How to use the WHOIS output?
The WHOIS search is a powerful tool. It gives a lot of valuable information for your domain research. It contains the following information:
- Allows you to determine if the given domain name is registered.
- Shows who is the sponsoring registrar.
- Provides information about the expiration of the domain name.
- Shows the status of the domain name.
- Gives a hint how to contact the current owner of the domain name.
Allows you to determine if the given domain name is registered.
Well, this one is pretty obvious. If the domain name is registered, then the WHOIS search for the particular name will return a full record for it. If there is no record, then the domain name is most likely available for registration.
Shows who is the sponsoring registrar.
The WHOIS search on our side for the most popular TLDs shows both the output from the TLD registrar, and from the Sponsoring Registrar. For example, Verisign is the TLD registry for .com domains, and many other registrars resell .com domain names on behalf of Verisign. These registrars are called Sponsoring Registrars, and they maintain WHOIS records for the names that are registered with them. The WHOIS output of the TLD registry shows who is the Sponsoring Registrar. Popular Sponsoring Registrars are Enom, GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.
Provides information about the expiration of the domain name.
There is a section in the WHOIS output, which usually lists the date and time when the domain name was registered, the current expiration date, and the last time the information or the status of the domain name were modified.
Shows the status of the domain name.
There is a designated field in the WHOIS record, which lists the current status of the domain name. An example purpose of the status is to determine if a given domain name is unlocked for transfer or is it being transferred at the moment. A full list of the possible statuses is available at:
Gives a hint how to contact the current owner of the domain name.
The WHOIS records of the domain names used to contain sections with contact details for the Registrant, Administrative, Technical, and Billing contacts for the domain name. This information was very useful when searching about who is the actual domain owner. However, after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation of the European Union was introduced, all the registrars started to hide the personal information from the WHOIS records. The registrars still hold these records on their side, but the access to them is rather limited. It is available only to the other registrars. However, sometimes there are still some crumbs left in the WHOIS records of the Sponsoring Registrar, allowing the users to contact the domain owner. These specific records sometimes contain an email address entry, which forwards to the actual email address of the domain owner. As an alternative, the email entry may lead to a form that forwards to the owner. For example, the domain name of our web dig interface for DNS lookups website is SlimDig.com. The WHOIS lookup for this domain name in the Sponsoring Registrar Enom lists the following entry for the Registrant contact:
Registrant Email: https://tieredaccess.com/contact/9d81b8ed-78bd-43ef-909d-0610bc5353d5
The above address leads to an email form. If you use it to send a message, then it is going to be forwarded to the actual hidden Registrant contact.
For more information about the WHOIS query and response protocol, you can check the Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHOIS.