domain questions

How to Determine if an IP Address or Domain Name is Blacklisted.

Week after week, day after day, I research a couple of hundred, if not thousands, domain names entering into expiring auction across 4-5 aftermarket platforms — GoDaddy, NameJet, SnapNames, and DynaDot. Many factors are used to determine the perceived value of a given domain I desire to bid on in an expiring auction.

Today, I’d like to share with you a tool good for determining a factor of online health for a given domain.  In addition, it’s a great tool to determine whether or not your website’s domain or domain used for email is blacklisted.

Before the CAN-Spam Act existed in the United States, folks ran amok with email spamming and everything to the ends of the earth. Truth be told, it’s not gotten better since the CAN-Spam Act, although there are stiff penalties for such negligent and annoying behavior.

Nevertheless, I often discover valuable domains in auctions that make me think to myself, “Now, why in the world is this gem of a domain expiring?”

Of course, there’s always more to the story, as I use a number of methods to consider the overall health of a given domain.

Quite often, that “too good to be true” domain in expiring auction and sometimes domains available for hand registration has had a somewhat checkered past.

This checkered past likely and often consists of being blacklisted due to email spamming and phishing or being used as a malware website or doorway page to a malicious website.

So, how can you tell if your domain or a domain you desire to purchase is blacklisted?

Fortunately, there’s an easy-to-use online tool provided by The Spamhaus Project — a world leader in supplying real-time, highly accurate threat intelligence to the Internet’s major networks.

Said another way, they provide mission-critical monitoring, reporting, and services to identify unsolicited cyber attacks and intrusion attempts.

Blacklist Removal Center

The Spamhaus Project

And although there are many tools to choose from, my tool of preference is located in the Blocklist Removal section — see the orange box in the image above. The Blocklist Removal Center consists of an IP Address Lookup Tool and Domain Lookup Tool.

The Blocklist Removal Center - Spamhaus

IP Address Lookup Tool

The IP Address Lookup Tool is exactly as it is named. This tool essentially assists you in checking whether or not an IP address is currently listed in the live Spamhaus IP blocklists: SBL, XBL, and PBL.

Because websites are associated with domains and domains to IP addresses, it’s always best to figure out what IP address(es) have been associated with a given domain’s lifecycle.

In short, internet lurkers with malicious intent essentially IP hop when their given IP assigned to their domain has been blocked — quite easy to do, which I discovered Googling.

Domain Lookup Tool

The Domain Lookup Tool is exactly as it is named. This tool essentially assists you in checking whether or not a domain is currently listed in the live Spamhaus Domain Blocklist (DBL).

And much like IP addresses, it’s ALWAYS recommended to check the overall health of a domain, regardless of whether or not the lease or purchase is a private party, registrar, or aftermarket investment. You owe it to yourself to perform thorough due diligence!

Nevertheless, when using both lookup tools, each will display one of two messages:

  • Summary in the green text — meaning that all is well and the IP/Domain is not blocked or found on Spamhaus IP/Domain blocklists.
  • Summary in the red text — meaning that all is NOT well and the IP/Domain IS blocked or found on Spamhaus IP/Domain blocklists, including corrective action steps.

In closing, I hope this tool helps to shed light on an important factor when you consider bidding on, leasing, or purchasing domain names.

And last but not least, I invite you to watch a quick tutorial outlining how to use and decipher Spamhaus’ Blocklist Removal Center tools. Let me know if you have questions or comments below.

Thanks, and that’s all for now!

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.