WHOIS is a query and response protocol that Internet users, companies, and authorities use for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, like a domain name, an IP address, or an autonomous system.
In simple terms, WHOIS is a widely used Internet record listing that identifies the owner of a specific domain and gives their contact details. Typically, when buying a domain from a domain provider, the owner of the domain will be required to confirm their contact and administrative details with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) who regulates domain name registration and ownership, and this information can then be made available.
So, a WHOIS lookup simply means to look up this information using WHOIS records.
What Are WHOIS Lookups Used for?
WHOIS lookups are typically used when someone wants to find out relevant information about the owner of a domain. This means when someone performs a domain lookup using WHOIS, they will be provided with many details on the specific domain.
This information includes the domain information such as the general details of the domain, who the registrar is, when the domain was registered, its most recent update when the domain expires, and more. It is important to keep in mind that there are two different models for storing WHOIS resource information.
- The thin model. This model only gives the registrar, name servers, and registration details.
- The thick model. This model provides more detail than the thin model and typically contains additional details like contact details and it will supply all the necessary information on who owns the domain when it was registered, and when it expires.
It will also contain the contact details of the registrant. Here, the following details of the registrant may be provided:
- Postal code
In addition, it will also list the administrative contact and the technical contact of the domain.
Why Are WHOIS Lookups Important?
WHOIS lookups are important to reinforce the stability and security of the Internet because they provide network operators, response teams, and ISPs with the details of the appropriate contacts relating to a domain.
It is also important to regulate the registration status of domains and supports law enforcement officials in investigations. In addition, it can also be helpful in trademark inquiries, preventing fraud, and upholding overall user confidence on the Internet as an efficient and reliable means of communication between users, while also tracking down spam and malicious users.