4 Options To Find Great Free Domain Names

Martin Brinkmann
May 27, 2012
Updated • Feb 26, 2014

So you have decided to create a new website, be it a personal blog, a website for a local sports club, or a new web service that you are about to launch. The only thing missing is a domain name, preferably short and up to the point. But no matter how hard you think about it, you do not come up with a fitting name that is still available. The following four options may aid you in finding next-to perfect domain names for your projects.

1. Expiring Domain Names

It is first necessary to distinguish between expiring and dropped domain names. Expiring domain names are still registered by someone, who has not yet paid the yearly fee to keep in possession of the domain name in question. Dropped domain names have expired already.

Lots of services are available on the Internet that auction off or sell dropped or expiring domain names. Here are a few places to get you started.

  • Namejet - Pretty big site that offers detailed search options to find the domains you are looking from. From entering a term that you want included to filtering out domain names by extension, category, and the maximum number of characters.
  • Godaddy Auctions - Auctions for sites expiring at one of the largest domain registrars in the world. Filters are pretty good, and you get additional information like traffic information or valuations.
  • Just Dropped - Offers to display results from multiple registrars, again with extensive options to filter the results listing.

Expiring domains can be a great option if all suitable domain names have been registered already. While you still need to be lucky to find a suitable one here, it offers a chance to get a great domain name for a small price. Keep in mind though that you should background check the domain name before making an offer. This includes finding out what was offered on the domain before, and whether the webmaster or a SEO agency ran campaigns that may have got it penalized in the search engines.

2. Domain Name Suggestion Tools

These online tools generate domain names based on terms that you enter. Some may let you add prefixes, suffixes or other optional terms as well.

  • DomainsBot - Enter a main word and synonyms and wait for the results listing to be populated with options. The service can search Sedo and Godaddy for you, or only display domain names that you can register right away. Additional options include selecting TLD extensions, using prefixes and suffixes, different languages, and specifying the domain length.
  • Domainit - Enter one or multiple keywords, select domain extensions, the maximum length, and whether you want the service to add its own suggestions to the resulting domain names.
  • Ubersearch - Enter a search term or phrase and get suggestions displayed on the same page. You do not have as many options as the other two services offer, but it is pretty fast and displays the availability right away on the screen.

3.  Buy a domain name

If a domain name is not available, you can try and contact the current owner to broker a deal. This obviously won't work for domain names like Google, Amazon or Microsoft, but may work for domain names not in the possession of large organizations.

Instead of contacting the owner directly, you may also try your luck at sites where you can buy domain names and web projects directly.

  • Flippa - Probably the biggest site of its kind. On Flippa, you find domain names and web projects. Most websites on offer are sold in auctions, while you may find some listed for buy it now prices or no price at all (which means you must negotiate). The popularity of the site means that many sites will be priced on the high-side of things. Not broker-high, but still pretty high.
  • Namepros - A webmaster community forum with a strong focus on domain names. You can buy domain names here, get appraisals and domain related news.
  • Sedo - A domain market for domains without content and web projects. It is one of the most respected marketplace in this vertical, and often pretty expensive.

4. Get Personal Recommendations

You can ask friends, family and co-workers for suggestions, and while that may sometimes result in you finding a great domain name that you did not think about before, you more often than not won't. Recommendations can however come in other forms.

  • Picky Domains - For a fee of $50 you can ask users on the site to provide you with domain name suggestions. The winning user gets part of the money, while the site operators get some of it as well. It is important to use a good description and enter keywords that you find suitable for the site. You can furthermore select domain extensions, the maximum length and other factors.
  • Squad Help A similar service with more pricing options and fees on top of it.  Service begins at $50 plus a fee of $39. You can take a look at active naming contests, which usually receive more than 100 entries.

Closing Words

Finding a suitable domain name for a new project can be a time-consuming task, especially if you want it to be perfect, and not just suitable for the project. One thing that I often do is to get a list of about five suitable free domain names, and ask close (webmaster) friends to pick their favorites. It is still up to you though to make a decision in the end.

Are you using different tolls or web services to find free domain names?


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  1. Ryan said on July 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Hello Martin, that is a great article. Very informative and useful. Thank you very much for the post. For domain suggestion tool you can add htt://www.namestall.com/ also. Though the site is relatively new but has some very advanced and sophisticated domain name tools like domain name generator, domain name suggestions, brand name generator, instant domain search tool and some other unique tools. If you visit the site I am quite sure you will love some of their domain name tools. Anyway, once again thank you very much for this interesting post.

  2. whoisdo.net said on June 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm
  3. Matt Mazur said on June 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

    As always, nice article Martin —

    I recently dropped you an email about this, but I built a new domain search tool called Lean Domain Search (http://www.leandomainsearch.com) that might also be able to help. It pairs your search term with 2,500 other keywords commonly found in domain names and instantly shows you which are available. On average, it returns over 1,200 available domain names per search, making it really, really easy to find a great .com domain name for your site.

    Hope it helps!

  4. Snap said on June 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Nice List – but there are some more Options to find Free Domains Names like there is the Xenu Link checker. Pick a Big Linking site and check all the outgoing links.

    Collect broken links and try to Register them.

    Okay not 100% Top Names but completely Free ;)

  5. webfork said on June 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve been looking for this to track down an open web address based on a few loose criterion. Excellent article, thanks.

  6. EHSAN said on May 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm


  7. Sylvina said on May 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    PickyDomains is great, I’ve had a couple of successes with them. Can’t say the same about Squadhelp (but maybee it’s just me). Never heard of Flippa – looks very promising.

  8. Sujay said on May 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent article as always. But everyone should not miss this part of your article:
    “Keep in mind though that you should background check the domain name before making an offer. This includes finding out what was offered on the domain before, and whether the webmaster or a SEO agency ran campaigns that may have got it penalized in the search engines.”

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