Internet domain name and network number
whois 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
-hoption with an argument of "country-code
- 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.
whoisconstructs 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
-Qoption is not specified.
If the query is not a domain name or IP address,
whoiswill fall back to whois.crsnic.net.
- Use the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (whois.iana.org) root zone database. It contains information about top-level domains.
- 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 "
!" or "
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' networks.
- Use the PeeringDB database of AS numbers. It contains details about presence at internet peering points for many network operators.
- Connect to the whois server on port. If this option
is not specified,
whoisdefaults to the “whois” port listed in /etc/services (port 43).
- Do a quick lookup. This means that
whoiswill 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 other flag.
- 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
-coption 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 name, 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 name 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
Most types of data, such as domain names and IP addresses, can be
used as arguments to
whois without any options, and
whois 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 domain "
RU", use the
-c option as shown in the following example, where
CONTACT-ID is substituted with the actual contact
whois -c RU CONTACT-ID
(Note: This example is specific to the TLD
RU", 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
query-data” is the query to be sent
whois.example.com” on port
rwhois” (written numerically as
whois -h whois.example.com -p rwhois query-data
K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, and E. Feinler, NICNAME/WHOIS, RFC 954, October 1985.
L. Daigle, WHOIS Protocol Specification, RFC 3912, September 2004.
whois command appeared in