WHOIS overview


WHOIS is the tool used to look up domain name registration details. These details contain information about the date the domain was registered, its expiration date, registrant information, nameservers, and the domain registrar. When a domain is registered, ICANN requires that this information is listed in a public database which can be viewed by anyone using the WHOIS protocol.

Due to ICANN's Transfer Policy, any change made to the registrant's name, organization, or email address will put the domain in a 60-day transfer lock; it will also trigger notification emails that are sent to the old and new registrant notifying them of the change.

Please visit the following article for further details:

There are many Internet websites that you can use to view domain registrant information listed in this database.

Do I need to list my real information in the public database?

ICANN requires that domain owners have true and accurate ownership details on file with the registry. They can even force registrars to suspend customer domains if there is inaccurate ownership information listed in the system, and as a domain owner, you are required to list true and accurate ownership details for any domains you register.

As a useful benefit, DreamHost offers free WHOIS privacy for most domain extensions that you can register through the DreamHost panel. There are only a few foreign/specialty registries that do not allow WHOIS privacy. You can read more about this service at:

What is the WHOIS database?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) broadly requires that the mailing address, phone number, and email address of those owning or administering a domain name are made publicly available through the "WHOIS" database. ICANN is a non-profit organization that coordinates the Internet's global domain name system, and registrars (like DreamHost) must comply by their regulations in order to remain accredited.

You can read more about ICANN here.

The WHOIS database allows you to instantly obtain information on a given domain name, including who registered it, when it was created, who to contact at that domain, and so on. 

When you begin the domain registration process with DreamHost, the domain is queried in the WHOIS database to see if it is available or not.

How do I update my contact information or nameservers on a domain?

You can use the DreamHost panel to update or modify the domain contact details which are publicly accessible via a WHOIS lookup.

To make changes to these details:

  1. Go to the Manage Registrations page.
    • You can change the contact details on a single domain, or on a few domains at once. If you do opt to change details on several domains at the same time, you can do this in groups of domains with the same extension. For example, you can update the contact details of any .com domains all at the same time, by clicking the checkboxes to the right of all .com domains that you want to modify.

    There are two exceptions (.uk and .io), which are described in the following:

    For *.uk domain names, the following message appears when you attempt to change the WHOIS info in the panel:

    Clicking the link takes you to 'secure.nominet.org.uk'. You can then change your WHOIS information there.

    Another exception is .io domain names, which also cannot have their WHOIS modified in the panel. Instead, .io domains can only have their WHOIS updated via a ticket submitted to DreamHost support. This request can take a few days to complete. 

  2. Once you have selected which domain(s) to modify on this page, click on the Modify Whois! button that appears at the bottom of the list.
  3. Update all of the fields that you want to modify.
    • You can also choose to update all contacts at once (Registrant, Admin, Technical and Billing contacts), or apply WHOIS privacy if that is available for your domain type.
    • If you do not see your domain in this list, the domain is either registered with another provider or under a different DreamHost account.
    • Once you make changes to your contact details, they will be updated in the registry's database within 30-60 minutes.
  4. To modify your nameservers on a domain, click the Nameservers tab, and then choose the radio button to either use DreamHost’s nameservers or another host’s nameservers.
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  5. Replace the default nameservers with the other host's nameservers, then click the Save Nameservers button to save your changes.
    • Review the Nameservers article for further details.
    • Your new nameservers will be set at the registry within 30-60 minutes but can take up to 72 hours to update around the world. This is normal and is due to DNS propagation time.
    • You can read more about this in the DNS propagation article.
    If you are using DreamHost for web hosting and email service, or another hosting option (redirecting, parking, mirroring), you will want to use the following DreamHost nameservers:
    • ns1.dreamhost.com
    • ns2.dreamhost.com
    • ns3.dreamhost.com

If you're updating your nameservers at your registrar, you should only have to add the nameserver URL, not the IP. The IPs are listed above just in case your registrar asks for them.

When do changes I make to my domain registration occur?

Any change you make to your domain registration occurs immediately, including edits to WHOIS, nameserver(s), and registrant information.

Emails you receive after changing your information

Immediately after changing your information, you'll receive an email from DreamHost notifying you of the change. This email will come from support@dreamhost.com.

If you haven't verified your contact information before, you will also receive an email from do-not-reply@dreamhostregistry.com to verify your name and email address. This will contain a link you must click to ensure your site continues to work properly.

See also

Internal links

External links

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