What is domain name front running and how to avoid it? 

The very idea that a domain name registrar could be monitoring your domain name availability queries and even registering a domain name you don’t immediately register sounds mistrustful. Some people from the domain industry say this practice is partially true and some say that this was fr the benefit of some customers.

Although there are many rules and regulations that aim to ensure a fair level of online play for buyers, sellers, and investors, there are sometimes practices that try to avoid these rules. It’s sad, but there are always people looking for more content, even if it’s not honest.

Domain front running is one of the unreliable practices that will definitely lead to serious trust issues between registrants and potential domain buyers.

Is there still this practice happening today? Has it happened before? There may seem to be conflicting views, but let’s look at the available data to see what we can find about domain management and how you can prevent it.

What is domain name front running? 

Domain name front running is the practice of registrars buying domain names with the intention of selling them online to a larger number of potential customers. Because investors and even webmasters use registrar search tools to find domain names, the registrar knows which names they are interested in or are interested in.

People who want to buy a domain name are very concerned that whenever they look for a good domain name in the registry and can’t buy the name directly, they will come back to see the name they have purchased.

That domain will then have “For Sale” as a landing page full of ads. Registration is private to the registrar and contacting the seller for a price results in a much higher “price premium” than it was a few days ago when the name was used. If this sounds like bad practice, it’s because it is.

In theory, this practice should end in 2013, but opinions differ on whether this is the case. Why 2013? Because that was the year that the ICANN rule change turned out to be prohibiting the practice of applying for a registrar.

This comes after a disgrace in a case against Network Solutions in 2008 after they allowed a practice that they claimed was not a demonstration of a domain name but involved a price increase and sounded the same. The case was decided in favor of the prosecutor.

So why do some domain registrars do this? Simple. For easy profit. But you can stay away from this if you follow these steps and if you signup with a reliable domain registration provider.

How you can avid domain name front running

  1. Don’t talk about it in public

When a registrar takes lookup information and uses it to buy a domain, it’s illegal. But if you’re bragging about a great name that you found and other people hear about then go and buy it, it’s totally fine.

Don’t talk publicly about the great domain names you found. Especially before buying. It’s just a request to snatch it from you.

  1. Don’t search in public – use a computer terminal

When you use a registrar finder, you are actually accessing the registry database for information about what is and is not available.

With the right software, you can do it right from your computer. If you ignore the registrar’s search function, they will not have access to the name you are looking for. Here is what you can do if you have any of these systems:

a) On a Mac or Linux system:

Open the Terminal app (located at /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app). For quick access, press Command + Spacebar at the same time, then type Terminal.

Type whoisquery.ext without the quotes. Where “query” is the domain and “ext” is the extension.

For example, type whois domainherpa.com to run a WHOIS lookup for that site.

Check the output. If your domain is not registered, you will see ” No match for QUERY.EXT”.

b) On a Windows computer, do the following:

Download Whois v1.01 from Microsoft and open the app. Or Press Command+Space and then type Terminal.

Type “whois query.ext” without the quotes, where “query” is the domain and “ext” is the extension.

For example, enter “whois domainsherpa.com” and perform a WHOIS search on the site.

Ir will show output. If the domain is not registered, “No match for QUERY.EXT” will be displayed.

  1. Register immediately

If you find a good name, do not hesitate. If you buy it now, there is no chance that anyone will get there and cut it off.

Register the name immediately and keep it in your account until you are ready to use it.


We hope that you have understood how to avoid domain front running and what you can do in time to ensure that you don’t bear the brunt of it. If precautions are taken in time, you can definitely keep your domain name for a longer period of time.

By pauline