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I'm thinking about buying a domain name from a seller.

The Verisign Whois information shows that it was registered in 2011.

Are there any instances in which a domain could drop/expire and yet the registration listed with Verisign isn't updated to the new registration date? In other words, can I be sure that this domain hasn't dropped since 2011?

And are there any ways in which I can verify that the site hasn't been misused (spam/bad content), and that the site hasn't ever been 301 redirected to another domain thus passing its link juice and trust authority (other than just using archive.org)?

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For domain name history, you can use this tool: https://who.is/domain-history/cnn.com. domaintools.com is better, but paid. PErhaps you can do a trial.

Other than that, you can look up the site on archive.org (wayback machine) and scroll through years and months to see their content quality, extended breaks in archives, and if it was redirected.

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"Are there any instances in which a domain could drop/expire and yet the registration listed with Verisign isn't updated to the new registration date?"

There is zero probability of that happening.

I tend to think the answer to your other question is no, but I will admit that there are a lot of site tools that I don't know about, so it's possible there is a tool somewhere that keeps archives of that type of information. That said, I don't know that will be easy to find, and it likely isn't even worth looking for. "People" know that domains can live multiple lives, sometimes malicious things can happen with a domain through no fault of the owner (or through 100% fault of the owner). And after that, things can change, domains can change hands... it's part of the business, so even if there is bad history way back, it isn't going to be held against you, unless you use the domain maliciously as well

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If the domain is really deleted at the registry (not just expired, it must be completely deleted that is coming at a state when you do whois on it - on the registry whois server, so VeriSign only if it is a .COM or .NET - you would get a message such as "domain does not exist"), and then subsequently released, besides a bug or some very specific cases, the creation date will change.

This is because it is important as it shows a date at which a new contract has been signed between the end user (registrant) and the registry, through the registrar.

So you could be sure for the domain name existence part.

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