12 Tools to Help You Buy the Perfect Domain NameBy Kevin Fink
Buying a domain name for that next project of yours can be a tricky endeavor.
Maybe the plot of virtual real estate you’ve had your eye on is already in-use. Or maybe it costs as much as actual real estate on the aftermarket, if it’s even for sale at all! Either way, the experience of sourcing, checking and acquiring can be daunting.
It’s increasingly difficult to find the exact domain you want – unless, that is, you’re willing to get creative by devising brandable monikers, or incorporating unorthodox domain extensions to create “domain hacks.”
In no particular order, here’s a new list of top Domain Name Generators and availability checkers – all of which allow you to find your domain and verify its availability in real time!
Recommended Domain Name Generators
DomainsBot offers a powerhouse of tools: while robust, it may require a bit more knowledge of domain name speculation in general.
When you decide on a root-word, plug it into the search, and out comes a myriad of combinations with the help of synonyms, prefixes, suffixes, and TLD (top level domain) extensions; you can refine results by excluding or adding any of the above. Beyond that, you can filter additional TLDs, choosing to include new gTLD extensions in your search (which can make for some great domain hacks).
Most helpful, you will be shown real-time availability of not just the domain suggestions returned to you, but their corresponding Twitter and Facebook handles to-boot. If something is available for you to hand-register, you can simply click “Available” and up pops a selection of over 20 domain registrars you can choose to buy your domain at. If your choice is available in the aftermarket, it will be listed with its corresponding price and marketplace where you can find it. Solid.
Simply search any word, made-up or real, and it will generate potentially thousands of results – stringing together popular prefixes, suffixes and common words. Sort results alphabetically, by phrase-length, or by popularity. There’s a nifty list hidden on the main results page that shows you the 10,000 most popular search terms by domain registration count – albeit, the source blog post is over two years old.
You can also filter results to have your search term “start” or “end” with the suggested accompaniment, or copy all results to your clipboard. Since only available results show, when you’re ready to select one to register, simply click on its corresponding green box. Three registrars will emerge as choices when buying your domain, and results will also show if a corresponding Twitter handle is available.
One interesting thing I have noticed is that – before choosing a partner registrar – this tool will prompt you to setup a WordPress account on your new domain. This is undoubtedly due to LeanDomainSearch being acquired by WordPress’ parent company, Automattic about a year ago.
This one is definitely new on my list – in the best possible way: NameMesh might be one of the most exhaustive domain generator tools available. Simply enter in your search term(s) and boom – results are sorted into eight categories of results, including Common, New, Short, Extra, Similar, SEO, Fun and Mix.
Toggle on and off different extensions, maximum character length, and whether you want unavailable domain suggestions to be included in the results. And speaking of results, there will be hundreds: the more you scroll down, the more suggestions populate throughout each bucket.
Choose your preferred registrar from a drop-down of 10 choices, hover over a domain to ensure availability, and click-through to register! You can even create an account so you can bookmark multiple picks. NameMesh also has a “Startup Company Name Generator,” though it appears to filter your results through the main search area’s lens.
Panabee is just like the domain name suggestions it generates – unique, brandable and chock-full of opportunity. Plug-in a word or two and you’re rewarded with a myriad of “Domain Name Ideas”: the main results section creates new words by appending, prepending, reversing and swapping words.
There is also a bucket to keep a customizable list; a spot where you can overwrite your current search with a related term; the ability to check which related social media usernames are available; applicable Google results; and, handy for developers, the ability to see whether your search term calls-up any developed apps in the Apple or Google app stores!
As strong as Panabee is as a tool, I did notice that it only allows you to search one TLD at a time (unless you throw your preferred extension into the search bar, as well), and GoDaddy is the only registrar partner available via direct link.
With a clean and simple UI, NXDom is extremely quick – find available domains that “start with” and/or “end with” your desired word, and be granted immediate results. Filter by length, popularity of prefixes & suffixes and readability in four languages. Choose from one of five partner registrars to buy your domain through, first checking for availability by clicking on your desired results.
NameVine is super-simple and actually pretty fun to use: key-in your word and watch your results pour in, which you can expand at any time by navigating down the page.
Select a domain to check its availability and you’ll get instant notification as to whether the .COM and .US extensions are available to buy, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube handles!
If you head into “Settings,” you can toggle “All Extensions,” which adds nine more TLDs to choose from.
Easy to use with quickly-returned results, designate whether you want an adjective, verb or noun – and what character length to apply to them (4 to 6) – to act as the suffix or prefix of a word of your choice. Build a list of favorites to refer back to, or use partner registrars GoDaddy, Namecheap and CompanyName.com to click-through to buy your domain.
Aside from an expired domain search, there is the “Name Spinner” section that mirrors a lot of the other tools’ capabilities in this list. Match your search parameters to particular themes, and off you go. There is also a Name Generator function that spits-out random, brandable results with no input from the user. iPad and iPhone app available, too.
This is also one of the most exhaustive domain name generators I have ever seen; a little less user-friendly, but possessing way more search modules. The caveat is that full and unlimited access requires a paid, monthly membership.
There is a basic Domain Name Generator Tool, where you match a word or phrase with any word group from the drop-down, choosing from common and popular words, parts of speech, or dozens of other niches. There also exist a handful of search-subsets, like the Rhyming Domain Name Generator, Random Keyword Domains and Domain Brainstorm section. Suggestion tools also exist for domain hacks, brandables, and – for all you domain investors out there – high-paying keywords.
Domain + Social Media Availability Checkers
If you already know – and are unyielding in your determination to acquire – your word, phrase or brandable name of choice, Domai.nr is my personal favorite tool to help you see immediate availability.
If your choice isn’t available in top TLDs like .COM or .ORG, it may spit-back results that “hack” the domain by using a ccTLD as part of the word or phrase of your choice. A very clean, simple and cool tool, especially if you’re a domain-hack geek like I am.
From where I’m sitting, NameCheck is one of the most comprehensive “name” checkers online. It is a product of parent-site and domain registrar, United Domains, which in this case is the partner registrar you would click-through to purchase your domain. Search any of the 12 top domain extensions, as well as 10 of the newer gTLDs.
Moving down the page, you have an unprecedented Social Media Username bonanza, with 12 checks available – including eBay, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Last.fm, DIGG and more (through partner KnowEm.com).
Need trademarks? Try checks from the US (USPTO), Germany (DPMA), Europe (CTM) and International (WIPO).
While fun to use to check for already-conjured domains, or ascertaining whether a lesser-known extension of such might be available, Domize is much stronger with its suggestions of names available in the aftermarket.
Search via the “Premium” tab and see which domains are being sold on the GoDaddy/Afternic platform – depending on your search term, it could be hundreds. More-apt for those with a keyword domain in mind – and a budget.
… Or Use a Domain Name Broker
And of course you can get someone else to do all the hard work for you! A domain name broker like Flippa’s Deal Flow brokerage will do all the heavy lifting and present you with the opportunities that meet your search criteria.
I would use (and have) many choices on this list, but after further review am convinced that DomainsBot is one of the best full-service tools in existence. Domain name generation, multiple extension and registrar support, aftermarket results, Twitter and Facebook username checker and built-in WhoIs – what more do you need?
As far as a straight-ahead domain availability checker is concerned, I’ve been using Domai.nr for years and will continue to do so – it’s simple, fast and amazing for domain-hack creations.
I’d love to know what you think – sound-off in the comments section and share your top pick!