domain name

WHOIS Lookup

WHOIS is a query and response protocol that is used to access information from a database that stores details like domain name, IP address or an autonomous system. It is pronounced as “Who is” which delivers the information from the database into a human readable format.

What does WHOIS lookup do and its implementation?

The process of accessing WHOIS information such as domain, IP address etc from the database is known as WHOIS lookup. Previously WHOIS implementation was performed with a command line interface but now many web-based tools exist that supports it.

The WHOIS client and server software is open-source software and has binary distributions with Unix-like systems. A WHOIS client takes the input and gives out information to its destination server.

Thick and Thin lookups:

There are two server models that help in storing and retrieving WHOIS information:

  • Thick: This model stores the complete WHOIS information from every registrar for a specific set of data. Thick model ensures consistent data and fast queries because only WHOIS server is contacted.
  • Thin: This server only stores the name of the WHOIS server which in turn has all details of the data searched for. But if the registrar goes out of business the thin model looses all the information and it gets difficult for the rightful registrant to keep control of the domain.

Expected Results from WHOIS lookup:

The raw data in the WHOIS database is not stored in a human readable format so WHOIS lookup retrieves that information and arranges them in order for understanding of the information. The WHOIS details are classified as:

  1. The domain Information: It consists of all the general details about the domain such as the domain itself, the details about the registrar, registration date of the domain name, expiration date of the domain name; update dated which shows the WHOIS details last updated the registrar status of the domain and the name servers used by the domain.
  2. Registrant Contact: The registrant is a person/organization that registers a domain. As the suggested heading this section consists details about the registrant. Details such as his name, organization, address, and all his personal details are shown.
  3. Administrative Contact: The details of this classification are same as that of a registrant.
  4. Technical Contact: This part consists of details about an individual and organization that is authorized by the registrant to manage all technicalities for the domain.


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