the results of which you should always take with a grain of salt). The service offers a suite of over a dozen tools that will come in handy to anyone serious about domain names.
I think of Estibot as my domain name “Swiss Army Knife” and I use it every single day.
I use the Domain Parser tool frequently to quickly clean up rough lists of domain names, and the Availability Checker is a super easy way to instantly identify domains that are available to register. No matter what you are trying to accomplish with domain names, chances are Estibot has a tool for it. Some services are free and others require a subscription.
This is my other “must-have” domain name tool, and I spend a good chunk of my day using the various services on offer here.
DomainTools is my first choice for doing WHOIS lookups thanks to the extra data provided, and I also like to look at WHOIS History and the historical Screenshots to research the previous ownership and use of a domain name. The various domain Monitoring services are terrific to keep tabs on important domain names that you own or wish to own.
As with Estibot, some services are free and others require a subscription.
When it’s time to complete the transaction of a valuable domain name, whether I am the buyer, seller or broker, Escrow.com is my first choice for domain name escrow service.
This service, which charges a fee based on the sale price of the domain, helps protect the integrity of the transaction, ensuring that the buyer gets the domain name and the seller gets paid.
If you’re doing a domain name transaction valued at $1,000 or higher, especially if you have never done business with the other party before, you should seriously consider using an escrow service like Escrow.com.
Editor’s note: We use Escrow.com here on Flippa.
This Windows and Mac OS client software (actually a family of related software) is invaluable if you are managing a portfolio of domain names for yourself or others.
It allows you to consolidate and monitor expiry dates, nameservers, MX records, and much more. This tool is very useful in terms of helping you stay on top of the status of a large number of domain names. It comes in various free and paid versions, including a no-frills free version called Domain Name Analyzer.
5. Domain Apps
Formerly the WhyPark automated domain development platform, Domain Apps is a free tool that gives you the ability to quickly generate search-engine friendly mini-sites for your domains. Unlike traditional parked domains, domains built on Domain Apps are actually indexed by search engines.
You can customize these sites just about any way you want, plug in some cool features like a directory, coupons or YouTube videos, integrate advertising, and get detailed statistical reporting. My favorite use of Domain Apps is to easily create “For Sale” landers for domain names in bulk.
6. Wayback Machine
A service of the remarkable Internet Archive, Wayback Machine allows you to search and browse historical snapshots of Websites stretching back over a decade. There’s no better way to find out how a domain name was being used in the past than browsing its history on the Wayback Machine.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this free tool to dig up an interesting factoid – or settle a bar bet. I love this tool, and it can be so much fun as well. For a laugh, try looking at an old snapshot of one of your websites.
7. NameBoy Radio Test
An oldie but a goodie, NameBoy’s free Radio Test helps you avoid choosing domain names that could be easily misunderstood when said out loud. It does this by presenting sound-alike words and phrases based on the keywords in the domain name you are thinking of. After all, you want to be careful with your domain names. A famous example is “Pen Island”, which becomes “penisland.com” and that’s not exactly ideal…
This is a comprehensive rhyming dictionary and thesaurus that is my first stop whenever I need creative inspiration for a naming project. For a free tool, RhymeZone offers a valuable array of services to unlock writer’s block and stimulate the naming process.
The next time you are stuck trying to come up with a new domain name, spend a few minutes on RhymeZone and see where it leads you.
Over to You
These are only a few of my favorite tools, which I use to buy my domain names. Which favorite domain tools are on your list? Please let us know in the comments.