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What is WHOIS?

What is WHOIS?

WHOIS (pronounced “who is”) is an Internet database that contains information on domain names including the name servers associated with the domain name, the domain registrar and the Administrative, Billing and Technical contacts with postal and email addresses.

Each domain registrar maintains a WHOIS database with all contact information for the domain names hosted on their servers. The InterNIC WHOIS database, on the other hand, is vast and has information on all .com, .net and .org domain names.

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The WHOIS is also a tool or an application which searches the domain name information contained in WHOIS databases. It is generally used to check either the availability of a domain name or the ownership of a domain name. The tool requires you to enter a domain name such as webdevelopersnotes.com (without the www prefix). If the domain is available you will be informed of the same, else, you would be displayed one or more details:

  • The registrant information. Details of the person who registered the domain name including their postal and email addresses and phone number.
  • The contacts: Each domain name is associated with three contacts – Administrative, Billing and Technical. In most cases, all the three would belong to the same person (the registrant). Note: The technical contact might be of the company hosting the domain name.
  • The creation and expiration date of the domain name
  • The name servers associated with the domain name

If you have booked your domain through a friend, colleague, relative or a web developer, check the WHOIS to determine if the domain indeed belongs to you. Trust me; I have had enough experience with clients.

In fact, a couple of them lost the domain name because they had had it registered through “nephew John” who got involved with college and had no recollection of registering the domain name. Since the all important username and password used for managing the domain name where lost (or forgotten), the domain name expired.

Don’t let this happen to you. Check the WHOIS database to confirm the ownership of the domain name. If you don’t find your name and your email in the Administrative contact, ask the person who had booked the name to transfer it to you. This is a simple process but might take a few days to complete; it requires active participation from both you and the person who registered the domain name.

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