What is Whois? An explanation for beginners


Every year, millions of people, private and other organizations, register new domains for their projects. But what if the desired address is occupied by an unknown owner? To help shed the veil of mystery and get detailed information not only about the domain name, but also about the server, the website will be helped by such a convenient service as Whois.

What is Whois?

Whois (from the English “Who is?” – “Who?”) is a public database that stores information about domains, their owners, registration periods and IP addresses.

You might get the impression that the presented system is a single database managed by one company, but it is not. In fact, separate independent organizations, which are called registrars, make changes to it. Such an organization must be accredited by ICANN to start operating.

ICANN is the International Corporation for Assigning Names and IP Addresses. It is this corporation that provides open access to Whois data. This means that every person or organization must make the information about the newly registered domain public. That is why the catalog with information about the domain name can be viewed for free using special online services.

Whois used for?

With Whois service you can:

  • View site details.
  • Find out the age of a domain.
  • Identify a one-day site or a fraudulent resource.
  • Find out if a certain domain is free to register.
  • Contact the administrators of the resource hosted on the domain to buy or sell another domain.
  • Get information about the real address of the company.
  • Notify resource administrators about a case of intellectual property violation.
  • Check the functionality of the site.
  • Collect statistics about a competitor’s resource.


The data that is in the Whois

In just a couple of seconds, everyone will have access to extensive information about the domain and site. As we said above, you can see the age of the domain and find out who owns the site. But here comes a little snag. If everything is simple with the first point, then it can be difficult to find out the name and contact details of the current site owner. The fact is that the owner can use the data hiding service. Also, the owner’s data can be hidden according to the rules of the domain zone. For example, for sites in the .COM and .NET zones, you can hide the administrator’s personal data by replacing it with the Private Person status, while some domain zones, the data is hidden automatically.

Therefore, the data may vary, but in most cases will be as follows:

  • The name of the registrar.
  • Site administrator (can be specified or hidden).
  • Domain creation date.
  • The current status of the domain.
  • Domain registration period.
  • Ways to contact the administrator (if the data is open).
  • DNS servers.
  • Information about the IP address.

Checking a new domain’s Whois

Separately, it is worth talking about the use of Whois when buying a new domain. In SEO articles, our experts have repeatedly said that the history of a domain name affects the position of the site. Therefore, when buying a new domain, it is very important to check it in the service – you can find out from the history whether it had a previous owner. If there was, using various thematic services, you need to calculate its old theme. If it is not adjacent to the site you have chosen as the main one for the site that you are going to place on the purchased domain name, you should not buy it, as this can lead to big problems with the site’s promotion to the top of the search results.

So, Whois is a service where you can not only find out information about the site, its owner (administrator), but also determine the age of the domain. If you used domain Whois to buy a domain that was taken, don’t forget that you can always find and register a similar address in the Domain name register and web hosting providers. You can also try to buy a domain name using the Domain Broker service, where a domain brokers will contact the domain owner (administrator) and try to negotiate the sale.

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