How Much Is My Domain Name Worth?

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 4:44 PM ET Mon, May 24th 2021

How much is my domain name worth

If you already own a domain name or you’re interested in buying one, you may be wondering what it’s worth. Looking at domain selling websites might only confuse you more at first since the value of one domain or another may appear arbitrary. This is because domain name evaluation is a complex process that takes many distinct yet interwoven characteristics into account. It’s possible to use machine-learning algorithms to get a reasonably accurate estimate or to hire an appraisal expert. Either way, when you ask, “How much is my domain name worth?” the answer may surprise you.

The answer might be a dollar value in the thousands, millions, or ones. Furthermore, it might be worth much more today than it was yesterday. Many domain names have sold for millions of dollars, such as the famous $30 million Voice.com sale.

It’s unlikely you own a million-dollar domain such as VPN.com. In fact, the great majority of domain names are barely worth their $10 annual maintenance fee. However, there are countless examples of domains worth tens of thousands of dollars. A domain name derives its value from how well it can sell on the aftermarket.

What Makes Domain Names Valuable?

There’s no objective method to assign value to a domain. While there are factors that make a domain more or less valuable, they’re ultimately worth what someone, somewhere is willing to pay. This might be because a domain has great value to a specific buyer, which drove Facebook to spend over $8 million on fb.com.

On the other hand, it might have a great generic value which would allow many different buyers to find it useful. Understanding the metrics that make a domain appealing will help you understand the value of your domains. Once you understand these factors, you can get an idea of the value of your domain by seeking out examples of similarly good domains and seeing what they’re selling for. If you’re not satisfied with this self-estimation, you can also turn to free, computerized appraisal services or a domain brokerage.

Assessing The Value Of A Domain

The exact number of metrics that influence the value of a domain depends on which expert you ask. Some cite the importance of generic value and concision, while others consolidate these and other features into the catch-all concept of brandability. This refers to the ability of a brand to build itself around a domain that is catchy and easy to remember. If you’re looking to gain an in-depth understanding of domain value, it’s best to break a domain down into its most basic components.

Top-Level Domain

On a technical level, there are two components of a domain name. The first half, such as “VPN” in VPN.com, is the second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) such as .com, .co, .net, .org, or .biz forms the second half of the domain name. While there’s an effectively limitless number of second-level domains, there’s a relatively smaller number of TLDs.

Your choice of a top-level domain doesn’t materially change the function of your website, but it’s extremely important nonetheless. This is for two key reasons, which are viewer perception and searcher mistakes. Studies show that people perceive .com and .co as the most trustworthy and reliable, with .org and .net following closely behind. This is particularly interesting because .org has an association with nonprofits and charities while .co is simply the Colombian country code. It’s likely that the popularity and trustworthiness of .co originate from its similarity to .com, the most popular and valuable TLD.

You can use any top-level domain, save for a few restricted TLDs, for any purpose. You need to exercise caution, though, because using a domain that isn’t reputable can damage your perception. In many cases, it will result in people failing to go to the correct domain, too. When people misremember a domain name, they assume it ends in .com by an overwhelming margin.

What this all boils down to is that .com is generally the most valuable top-level domain. However, other well-known and respected domains can still be extremely valuable. On the other hand, TLDs that are obscure and lack trust among the public can sink the value of a domain. However, there are successful websites with unconventional TLDs; it ultimately depends on the specific domain name and the state of the market. 

Keywords

Search engine optimization and organic traffic capture are two of the most important elements of online marketing, and they run on keywords. While Google and other search engines have mitigated the value of domain keywords, they still help websites rank. As a result, domain names that include popular keywords are especially valuable. When a domain is a single keyword or key phrase, this is especially favorable. Additionally, such a domain name will necessarily rank well on two other important metrics: brevity and generic value.

Short Length

If you look at a website where domain owners sell their domains, you’ll frequently see short domains selling at high prices. In particular, three and four-character domains are almost guaranteed to be valuable. These names are perfectly suited for acronyms that will be useful and sellable to countless possible buyers. The likelihood of eventually selling a short domain at a profit also makes it easy to sell them to investors at a reasonable price.

The other type of short, valuable domain is the one-word or two-word domain. These typically do well on SEO and have broad appeal. For instance, any website that makes, sells, or writes about shoes would love to own shoes.com. In general, brevity tends to result in high generic value.

Generic Value

A domain with generic value is one that’s sufficiently non-specific that many businesses can brand themselves around it. Any second-level domain consisting of one word that is associated with a product or service should have excellent generic value. However, high levels of generic value can exist even in longer, multi-word domains.

Memorable

Generic value, brevity, and related features all interplay with how memorable and brandable a domain is. If someone hears about a company using the domain name you own from a friend or sees it in an advertisement, will they remember it? A catchy, memorable domain name enhances the effectiveness of the owners’ advertising efforts. A domain name is only as good as its ability to draw traffic and help a website succeed.

Precise Spelling

The human brain stores visual and audio information more effectively than the written word. As a result, domain names that don’t use a natural spelling may be worth much less. If someone hears about a website called “pizza for you,” it’s somewhat unlikely they’ll realize that the actual domain is pizza4u.com. If your domain name uses the first spelling that people will assume the name uses, that will make it more valuable. Domains that use letters or numbers in place of words may be less valuable, and a misspelled domain (shoos.com vs shoes.com, for instance) could be worth little overall.

Existing Brand Associations

If your domain is similar to a popular, existing brand, then that can be a boon for its value. Facebook purchasing fb.com for $8.6 million is a famous story, but the company also bought up many other similar domains. The company owns fb.com, facebok.com, and facebook.org among others. This even includes domains with low-trust TLDs, such as facebook.biz. Upon visiting them, you’ll find that the only thing the company uses them for is traffic redirection back to the main website.

While manipulating a brand association can result in a violation of cybersquatting laws, this requires actual wrongdoing on part of the owner. Overall, brand associations can only be a good thing for the value of a domain. If nothing else, the owner can count on accidental traffic and a resultant boost to SEO.

Pre-existing Traffic

An existing flow of traffic is one of the best signs of value for a domain. When a domain name with no website is already receiving visitors, it means the owner can count on a minimum amount of traffic. It also indicates that a domain name performs well on other value metrics. After all, a counterintuitive spelling with an obscure top-level domain and no website is unlikely to receive any accidental traffic. If it’s common for searchers to reach your domain accidentally, then those who want to find it should have no trouble.

The Nuances Of Domain Name Evaluation

While you can use all of these metrics to understand domain name evaluation, this comes with a caveat. By nature of the industry, there isn’t and never can be a formula for precisely measuring the value of a domain. Another complicating factor in domain name evaluation is that a domain is hardly ever worth the sum of its parts.

When every metric except one implies that a domain is extremely valuable but one metric is outright bad, the domain is likely mediocre. However, this and every other rule of domain appraisal have plenty of exceptions. It’s this complexity that leads many industry specialists to say that appraisal is less of a science and more of an art.

Domain Name Appraisal

Once you understand what constitutes a good domain name, you can compare your domain to others. Search for domains that are as similar to yours as possible in terms of memorability, brevity, and keywords. If the domains you deem similar consistently sell within a certain range, then you have an idea of its value. However, you shouldn’t take risks on undervaluing any financial asset, whether it’s a home or a domain name.

If you’re looking for an answer to “How much is my domain name worth,” you have two options to choose between. There are many websites that offer a free appraisal tool, and domain brokerages offer evaluation as a core service. Both options are worth using, for different reasons. The accessibility of a free, algorithm-based appraisal is too much of an advantage to discount. However, hiring a domain name broker to assess the value of your domain name will ultimately produce a more reliable estimate.

Algorithmic Appraisal

A free evaluation typically uses an algorithm. This might be a manually programmed algorithm or one that uses machine learning. Either way, their inner-workings are highly complex, and the result is what amounts to a ballpark estimate. Utilizing one of these free services is easy, but the complexities of evaluating domain name value are hard for an algorithm to grasp. For a truly accurate estimate, you’ll need to contact someone who can combine raw data with human experience.

Professional Domain Name Appraisal Services

A professional domain broker isn’t constrained by the limitations of an algorithm. Each of the many metrics that inform domain value interact in a dynamic, non-linear manner. One of the strengths of hiring a professional to appraise your domain is that they appreciate this and can incorporate it into their estimates. Consider reaching out today for a free domain name appraisal.

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  • lowercase only. no special characters

North America Domains

Country

Bermuda

Canada
Greenland
Mexico
Saint Pierre
United States

Domain
.bm
.ca
.gl
.com.mx, .mx
.pm
.us, .com
Language
English
French, English
Greenlandic
Spanish
French
English
Capital
Hamilton
Ottawa
Nuuk
Mexico City
Saint-Pierre
Washington D.C.
Pop.
62,278
37,742,154
56,770
128,932,753
5,794
331,002,651

Africa Domains

Country

Algeria

Angola
Antarctica
Benin
Botswana
Burkina
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Cote D'Ivoire
Dem. Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Gabon
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Congo
Reunion Island
Rwanda
Sao Tome
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
St. Helena
Sudan
Tanzania
The Gambia
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe
South Sudan
Domain Extension
.dz
.co.ao
.aq
.bj
.bw
.bf
.bi
.cm
.cv
.cf
.td
.ci
.cd
.dj
.com.eg, .eg
.gq
.ga
.com.gh
.com.gn
.gw
.ke
.co.ls, .ls
.com.lr
.ly
.mg
.mw
.ml
.mr
.mu
.yt
.co.ma, .ma
.co.mz
.na
.ne
.ng
.cg
.re
.rw
.st
.sn
.sc
.sl
.so
.co.za
.sh
.sd
.co.tz
.gm
.tg
.com.tn, .tn
.com.ug, .ug
.com.zm
.co.zw
.com.ss
Language
Arabic
Portuguese
Russian, English
French
English
French
French, English, Kirundi
French, English
Portuguese, Creole
Sango, French
French, Arabic
French
French
Arabic, French
Arabic
Spanish, French, Portuguese
French
English
French
Portuguese
Swahili, English
Southern Sotho, English
English
Arabic
Malagasy, French
English
French
Arabic
Mauritian Creole
French
Arabic
Portuguese
English
French
English
French
Reunion French Creole
Kinyarwanda, English, French
Portuguese
French
English, Seselwa, French
English
Somali
Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English
English
Arabic, English
Swahili, English
English
French
Arabic
Swahili, English
English
Shona, Ndebele, English
English
Capital
Algiers
Luanda
N/A
Porto-Novo
Gaborone
Ouagadougou
Gitega
Yaoundé
Praia
Bangui
N'Djamena
Yamoussoukro
Kinshasa
Djibouti
Cairo
Malabo
Libreville
Accra
Conakry
Bissau
Nairobi
Maseru
Monrovia
Tripoli
Antananarivo
Lilongwe
Bamako
Nouakchott
Port Louis
Mamoudzou
Rabat
Maputo
Windhoek
Niamey
Abuja
Brazzaville
Saint-Denis
Kigali
São Tomé
Dakar
Victoria
Freetown
Mogadishu
Cape Town
Jamestown
Khartoum
Dodoma
Banjul
Lomé
Tunis
Kampala
Lusaka
Harare
Juba
Pop.
43,851,044
32,866,272
4,490
12,123,200
2,351,627
20,903,273
11,890,784
26,545,863
561,198
4,829,767
16,425,864
26,378,274
89,561,403
988,000
102,334,404
1,402,985
2,225,734
31,072,940
13,132,795
1,968,001
53,771,296
2,142,249
5,057,681
6,871,292
27,691,018
19,129,952
20,250,833
4,649,658
1,271,768
272,815
36,910,560
31,255,435
2,540,905
24,206,644
206,139,589
5,518,087
895,312
12,952,218
219,159
16,743,927
98,347
7,976,983
15,893,222
59,308,690
6,077
43,849,260
59,734,218
2,416,668
8,278,724
11,818,619
45,741,007
18,383,955
14,862,924
11,193,725

Asia Domains

Country

Afghanistan

Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Bhutan
British Indian Ocean Territory
Brunei
Cambodia
China
Christmas Island
Georgia
Guam
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Macao
Malaysia
Maldives
Mongolia
Myanmar
Nepal
Niue
Pakistan
Palestine
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Thailand
Timor Leste
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
Domain
.af
.am
.az
.com.bd
.bt
.io
.com.bn
.com.kh
.cn, .com.cn
.cx
.com.ge, .ge
.com.gu
.com.hk, .hk
.co.in, .in
.co.id, .id
.jp
.kz
.kg
.la
.mo
.com.my, .my
.mv
.mn
.com.mm
.com.np
.nu
.pk
.com.ps, .ps
.ph
.com.sg, .sg
.com.kr, .kr
.lk
.com.tw, .tw
.com.tj, .tj
.co.th
.tl
.tm
.uz
.com.vn
Language
Pashto, Dari
Armenian
Azerbaijani
Bengali
Dzongkha
English
Malay
Khmer
Mandarin
English
Georgian
Chamorro, English
Cantonese, Mandarin, English
Hindi, English
Indonesian
Japanese
Kazakh, Russian
Kyrgyz, Russian
Lao
Cantonese, Portuguese
Malay
Dhivehi
Mongolian
Burmese
Nepali
Niue, English
Urdu, English
Arabic
Filipino, English
Malay, Tamil, English, Mandarin
Korean
Sinhala, Tamil
Mandarin
Tajiki
Thai
Portuguese, Tetun
Turkmen
Uzbek
Vietnamese
Capital
Kabul
Yerevan
Baku
Dhaka
Thimphu
Camp Justice
Bandar Seri Begawan
Phnom Penh
Beijing
Flying Fish Cove
Tbilisi
Hagåtña
City of Victoria
New Delhi
Jakarta
Tokyo
Nur-Sultan
Bishkek
Vientiane
Macao
Kuala Lumpur
Malé
Ulaanbaatar
Naypyitaw
Kathmandu
Alofi
Islamabad
Ramallah, East Jerusalem
Manila
Pulau Ujong
Seoul
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Taipei
Dushanbe
Bangkok
Dili
Ashgabat
Tashkent
Hanoi
Pop.
38,928,346
2,963,243
10,139,177
164,689,383
771,608
3,000
437,479
16,718,965
1,439,323,776
1,843
3,989,167
168,775
7,496,981
1,380,004,385
273,523,615
126,476,461
18,776,707
6,524,195
7,275,560
649,335
32,365,999
540,544
3,278,290
54,409,800
29,136,808
1,626
220,892,340
5,101,414
109,581,078
5,850,342
51,269,185
21,413,249
23,816,775
9,537,645
69,799,978
1,318,445
6,031,200
33,469,203
97,338,579

Caribbean Domains

Country

Anguilla

Antigua
Aruba
Bahamas
Barbados
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Curacao
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Haiti
Jamaica
Martinique
Montserrat
Puerto Rico
Saint Lucia
Sint Maarten
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos
U.S. Virgin Islands
Domain Extension
.ai
.ag
.aw
.bs
.bb
.vg
.com.ky, .ky
.com.cw, .cw
.dm
.do
.gd
.gp
.ht
.com.jm
.mq
.ms
.com.pr, .pr
.lc
.sx
.kn
.com.vc, .vc
.tt
.tc
.com.vi, .vi
Language
English
English
Dutch, Papiamento
English
English
English
English
Dutch, English, Papiamento
English
Spanish
English
French
Haitian Creole, French
English
French
English
Spanish, English
English
Dutch, English
English
English
English
English
English
Capital
The Valley
Saint John's
Oranjestad
Nassau
Bridgetown
Road Town
George Town
Willemstad
Roseau
Santo Domingo
Saint George's
Basse-Terre
Port-au-Prince
Kingston
Fort-de-France
Plymouth, Brades
San Juan
Castries
Philipsburg
Basseterre, Charlestown
Kingstown
Port of Spain
Cockburn Town
Charlotte Amalie
Pop.
15,003
97,929
106,766
393,244
287,375
30,231
65,722
164,093
71,986
10,847,910
112,523
400,124
11,402,528
2,961,167
375,265
4,992
2,860,853
183,627
42,876
53,199
110,940
1,399,488
38,717
104,425

Central America Domains

Country

Belize

Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama
Domain
.bz
.cr
.com.sv, .sv
.com.gt, .gt
.hn
.com.ni, .ni
.pa
Language
English
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
Capital
Belmopan
San José
San Salvador
Guatemala City
Tegucigalpa
Managua
Panama City
Pop.
397,628
5,094,118
6,486,205
17,915,568
9,904,607
6,624,554
4,314,767

Europe Domains

Country

Aland Islands

Albania
Ascension Island
Austria
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Faroe Island
Finland
France
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Guernsey
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Isle of Man
Italy
Jersey
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Malta
Moldova
Monaco
Montenegro
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Domain Extension
.ax
.al
.ac
.at
.by
.be
.ba
.bg
.hr
.cy
.co.cz, .cz
.dk
.ee
.fo
.fi
.fr
.de
.gi
.com.gr, .gr
.gg
.hu
.is
.ie
.im
.it
.je
.lv
.li
.lt
.lu
.mk
.com.mt, .mt
.md
.mc
.me
.nl
.no
.com.pl, .pl
.pt
.ro
.com.ru, .ru
.sm
.co.rs, .rs
.sk
.si
.com.es, .es
.se
.ch
.com.ua, .ua
.co.uk, .uk
Language
Swedish
Albanian
English
German
Belarusian, Russian
Dutch, German, French
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
Bulgarian
Croatian
Greek, Turkish
Czech
Danish
Estonian
Faroese, Danish
Finnish, Swedish
French
German
English
Greek
English
Hungarian
Icelandic
Irish, English
Manx, English
Italian
French, English
Latvian
German
Lithuanian
Luxembourgish, German, French
Macedonian, Albanian
Maltese, English
Romanian
French
Montenegrin
Dutch
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Italian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
German, Romansh, French, Italian
Ukrainian
English
Capital
Mariehamn
Tirana
Georgetown
Vienna
Minsk
Brussels
Sarajevo
Sofia
Zagreb
Nicosia
Prague
Copenhagen
Tallinn
Tórshavn
Helsinki
Paris
Berlin
Gibraltar
Athens
Saint Peter Port
Budapest
Reykjavík
Dublin
Douglas
Rome
Saint Hellier
Riga
Vaduz
Vilnius
Luxembourg
Skopje
Valletta
Chișinău
Monaco
Podgorica
Amsterdam
Oslo
Warsaw
Lisbon
Bucharest
Moscow
San Marino
Belgrade
Bratislava
Ljubljana
Madrid
Stockholm
Bern
Kyiv
London
Pop.
29,900
2,877,797
7,915
9,006,398
9,449,323
11,589,623
3,280,819
6,948,445
4,105,267
1,207,359
10,708,981
5,792,202
1,326,535
52,934
5,540,720
65,273,511
83,783,942
33,691
10,423,054
63,000
9,660,351
341,243
4,937,786
85,033
60,461,826
173,863
1,886,198
38,128
2,722,289
625,978
2,083,374
441,543
4,033,963
39,242
628,066
17,134,872
5,421,241
37,846,611
10,196,709
19,237,691
145,934,462
33,931
8,737,371
5,459,642
2,078,938
46,754,778
10,099,265
8,654,622
43,733,762
67,886,011

Middle East Domains

Country

Arab Emirates

Bahrain
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Yemen
Turkey
Domain
.ae
.bh
.iq
.co.il
.jo
.com.kw
.com.lb
.com.com, .om
.qa
.com.sa, .sa
.com.ye
.com.tr
Language
Arabic
Arabic
Kurdish, Arabic
Hebrew
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
Turkish
Capital
Abu Dhabi
Manama
Baghdad
Jerusalem
Amman
Kuwait City
Beirut
Muscat
Doha
Riyadh
Sana'a
Ankara
Pop.
9,890,402
1,701,575
40,222,493
8,655,535
10,203,134
4,270,571
6,825,445
5,106,626
2,881,053
34,813,871
29,825,964
84,339,067

Oceania Domains

Country

American Samoa

Australia
Cocos Islands
Cook Islands
Fiji
French Polynesia
Heard and McDonald Islands
Kiribati
Mariana
Micronesia
Nauru
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Norfolk
Palau
Pitcairn
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tokelau
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Wallis and Futuna
Domain Extension
.as
.com.au
.cc
.co.ck
.com.fj
.com.pf, pf
.hm
.com.ki
.mp
.fm
.nr
.nc
.co.nz, .nz
.nf
.pw
.pn
.ws
.sb
.tk
.to
.tv
.vu
.wf
Language
Samoan, English
English
English
Rarotongan, English
Fijian, English, Fiji Hindi
French
English
Kiribati, English
Chamorro, Carolinian, English
English
Nauruan, English
French
Maori, English
English, Norfuk
Palauan, English
English
Samoan, English
English
Tokelauan, English
Tongan, English
Tuvaluan, English
French, English, Bislama
French
Capital
Pago Pago
Canberra
West Island
Avarua District
Suva
Pape'ete
N/A
Tarawa
Saipan
Palikir
Nauru
Nouméa
Wellington
Kingston
Ngerulmud
Adamstown
Apia
Honiara
Nukunonu
Nuku'alofa
Funafuti
Port Vila
Matā'utu
Pop.
55,191
25,499,884
544
17,564
896,445
280,908
0
119,449
57,559
548,914
10,824
285,498
4,822,233
1,748
18,094
50
198,414
686,884
1,357
105,695
11,792
307,145
11,239

South America Domains

Country

Argentina

Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
Falkland Islands
French Guiana
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
S.Georgia and S.Sandwich Islands
Suriname
Uruguay
Venezuela
Domain Extension
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Language
Spanish
Spanish
Portuguese
Spanish
Spanish
Spanish
English
French
English
Paraguayan Guarani, Spanish
Spanish, Aymara
English
Dutch
Spanish
Spanish
Capital
Buenos Aires
La Paz, Sucre
Brasilia
Santiago
Bogotá
Quito
Stanley
Cayenne
Georgetown
Asunción
Lima
King Edward Point
Paramaribo
Montevideo
Caracas
Pop.
45,195,774
11,673,021
212,559,417
19,116,201
50,882,891
17,643,054
3,480
298,682
786,552
7,132,538
32,971,854
0
586,632
3,473,730
28,435,940
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