Cloudflare Incorrect WHOIS - wrong Creation Date reduces search rankings and domain value

As far as I can see, the problem described below affects all domains transferred to Cloudflare, and significantly reduces their value on a number of levels.

The WHOIS records for a domain should contain only one field labeled “Creation Date”. This usually appears in close proximity to the “Updated Date” and

Contained within the “Creation Date” record should be the date on which that domain was created. Any transfers within a domain registrations life should not affect the “Creation Date”.

Cloudflare is currently issuing WHOIS records that contain 2 “Creation Date” fields, each containing different dates.

For example, the domain was created on 2011-12-23 and transferred to Cloudflare on 2018-12-02.

When I run a WHOIS query from the command line, I get 2 creation dates. The first one is correct:

… but the 2nd one is wildly incorrect:

Unfortunately, it is the incorrect date which is picked up by the online WHOIS services:


This is bad because part of what Google uses to calculate your Page Rank is whether or not your domain is a recent registration or a long-established domain. They know that recent registrations are more likely to be “fly-by-night” sites containing spammy or malevolent content. The creation date of your domain matters for your search engine rankings.

It also impacts the financial value of your domain. If someone offers to buy your website or your business as a whole, your domains are considered to be assets that inform the offer. Domain valuation is notoriously tricky, but one of the key factors in deciding a price is how long you have had it. There is a huge difference between a domain which is 15 years old and one which is 2 days old. The creation date of your domain matters financially.

Again, this appears to affect all domains transferred to Cloudflare. As far as I can tell, they are the only domain registrar to have ever made this particular mistake.

This problem is separate (and more serious) than the other WHOIS problem reported in this forum, whereby the extra year added to transfers by Cloudflare is not showing up the WHOIS record expiry dates. That problem apparently resolves itself over time, this one appears to persist.

Two things

  1. Yes, it does seem as if Cloudflare returned two different dates for your domain. That should get fixed.
  2. The ranking argument is the usual myth / urban legend. If you dont believe me, and I am sure you wont ;), check out

Sandro, thanks for taking the time to respond.

Yes, I hope it does get fixed, even if only to comply with ICANN rules.

I understand what you are saying about urban myths around ranking, but it is not quite so cut-and-dried. I know John and he would be the first to say that they use a massive variety of signals, and that the weight given to each signal varies from time-to-time, depending on the online environment at that time.

The only people in a position to really know are the actual algo engineers - John is actually in a different part of Google - and those guys never divulge the ranking signals. John was giving general advice, suggesting that domain age is not something regular folks have to worry about, or spend thousands of dollars extra on a domain purely on the basis that it has been “aged”.

All the same, domain age is a signal, one that does have some bearing on the likely intentions of the domain owner, and Google’s likes to take everything into account.

It may not have been such an important factor when John made that comment two years ago, but things change. Since then, Google can now no longer see who owns a domain, as most contact details are now being redacted. This means that a sudden change in the domain age is often the only signal they have that a domain’s ownership has changed, and that is absolutely an important signal.

On my second point, that being 2 days old as opposed to 17 years old hurts a domain’s resale value, I can tell you that domain age is always a consideration during negotiations.

In any case, we can agree to disagree, but it is something that should be fixed regardless of whether or not Cloudflare believes it is damaging to their clients’ domains.

Just checked one of my domains which I transferred and it seems that the date has been updated correctly. :sweat_smile:
If the date would be reset, the consequences would be even bigger than just SEO issues or resale value. Often it’s the only way to prove that a domain was established prior to the registration of a trademark for the same term. In case your domain is now younger, someone could easily claim it and charge you for trademark infringement.


Oh yes, I forgot all about that danger!

It happens a lot, some people even trawl the WHOIS records and cross-match them with existing trademark registrations to find potential clients whose trademark is older than the equivalent .com and offer them a domain-hijack service.

My 11 domains on Cloudflare, all of which initially had wrong dates, have now been corrected but, in checking that, I can across another bug which I have submitted here: WHOIS Result Wrong if Domain is Capitalized

There is also another danger to this:

Some web proxies have reputation data that includes domain age as a potential blocker. A significant number of organizations block domains registered with X days (this is a malware c2 prevention technique). Some of this reputation is gained by looking at the zone files for the various TLDs, for other TLDs it’s gathered via WHOIS - so it could potentially cause domains to get blocked by appearing as recently registered.

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