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What is WHOIS and why is it important in web hosting?

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September 09, 2019

Internet domain name registration and website ownership is regulated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In this system, the WHOIS record is an Internet record listing for tracking who owns a domain and how to get in contact with them. WHOIS records are important for maintaining the integrity of the domain name registration and website ownership.

What is WHOIS? Definition

A WHOIS record stores pertinent information about a domain name, its registrant, and its registrar. Data within WHOIS records may vary, but at a minimum, this record will provide the registrar, name servers, and registration dates. More thorough records may give administrative or technical contact information, the domain owner, registration location, and an expiration date.

What is WHOIS and what is the difference between DNS and WHOIS?

A Domain Name lookup (also called WHOIS) retrieves the domain registration data, including the domain owner details. There is a difference between a Domain Name Server (DNS) lookup and a Domain Name lookup. A DNS lookup retrieves the IP address associated with a Domain Name.

What is the WHOIS Directory for registered domains?

The data records in a database of all the registered domains in a particular country when put together form a WHOIS Directory for that country. WHOIS directories can be used to look up details about a domain, including:

- Name of the domain owner

- Dates the domain was originally purchased and last renewed

- Domain owner's contact information

- Other related details

What is WHOIS? Purpose

DNS use WHOIS data to maintain an international directory of domain names. Some, but not all, specific uses include:

  • Determining the availability of a domain name.
  • Contacting the registrar about copyright violations.
  • Diagnosing registration difficulties.
  • Establishing real-world identity and location of an online merchant.
  • Investigating websites associated with spam.

What is WHOIS? Performing WHOIS searches

Though WHOIS records provide a multitude of data, an actual WHOIS search may or may not provide all of the information outlined above.

To perform a detailed WHOIS search, visit the Tucows website:

For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email at or through your Nexcess Client Portal.


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