WHOIS(1) User Commands WHOIS(1)

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:

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 country-code.whois-servers.net.
Use the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) database. It contains network numbers used in Africa and the islands of the western Indian Ocean.
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 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, AfriNIC, 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 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 .EDU domains.

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.

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.

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 identifier.

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.
October 2, 2009