How to run a WHOIS query

You can use websites like to check the current WHOIS records for domains. This is the simplest way to search for the domain registration and ownership information stored in the public database.

Entering a WHOIS query from the command line

You can also perform a WHOIS query from your computer if your operating system supports this. Open a terminal on your computer and run a WHOIS query from a telnet command line. For example:

[server]$ whois

For some domain extensions, you may need to check the record directly on that specific domain’s WHOIS server. However, there is no current standard for determining the responsible WHOIS server for a domain extension. Some WHOIS lookups require some extra work, such as performing the search through the specific registrar of the domain name to retrieve ownership details.

You can read more about this at:

In most cases, it is easiest to use a third-party WHOIS searching site to perform your WHOIS lookup queries.

Breaking down a WHOIS query

There are two parts to a WHOIS query:

  • The central registry information
  • The registrar information

The central registry information

Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 431
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 27-aug-2014
Creation Date: 23-sep-1997
Expiration Date: 22-sep-2015

The central registry information shows the domain name in question, what company provided registration services, a link to their WHOIS server, the domain status, nameservers, and create/expire dates. After you have this information, your WHOIS client will generally connect to the registrar's server to look up the contact information. The information in the central registry is updated roughly every 24 hours, so if you see information in the registrars WHOIS section that is different than the central registry, try again in abut 24 hours.

The registrar information

Registrar: DREAMHOST
Registrar IANA ID: 431
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Organization: PROXY PROTECTION LLC
Registrant Street: 417 ASSOCIATED RD #324
Registrant Street: C/O DREAMHOST.COM
Registrant City: BREA
Registrant State/Province: CA
Registrant Postal Code: 92821
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.7147064182
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: [email protected]
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.2132719359

The registrar information shows the current contact information for the domain. This information should be kept up to date at all times, in case there is an issue (such as a domain ownership problem) which requires ownership details to be accurate in order to be addressed.

See also

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Article last updated PST.