Should I Use a Temporary Domain Name Till My Preferred Domain Becomes Available?

Should you wait for that ideal domain name to be available?

Should I Use a Temporary Domain Name Till My Preferred Domain Becomes Available?

by Christopher Heng,

In recent months, I received 2 related queries from a couple of visitors to Both involved domain names that they wanted, but for different reasons were unable to acquire them. One checked the domain in a browser and saw that there was no website attached to it, but when he went to buy it later, he found that it was already taken. Another found a domain that the current owner was not using, and saw that it was due to expire in a few months.

Both visitors, being eager to get started on their website, wanted to know whether they should buy a temporary domain name and use it until the one they wanted became available.

Preliminary Comments

  1. As explained in my article on the precautions that you should take when buying a domain name, it is not safe to check for a domain name using a browser. Please see that article for a better strategy if you are thinking of buying a domain name.

  2. Just because an undeveloped domain name is going to expire in a few months, it does not mean that it actually will. The current owner can renew it at the last minute, and often does. Many webmasters buy numerous domain names on the off-chance that they can develop it later when they have time. (Otherwise when they really need the domain name, it might already be sold to others.) Because these are currently undeveloped domain names, they are not monitored closely by the owners. They thus may not realise that the domains are expiring until the registrar warns them, typically near the date of expiry.

    In other words, there is no guarantee that the domain name you're waiting for will ever expire.

What Happens When You Develop Using a Temporary Domain Name

Personally, I think that buying a "temporary" name and developing it is a bad idea.

When you first create a website on a domain, the search engines will start indexing it. If your site has useful content, other websites will also link to it. The domain becomes more popular, and will begin to gain reputation in the minds of people who have come across it, as well as in the search engines.

If, after some time, you finally get the Glorious Domain You've Been Waiting For, and "move" your site to that domain, what do you think will happen? Your site will have to start from scratch again, re-establishing your "brand" and gaining new links. If you're smart, and you keep the old name around and correctly redirect the old name to the new, you may not lose very much in the way of search engine reputation. However, your brand name (in the minds of human beings) will have to be rebuilt again. And you may also lose some visitors and create confusion among others.

What's In a (Domain) Name? It's the Brand That Counts

Although it's true that there are certain things to look out for when choosing a domain name, some webmasters-to-be tend to get too fixated on a particular domain name that they have thought of, believing that that name, and that alone, best reflects what they have to offer on their site.

However, take a look at a real-life famous website: Ask yourself: what on earth has the word "Amazon" got to do with selling books and DVDs? And yet, today, when someone thinks about buying such things online, it is one of the sites that comes to mind. And when a person says he/she has got something from Amazon, most people automatically assume that it's the website that is referred to, and not the South American river.

My point here is that the association of a name with what you want to do with your site is established by you. You make the connection by developing the content of your site and promoting its domain name. There is really no "ideal" name for a site. Far more important than getting the perfect name is building your brand.

In other words, why even get a temporary domain name? If the name that you wanted cannot be bought, think of another name and buy that instead. Establish the brand name associated with your new domain so that when people think about that name, they think about your site's content. And if you do it really well, your domain name and your content will become synonymous in the minds of everyone.

Copyright © 2008-2019 by Christopher Heng. All rights reserved.
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