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What is a Parked Domain?

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What is a Parked Domain?

Key Points

  • A parked domain is a registered domain not connected to a hosting service, often used for future use or website forwarding.
  • Reasons to use a parked domain include protecting a valuable name, controlling domain forwarding, potentially making money by selling the domain, and keeping the domain until expiration.
  • Parked domains can pose security risks, such as potential redirection to malicious websites.
  • Parked domains can be easily set up using a domain registrar like Squarespace, without the need for servers or hosting providers.
  • Parked domains are different from subdomains and addon domains, which serve different purposes within web hosting.
  • Using a parked domain can be a smart choice to protect your business and save money.

Almost everyone has heard the word “domain,” but that doesn’t mean that most people fully understand what it means!

If we hear the word in a sentence, the term can sometimes be easier to define or understand. For example, if we asked you, “What is the domain name for Wikipedia?” you’d understand that we’re asking for the identifying part of the web address of the site. So, you may tell us the domain name is “Wiki.org” or “Wikipedia.org.” Similarly, Google’s domain name is “google.com.”

A domain name is the identifying service of a website. They’re used to identify resources online. The name is typically easy to remember and generally describes what the site is about.

So, while we understand what a domain is, the term “parked domain” may be challenging to define. What exactly is a parked domain?

This article will explore the term’s meaning, why they’re helpful, and why you would want to use one for business or personal use. Let’s get started!

Parked Domains Explained

A parked domain is a registered domain not connected to a hosting service. The domain is “parked” for later use or to aid in website forwarding.

Most domains point to a specific website. As we’ve explored, an example of this is google.com. The domain, google.com, will take you to the Google homepage. Similarly, maps.google.com will take you to Google Maps. These are Google domains and are connected to a website hosting service.

Parked domains aren’t yet hosted and ready for web traffic. Sometimes, they reflect an error message. However, they will almost never redirect you to another page. Also, you may run across one that appears with ads, a message indicating the domain is for sale, or it can look completely blank. 

Reasons to Use a Parked Domain

Protects a Valuable Name

Sometimes, people keep a parked domain to protect a name that they want to use in the future.

For example, if you think you may need a useful domain name for a product you intend to sell, snagging that domain name before anyone else can is good practice. You’ll avoid needing to pay someone else for their forethought, too. Many businesses will reserve a domain name before they launch their product. 

Domain Forwarding

One way to use a parked domain is to control domain forwarding. Domain forwarding allows users to access the same website as the primary domain.

For example, some companies will use domain forwarding while moving their site to a new domain or while doing some significant testing of their current location. The original site stays live by forwarding traffic to a temporary one. A placeholder like this helps keep traffic flowing while also reaffirming visitor trust. A downed site may make someone go elsewhere with their business. 

In addition, domain forwarding can help with SEO, or search engine optimization. For example, having a lot of the same content on your website can negatively affect SEO rankings. But forwarding your domain URL keeps your SEO rankings high. 

It Can Make Money

If you have a domain name that is worth something, people will pay for it. For example, recently, cars.com was priced at $872 million.

If you’re curious about what websites sell for, there are several sites that list the value of parked domains. For example, you can find values by visiting GoDaddy or Sedo. While sitting on parked domains isn’t a good way to get rich quickly, some people will sell domain names for a good amount of money.

Another example of this is RH Donnelly buying business.com in 2007 for a whopping $345 million. However, getting more than a few hundred dollars is not likely for most domains.

Keeps Domains Until Expiration

If you don’t want a website to remain active, you can choose to park it. Parking your domain is helpful if your hosting contract expired before the domain name did. In this case, you’ll want to unlink the domain in question from your website IP address and park it until time runs out. This practice will prevent others from taking the domain name until your ownership expires. 

On the other hand, if you want to buy a parked domain, you can wait for it to expire, hoping the current owner doesn’t renew their registration. You can find a list of deleted domains to get an idea of how often they get deleted. 

Are Parked Domains Safe?

There can be security risks around parked domains. The main fear some people have is the potential for redirection to a website that is malicious.

For example, common misspellings can be used for cyber attacks. Also, typos like forgetting the dot after “www” and transposing letters are easy ways to find yourself in uncharted territory on the web.

Examples of websites that experience these misspellings often are flickr.com, fiverr.com, and vimeo.com. If a cybercriminal registers fiver.com, they can create a malicious site meant to attack those who access it mistakenly.

Bangkok, Thailand - October 14, 2015 Man Using Laptop Browsing Google Website
A parked domain is a registered domain that is not connected to a hosting service, so it is not actively in use.

How to Park a Domain

Now that we know what a parked domain is and why you may want to use one, let’s go over how to park a domain. The most straightforward way is to use a domain registrar like Squarespace.

While many people used to use Google Domains, that’s no longer an option. That’s because, in 2023, Squarespace acquired all things Google Domains. However, it’s still easy enough to park a domain. And when you do, you don’t need to worry about setting up servers or connecting them to a hosting provider. 

Here’s the Easiest Method:

  1. Go to Squarespace Domains
  2. In the search bar, you can enter a domain name. 
  3. If the domain name is available, you can buy and register it directly from Squarespace. 

Parked Domains vs. Subdomain vs. Addon

Aside from parked domains, you may have also heard the term subdomain or addon. Let’s look at the differences between the two. 

As we know, a parked domain is a registered domain name that is not yet connected to a hosting site. 

A subdomain is a subsection of a domain. The subdomain adds text to the URL. These subdomains also are typically free to add. Some global companies use subdomains to reach audiences in multiple countries. 

An Addon domain is an added domain through a web hosting platform. For example, in WordPress’ cPanel, you can add a domain to your server. 

Should You Use Parked Domains?

Investing in a parked domain can jumpstart your business plan. While you’re developing your website, getting a jump on things by registering a domain name but parking it until you need to use it is helpful. 

Alternatively, if you no longer need one, you can wait for it to expire and park it so that no one else can grab it. 

Using parked domains can keep competitors from getting to it first. Using a parked domain has almost no negative downside and can help save you or your company money. So yes, using one is a smart choice if you need it. Who knows, you may hit the jackpot with the next cars.com!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are popular domain names?

Some of the most popular domain names include .com, .net,  and .org.

Why would a website be parked?

People park websites to protect valuable names, to make money, or to keep the name while undergoing testing or building of a site.

How long can a domain be parked?

There is no limit to how long you can keep a domain parked. As long as you keep registering the name, it’s yours to park as long as you like.

Do you have to pay for domain parking?

You may be able to park a domain for free using a webhosting service. You may also have to pay to register a domain name before you park it.

Can a parked domain receive email?

No. Parked domains cannot get email.

Can you buy a domain name forever?

At this time, not really. Domain names are typically up for renewal every year. However, you can sometimes pay for many years in advance.

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