Case Study: What Are the Most Expensive Domain Names?

There were only a few domain extensions and registered websites at the start. After a few decades and millions of registered domain names, we now have domain names that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s a pattern among the most expensive domain names; check out what makes a domain valuable.

Getting a catchy domain name that features an important keyword used to be easy back in the day. That’s no longer the case. According to, we ended Q3 2023 with 359.8 million registered domain names. This number makes it difficult to find a memorable, short, and brandable domain name with the right extension that’s still available.

That’s where premium domains come in. Many of the registered domain names are put up for auction so that someone can purchase them and create an online business out of them. Let’s go over the most expensive ones.

The Most Expensive Domain Name

The most expensive domain name ever sold is, which went for a whopping $872 million in 2014. Gannett Co. bought a partial share in the business (that revolved entirely around the domain), and the whole company was valued at $1.8 billion. 

Although this is not the first 9-digit sale of a domain name, it was the largest one at the time, and it still holds the record for the most valuable domain name ever sold.

Most Expensive Domains Are Not the Most Valuable

Before we jump into the list of the most expensive domain names, note that not all domain sales have made their information publicly available.

For example, we can assume that and went for a seven- or eight-digit figure, but we don’t know the exact number, and therefore we won’t include them in our list. Many experts claim that over 75% of domain name sales go unreported.

The most expensive domain names are not actually the most valuable ones. This is a list of domain names that were put up for sale and have been bought.

For instance, is immensely more valuable than any of the domains in the list, but it’s never been on sale. Since you’d probably need to buy the whole company to own the domain name, it’s hard to value it on its own.

Watch our video guide to learn how to value a domain name:

Top 20 Most Expensive Domain Name: Case Study

As not every sale’s information is public knowledge, it’s difficult to estimate how many domain names sold for $1 million or more. Still, we can confidently say that it’s at least in the hundreds.

Check out the list below to find out the top 20 most expensive domain names:

#Domain NamePrice$872 million$345 million$90 million$49.7 million$35.6 million$35 million$30.18 million$30 million$18 million$17 million$16 million$15 million$14.9 million (2006)$14 million (2010)$13 million$11 million$11 million$11 million$10 million$9.5 million
*As of April 2024


Some of these sales were company acquisitions and not purely a purchase of domain names. It’s hard to tell what percentage of the valuation domain names made up for, but since you couldn’t buy the domain name on its own, we decided to include them in the list nonetheless.

What Does the List Tell Us?

There are a variety of factors that affect a domain name’s price, such as:

  • Domain length,
  • Domain age,
  • Previous use,
  • Domain type,
  • Brandability,
  • SEO ranking,
  • Universality,
  • Security.

As you can see from the list above, the top-level domain (TLD) is crucial. The top 20 most expensive domains all had a .com extension. Using a popular TLD (such as .com, .net, .org, or .us) can increase the value of a domain.

Furthermore, the majority of these domain names are common keywords people search for all the time. This is what makes them valuable. When someone wants to find a place to stay, they’re more likely to click on than

Most Expensive Domain Names for Sale in 2024

It’s important to note that domain sales usually don’t reach these numbers. In 2023, only three domains reached seven figures, while the average sale value stood at $197.

However, you can still find a highly valuable domain for sale. We checked the major domain name auctions, and these are the most valuable domain names for sale in April 2024:

  1. $16,000,000,
  2. $16,000,000,
  3. $16,000,000,
  4. $10,000,000,
  5. $6,500,000,
  6. $6,468,000,
  7. $6,500,000,
  8. $500,000,
  9. $500,000,
  10. $499,999.

Domain Sales by Top-Level Domain

As we’ve established, a domain’s TLD greatly impacts its price. While .com is the most popular extension, they’re cheap to register, and average sales prices are not that eye-watering. Currently, .ai domains are leading the pack, with a median sale price being $10,000.

Check out the median prices of domain sales by TLDs, according to

How to Get Started With Domain Investing

Registering domain names with a view to selling them for a higher price is a practice called domain flipping. It can be a legitimate form of income that you can start a business around. However, note that the domain name market is extremely saturated. If you’re looking for a [keyword].com formula, you’ll quickly find out they’re all taken.

Domain investing, at its core, is quite simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Choose a domain name that’s catchy and available,
  2. Evaluate the price (whether buying a premium domain or registering it leaves enough room for profit),
  3. Register or buy the name,
  4. Put it for an auction,
  5. Complete the purchase.

But that’s not all there is to it. You need to do market research constantly, find new trends in internet searches, and spot available domain names with resale potential. You can also combine keywords.

MORE: Domain name trends for 2024

For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is all the buzz. It’s likely someone will soon figure out an AI-powered financial tool and might want to buy or Note: these are just examples; both domain names are already taken.


Just like buying stocks or cryptocurrencies, domain investing is speculative in nature. There are no assurances that you will profit from registering a domain name. Only invest if you’re willing to take a risk.

What to Avoid

In 2016, Elon Musk acquired for $11 million. At first glance, this appears to be a great money grab by the original owner.

However, avoid going down the same road. If you register a domain name that’s the same or similar to an existing trademark, you’re committing cybersquatting. The company that owns the trademark can sue you, and you’ll need to pay infringement fees, as well as hand over the domain name for free.

The reason wasn’t cybersquatting is that the domain name was first registered in 1992, way before Musk started producing the same-named cars. If you had before Facebook rebranded, that wouldn’t be cybersquatting. But, it’s illegal to register, say, now in an effort to take money from OpenAI.

Takeaway Points

A valuable domain name needs to be easy to spell, catchy, and use a recognizable TLD. If you want to make money selling domain names, you need to find an available domain name that contains a keyword and uses a trustworthy TLD, such as .com.

Domains like and have not been available for decades now, and the domain name market is getting more saturated by the minute. Still, if you’re creative enough and do your research, you can hit it big.

If you’re struggling to come up with catchy and unique domain name ideas, use our AI-powered domain name generator to get 1,000+ ideas for free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When it comes to selling premium domain names, GoDaddy Auction is the most popular domain marketplace out there. The top ten most used domain marketplaces are as follows:
  1. GoDaddy Auction,
  2. Sedo Domain Marketplace,
  3. Flippa Domain Marketplace,
  4. Afternic,
  5. NameCheap Marketplace,
  6. eBay Marketplace,
  7. NamePros Forum,
  8. SnapNames,
  9. Efty,

A valuable domain name is one that you can sell for a significant price. Although you don’t technically own a domain name (you subscribe to usage rights), you can sell your registration to someone else. Usually, valuable domain names are short, memorable, easy to spell, and come with a familiar domain extension, such as .com, .net, .us, or .co.

The most expensive domain name ever sold is, which was sold in 2014 for an incredible $872 million. The entire domain was actually valued at $1.8 billion, but Gannett Co. bought a partial stake.

Yes, you can make money by registering domain names and selling them for a higher profit; it’s a practice called domain flipping. If you want to do that, you need to make sure you do market research and select domain names with great resale value to actually make money.