WHOIS: An Essential Know-how For the Beginners

WHOIS. Really the name sounds strange. Yes, this is a name; the name of a system, a service. Which service? Who provides?

Simple answer is: An internet service or specifically, Domain Look-up service. Whois system is used worldwide to look up and check-out Registered Domain. We’re going to settle the second question next step.

However, at first glance, Whois may seem to be a question to the new. Yes, in grammatical term, it is a Noun but it refers to a question and that is ‘Who is responsible for this Domain?‘. Whois is closely related with Domain. So, if you don’t possess clear understanding of what Domain is, follow the link below-

What is Whois? How did Whois come into scenario?

As we stated above, Whois is a online-based Domain Look-up tool. Who’ll look up?

The answer is: Anybody; no restriction. Anybody who owns a domain or wants to purchase a domain or are engaged in Domain business or web-based activities or any people interested can look-up any Domain by inputting a Domain name in any Whois Search Engine and can check out or collect Domain-related info.

What is Whois?

What information can you find about a domain by Whois checkup?

Simply the followings-

  • Who or which organization owns the Domain
  • Address
  • Contact Information like email, phone number etc.
  • Administrative and technical information
  • Date of Registration
  • Date of expiry
  • DNS information like nameserver, Cname etc.
  • Similar Domains availability

Not that you must find all the information open and available. All the information or some parts of it might be hidden by registrants for security reason. But one thing, you can know for sure is whether the domain is available for purchase or not.

How Whois was introduced

There are different companies around the world who register Domain. They are called Domain Registrar. But the sole authority of controlling and managing Domain Names and DNS (Domain Name System/Domain Name Server) is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Actually Domain Registrars are approved and accredited by ICCAN for registering new Domains. Such globally renowned registrars include GoDaddy, Tucows, Namecheap, MarkMonitor etc. For details of Domain Registrars, click-

It may be so that you purchased a domain from a company in your own city. They are Domain Reseller. They do domain business on contract basis for Domain Registrars by complying with rules and regulations of Registrars as well as ICANN.

Whenever an individual or organization registers a new domain name from a Registrar, he/she has to provide necessary information as we mentioned earlier. This information are stored in Whois database of that Registrar. But Different Registrars record Domains info in their own database separately.

In the whole process of domain confirmation, ICANN finds it required to make the registration information publicly available. This was a historic necessity and was essential for the validation and integrity of the sensitive Domain information that also concerns Regstrants’ interest. But making the Domain info look-up system global was a challenge as there was no central database of Domain info that was recorded by different Registrars differently. In this situation Whois came into the scenario with a perfect solution.

Whois not a central databse. It is a response protocol or Internet system or application working like a Search Engine to find Domain info located in different databases. ICANN itself provides a Whois tool. This is who.is. Moreover, Each registrar has their own Whois lookup system. There are also third-party Whois checkup sites. Here are the links of some tools. You can try with any of these.

Why you need to use Whois

As a general user, you might face the following situations that could require you to check up a domain in Whois

  • You are using a Domain. You can enter a Whois tool once in a while to check up your ownership and validity of your info.
  • For various reasons, you might need DNS info.
  • You want to purchase a domain, you can check up availability of that domain.
  • You want to purchase a domain but that domain is in use or not available. You can make an offer to purchase it from the owner.
  • You might want to find out in which location a definite website admin or domain owner lives.
  • You might want to learn how long ago a domain was registered or since how long your competitor’s website is active.
  • You are looking for a domain weightloss.com. But this domain was occupied by other long ago. Without losing heart, you want to purchase similar domain like weightloss.net or weightloss.org or loseyourweight.com etc. In this case, Whois tool can help you showing you the all-available domains list.
  • You have an idle domain. This have domain but this is not in use. You can take help of whois to sell it.
Why is Whois data kept hidden

Whether Whois data is kept hidden or public largely depends on a Domain’s TLD (Top level domain) such as .com, .net, .org, .us, .uk, .gov, .edu etc.

Data for Domains from many registries like .com, .net, .org are kept fully exposed unless domain owner intentionally attempt to hide them. Domains with ccTLD (County code top level domain) such as .in, .uk, .us, .bd provide limited info (Registrar name, name and email of the registrant, domain status, and name servers).

However, whatever the TLD is, if a domain owner wishes, he/she can keep Whois data secret. Many Domain Registrars provide free data hiding facility while others charge it. On the other hand, there are organizations who provide domain privacy service.

Now, question: Why have you to hide your data? Probable reasons are- Whois data contains sensitive information that should not be left vulnerable. By hiding data you can-

  • control over data spamming.
  • reduce identity theft
  • hide your physical location from competitors
  • control contact info and avoid hassle
Accuracy of information and your domain ownership

Suppose you purchased a new domain. How you can claim that you are the owner of that domain. Domain is not a physical product. What did you get at hand after paying some dollar for a domain? Just right to access domain C-panel by a password. Does this ensure your ownership?

Probably not. A C-panel account is not a stronger proof of your domain ownership. Such account may be hacked and your information might be missing. Suppose you purchased a domain from an amateur vendor and at one stage he/she died his business collapsed; your Domain account fell endangered. Now what about your Domain?

However what we actually want to add your Whois data is the strongest evidence in favor of your domain-claim. During registration, you provided your address and three types of contact information including email and phone number which are publicly available forever, at least, as long as Internet exists. ICANN is committed to providing unhindered public access to all the updated, complete and accurate Whois data. All the Registrars and Registries are obliged to be making the data available publicly.

Over time, your provided information gets changed. Hence registrars also ask for information-update time to time through your email. If you provide inaccurate, false and fraud information, you might be penalized by ICANN with cancellation or suspension of your Domain.

Hope, on reading, you learnt and captured the most wanted know-how regarding Whois which is adequate for any blogger or site-owner-advanced or beginner. If you want to research on the same subject, I recommend you to plunge into the unlimited sea of knowledge on internet.

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