What is a "whois" search?

In this thread the OP mentions that a troll who linked to his own website was caught out by a “whois” search.

Can anyone tell me what this is, how and when to use it, and what information i can get from such a search?

Sorry if my questions shows me up as an internet ignoramus!

Go to any domain name registrar and you can enter the domain name in the whois search. It tells you who pays for the domain, the technical contact, etc. Of course, not everyone enters truthful information when purchasing a domain name.

Go here and enter “unidentity.net” to see my info.

(BTW, the info you get on my whois does NOT contain my home address, just to make things clear.)

It shows info for a registered domain name. This info includes:

The Domain Name
The IP addresses of the Primary and Secondary Server
Original Creation Date of Registration
Expiration date of Registration
Name and Postal Address of the Registrant
Name and Postal Address of Technical Contact
Name and Postal Address of Administrative Contact
It gets a little confusing because there are many domain registrars and they all have different databases. You can telnet directly to a whois server, but it’s easier to try one of the many web-based whois services. Here’s a few:



I’m sort of getting it. I did that for your website, and it worked.

But do you have to know with whom the person has registered their domain name? For example, the website in question in the thread mentioned in my OP was http://www.ndeweb.com/wildcard/ . I tried putting that web address into the space at the link you gave me, but got nothing. Is there somewhere on each individual website that tells you where to go for whois information?

I seem to be a bit thick on this issue. :slight_smile:

That’s OK. I wasn’t planning to use it for stalking purposes. :slight_smile:

Nor will i be in Houston anytime soon.

BTW, i think jonfromdenver answered my follow-up.

Thanks, jon. that made things very clear. I’ve put a couple of those links in my favourites folder.

No, if you notice, my domain is registered with a different company than the website I sent you to.

The problem is that you are trying to get info on a directory of a domain – you can only do a WHOIS on the main domain. That’s “ndeweb.com

When you purchase a domain name, you pay for the base name. You can create as many directories off of that domain as you want (or, at least as much as you have space for with your hosting plan.) You can even allow other people to use those directories. But since you are only PAYING for the main name, that’s the only bit that companies have information on.

Oh, I know. :wink: I just don’t want the mods thinking I’m giving away too much personal info. :wink:

If you don’t know who the registrar of a domain is, another site to try is http://www.betterwhois.com. They search (or claim to, at least) the listings of many, if not all registrars.

The site below will return the registrar and appropriate whois server for a domain name. It doesn’t give you other registration details, but it can point you in the right direction if a generic whois search fails.