Thank you, everyone, for your feedback and comments. I’m glad you are finding this post so helpful!
This post used to refer to mashape.com, but that site was acquired by rapidapi.com and the previous instructions are no longer valid.
Special thanks to notes from Eric, co-founder of domainr.com, and a friendly stranger Nick who contributed code. This post and the accompanying google sheet are now up to date and working with rapidapi.com’s new setup. Enjoy!
- Open this google sheets template & copy it to your google drive
- Get a domainr.com API key via rapidapi.com
- You get 10,000 queries every month for free. If you exceed this threshold, you will be charged $0.002 per query (each time a spreadsheet cell loads the formula). Queries can add up quickly so keep an eye on it.
- Paste your API key into the google sheet and start using it (you may need to provide one-time permission for the script to work).
Checking domain names for business ideas is a chore, even with bulk domain name checkers. I want a solution that:
- Stores my ideas so I can see them again later
- Quickly checks variations of similar names
- Doesn’t try to sell me anything
- Is shareable
- Lets me collaborate with others
- Has an intuitive interface
- Is private
- Is free
Which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I made one.
Step 1: Get the template
- View the template
- Copy it into your own Google Drive to start editing
Step 2: Get a free* domainr.com API key
Domainr.com has an API that lets us script our lookups into a google sheet, but they make it available via mashape.com
- Sign up for a free account at rapidapi.com
- Subscribe to the domainr.com API via rapidapi.com’s marketplace. It’s a freemium model, so you will need to put in your credit card info in case you go over the lookup limit (10,000/month).
- *It’s free up to 10,000 lookups per month. If you share your google sheet publicly, you risk hitting that limit quickly and you’ll be charged.
- Note: It’s come to my attention that some people are contacting domainr.com because they are surprised by charges on their credit card. I think 10,000/month is plenty, but if you’re using your spreadsheet heavily, the queries can add up quickly. One query = the formula in a cell being triggered. Cells recalculate when you change any of the related data and might all recalculate every time you open your spreadsheet. So, if you’re a power user but want to keep it free, keep an eye on your rapidapi.com account for usage.
- Add the domainr API to a Rapidapi application (which could be the Default Application created for you)
- Get the application key by going to the Security tab of your application.
Step 3: Use it
Enter your API key
On the first page of the spreadsheet, paste your API key into the yellow box. (If you can’t edit the cell, it means you forgot to copy the sheet to your own drive.)
Because the script is connecting an external service and the content of your spreadsheet, when you first try to use the script you may need to authorize the script to access your Google Drive. This is normal and there’s nothing evil or tricky going on here. Allow the permission and carry on.
The custom script in the google sheet template I provided creates a new formula called domainLookup(). Now you can use it like any other formula in your spreadsheet. For example:
Our new formula will use the contents of cell D2 and check if it’s an available domain name. Make sure the content of D2 is a valid domain name including the extension and not including www or http. For example, uwannapizzathis.com.
You could also use the formula like this:
But don’t do that. It isn’t helpful to quickly check multiple domain name ideas at once. Instead, reference a cell as in the previous example.
To access the script within your google sheet, go to Tools > Script editor …
Whenever I get a business idea, event idea, or just something for fun, I use my spreadsheet to quickly see what’s available. Domains are about $12, so even if the domain name forwards to somewhere else (like myeventname.com forwarding to a facebook event page), it can be much easier to tell people the catchy domain name than hope they remember a long, annoying URL. Even shortened urls like those from tinyurl aren’t super intuitive to remember when said in person or printed on marketing materials.
When I find the domain name I want and it’s available, then I go to an actual domain registrar and purchase the domain. I thought about adding affiliate links so you could purchase the domains directly from the google doc, but that seemed schmaltzy and violated my purpose of having something that wasn’t trying to sell anything.
Any improvements? A better way to do this without having to put in a credit card? Let me know!