What is Whois :)

Hi Guys,

What is the whois service, who is responsible for it and how does it work?

I’ve seen engineers using what look like unix commands querying it online - how does this work?



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Hello Gareth

WHOIS is a protocol whose most basic function is to query databases and present the results in a human-readable format. The primary usage of WHOIS is to retrieve information about registered users of an Internet resource, such as a domain name or IP address block or BGP AS, but additional information can also be retrieved as well. You can find out details about its implementation in RFC 3912.

WHOIS is one of those legacy networking protocols that is still around today, almost 50 years (!!) after its inception. WHOIS servers are operated by regional internet registries (RIRs) and can be queried directly to determine the ISP of a particular resource. However, because Internet resource management has become more complex, in order to use WHOIS successfully, you must know the correct WHOIS server to query it and get the desired results.

For this reason, today it is rare to use WHOIS directly, but you can use a whole series of WHOIS proxy tools to do a more complete and comprehensive search.

There have been attempts to replace this protocol, but so far, nothing substantial has taken place.

I hope this has been helpful!


Thanks Laz. Interesting to know that WHOIS is actually a protocol!

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