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What is a parked domain name?

“This domain name is parked.”

You’ve probably tried going to a web address in your browser and gotten this message before, but what is a parked domain name and why would a domain name be parked?

Is it because someone’s trying to sell it? Are they just registering it to block others? Does it mean an actual website is coming soon?

What is a parked domain name?

Domain names can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be linked to a website, used for email addresses, used as a link shortener, redirected to a social media page, or something else.

Simply put, a parked domain name is a domain name that isn’t connected to any of these things, but remains unattached to any website, email mailbox, or other resource.

It’s usually the case that these domains actually point to a single-page website that displays a simple message, and that message is — you guessed it — “This domain is parked.” This is sometimes called a parking page.

Why would a domain name be parked?

There are a few different reasons why someone would park a domain name.

1. The website hasn’t been set up yet

Oftentimes, when someone registers a domain name, they have a specific idea or project in mind — a blog, or an e-commerce site, or just a static information website — and it’s common to start building that project by registering a domain name.

But in between registering a domain name and setting all that up, the owner of the domain name will often “park” it. In fact, at Gandi, a domain name by default points to a parking page.

Once the owner of the domain is ready to link their domain and their website up, they’ll point their domain name to their hosting. Doing that “unparks” the domain name.

2. The domain name owner doesn’t plan to use the domain name

It’s also possible, though, that the person who registered the domain name did so without any particular project in mind.

This could be the case if the domain name was registered as a defensive domain name registration, or in other words, to block someone else from registering it. This is common for brands who may want to avoid their brand name, or something closely resembling it, to be used by someone else to trick their customers or users.

It could also be due to someone buying a domain name they think may be or may become valuable in order to sell it later. This type of registration may be considered domain speculation or cybersquatting.

3. The domain owner wants to sell the domain name

It’s also possible that the owner of the domain name is actively looking to sell the parked domain name. In this case, it doesn’t makes sense for them to put up a website. This could be the result of domain speculation or cybersquatting.

Whatever you call it, selling a domain name for more than was paid for it through the lifetime of the domain name is one way to make money off of domain names.

4. They want to monetize traffic to their domain name

Sometimes people buy high traffic domain names in order to monetize traffic. In this case, you won’t see a regular parking page, but a monetized parking page.

This is another way to monetize the ownership of a domain name.

What if the domain you want is parked?

Since there are a wide variety of reasons a domain name might be parked, it’s hard to say whether you’ll be able to obtain a domain name that you see is parked. It could be someone specifically looking for a buyer, it could be someone who had an idea once and gave up on it who might be willing to sell, or it could be someone with absolutely no desire to sell their domain name who registered it to protect themselves or their customers or users.

The only way to find out is by trying to contact the owner. You can do that using the whois [link to: tutorial about whois]. If the owner is interested in selling, when you use the email address listed in the whois to contact them, they’ll either reply to you, or ignore you. Either way, you’ll have your answer.

Conclusion

A parked domain name is a domain name that’s just not being used. So when you navigate to a domain name and get a message that says it’s parked, that could mean a lot of things. There are also a few reasons why you might want to park a domain name you’ve bought, or that your domain name might be parked without you doing anything.