domain name and network number directory service
utility looks up records in the databases
maintained by several Network Information Centers (NICs).
The options are as follows:
- Use the Asia/Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC)
database. It contains network numbers used in East Asia, Australia, New
Zealand, and the Pacific islands.
- Use the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
database. It contains network numbers used in those parts of the world
covered neither by AfriNIC, APNIC, LACNIC, nor by RIPE.
(Hint: All point of contact handles in the ARIN whois database end with
- This is the equivalent of using the
-h option with an argument of
- Use the US Department of Defense database. It contains
points of contact for subdomains of .MIL.
- Use the US non-military federal government database, which
contains points of contact for subdomains of .GOV.
- Use the specified host instead of the default NIC
(whois.crsnic.net). Either a host name or an IP address may be specified.
By default whois constructs the name of a whois
server to use from the top-level domain (TLD) of the supplied (single)
argument. For newer generic domains (gTLDs), a lookup for whois.nic.tld is
attempted. For other TLDs, or if this lookup fails,
.whois-servers.net” is appended to
the TLD. This effectively allows a suitable whois server to be selected
automatically for a large number of TLDs.
In the event that an IP address is specified, the whois server will default
to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). If a query to ARIN
references APNIC, LACNIC, or RIPE, that server will be queried also,
provided that the -Q option is not specified.
If the query is not a domain name or IP address,
whois will fall back to
- Use the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(whois.iana.org) root zone database. It contains information about
- Use the Network Solutions Registry for Internet Numbers
(whois.networksolutions.com) database. Historically, it contained network
numbers and domain contact information for most of .COM, .NET, .ORG and
.EDU domains. However, the registration of these domains is now done by a
number of independent and competing registrars and this database holds no
information on the domains registered by organizations other than Network
Solutions, Inc. Also, note that the InterNIC database
(whois.internic.net) is no longer handled by
Network Solutions, Inc. For details, see
(Hint: Contact information, identified by the term
handle, can be looked up by prefixing
handle ” to the NIC handle
in the query.)
- Use the Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional
Registry (LACNIC) database. It contains network numbers used in much of
Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Use the Route Arbiter Database (RADB) database. It contains
route policy specifications for a large number of operators'
- Use the PeeringDB database of AS numbers. It contains
details about presence at internet peering points for many network
- Connect to the whois server on
port. If this option is not specified,
whois defaults to the “whois”
port listed in /etc/services (port 43).
- Do a quick lookup. This means that
whois will not attempt to lookup the name in
the authoritative whois server (if one is listed) nor will it contact
InterNic if a lookup fails. This flag has no effect when combined with any
- Use the Russia Network Information Center (RIPN) database.
It contains network numbers and domain contact information for subdomains
of .RU. This option is deprecated; use the -c
option with an argument of “
- Use the Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE) database. It contains
network numbers and domain contact information for Europe.
The default action, unless directed otherwise with a special
, is to do a very broad search, looking
for matches to name
in all types of records
and most fields (name, nicknames, hostname, net address, etc.) in the
database. For more information as to what
operands have special meaning, and how
to guide the search, use the special name “help”.
Queries beginning with an exclamation point
’ are assumed to be NSI contact
handles. Unless a host or domain is specified on the command line,
(whois.networksolutions.com) will be used as the
Similarly, queries beginning with “COCO-” are assumed to be CORE
contact handles. Unless a host or domain is specified on the command line,
(whois.corenic.net) will be used as the whois
Most types of data, such as domain names and IP addresses, can be used as
arguments to whois
without any options, and
will choose the correct whois server to
query. Some exceptions, where whois
will not be
able to handle data correctly, are detailed below.
To obtain contact information about an administrator located in the Russian TLD
”, use the
option as shown in the following example,
is substituted with the
actual contact identifier.
whois -c RU CONTACT-ID
(Note: This example is specific to the TLD
”, but other TLDs can be queried by
using a similar syntax.)
The following example demonstrates how to query a whois server using a
non-standard port, where “
the query to be sent to
” on port
” (written numerically as 4321).
M. Stahl, and E. Feinler,
NICNAME/WHOIS, RFC 954,
WHOIS Protocol Specification, RFC
3912, September 2004.
whois -h whois.example.com -p rwhois
command appeared in