whois - Internet domain name and network number directory service
whois [-aAbfgiIklmQr] [-c country-code | Fl h
host] [-p port] name...
The whois utility looks up records in the databases maintained by several
Network Information Centers (NICs).
The options are as follows:
The whois utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
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.
- Use the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) database. It
contains network numbers used in those parts of the world covered neither
by APNIC, AfriNIC, LACNIC, nor by RIPE.
(Hint: All point of contact handles in the ARIN whois database
end with -ARIN.)
- 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 Network Abuse Clearinghouse database. It contains addresses to
which network abuse should be reported, indexed by domain name.
- -c country-code
- This is the equivalent of using the -h option with an argument of
- Use the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) database. It contains
network numbers used in Africa and the islands of the western Indian
- Use the US non-military federal government database, which contains points
of contact for subdomains of .GOV.
- -h host
- Use the specified host instead of the default variant. 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, and appending .whois-servers.net . This effectively allows a
suitable whois server to be selected automatically for a large number of
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, AfriNIC, LACNIC, or RIPE, that server
will be queried also, provided that the -Q option is not
If the query is not a domain name or IP address, whois
will fall back to whois.crsnic.net.
- Use the Network Solutions Registry for Internet Numbers
(whois.networksolutions.com) database. It contains network numbers
and domain contact information for most of .COM,.NET,.ORG and
NOTE ! 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 http://www.internic.net/.
(Hint: Contact information, identified by the term
handle, can be looked up by prefixing "handle" to the
NIC handle in the query.)
- Use the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) database. It contains
network information for top-level domains.
- Use the National Internet Development Agency of Korea's (KRNIC) database.
It contains network numbers and domain contact information for Korea.
- Use the Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional Registry (Tn
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.
- -p port
- Connect to the whois server on port. If this option is not
specified, whois defaults to 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). This option
has no effect when combined with any other options.
- Use the R´eseaux IP Europ´eens (RIPE) database. It contains
network numbers and domain contact information for Europe.
The operands specified to whois are treated
independently and may be used as queries on different whois servers.
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
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 to
``whois.example.com'' on port ``rwhois'' (written numerically as 4321).
whois -h whois.example.com -p rwhois query-data
Vic White and Ken Harrenstien, NICNAME/WHOIS, 1 March 1982, RFC 812.
The whois command appeared in 4.3BSD.