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WHOIS spam[edit]

The Criticism section states

Spammers often harvest plain-text email addresses from WHOIS requests.[9]

with a reference to the whois study by ICANN. I don't believe it has been proven that spammers harvest plain-text email addresses from whois requests. That is the purpose of ICANN's study - to determine the validity of this comment. The various ICANN WHOIS studies are still in the planning stages. See [1]

JPEcas (talk) 18:52, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Terrorism and Child Porn?[edit]

In the uses of WHOIS we see the following rather extreme examples:

Assisting law enforcement authorities in investigations, in enforcing national and international laws, including, for example, countering terrorism-related criminal offenses and in supporting international cooperation procedures. In some countries, specialized non governmental entities may be involved in this work; Assisting in the combating against abusive uses of ICT's, such as illegal and other acts motivated by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, hatred, violence, all forms of child abuse, including paedophilia and child pornography, the trafficking in, and exploitation of, human beings.

This seems like, frankly, farcical overstatement. Surely this could be condensed into a single point which reads "Assistance in the identification of network owners, which may be of aid in investigation of Internet crime such as hacking existing sites, or hosting content considered illegal in certain jurisdictions."

Indeed, the comprehensive, overstated nature of this particular list would lead me to believe its been copied and pasted from an offical US govt website, which could fall foul of copyright. (talk)


The whole list of "uses" is incoherent and should be dropped or seriously rewritten. For example "Contributing to user confidence in the Internet" is not a "use" of WHOIS although "user confidence" may or may not be the effect of its use. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:37, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

== More


I've just re-organised the article a fair bit, and moved some stuff around. I think there are too many links to external sites; but I don't see the solution is to just delete them. They need better sorting, and organising, and perhaps the vast majority could be kept, if better linked, and better described.

It would also be good to see expansion of the "problems" section at some point. & to include details of exactly how (and where) the databases are maintained. UkPaolo 28 June 2005 20:31 (UTC)

The Whois infrastructure is now quite large and somewhat complex, not sure how much scope this entry should really cover. Many different companies, government and non-profits maintain whois data and servers. Jeff The Riffer 20:07, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Whois servers[edit]

Currently we have a buttload of web based whois servers, but what about actual whois servers, those that listen at TCP port 43? You'd think these would be even more obviously listed here than the web interfaces, but not even one is? I'm currently writing a WHOIS client as a small personal client/host learning project and for fun, but having a heck of a time to find a list of good WHOIS servers to try against. You know, common .com/.net/.org whois server(s). It would be nice to have some international servers too, and maybe even national for countries with a large internet-enabled population. I'm not asking anyone to bother digging up the most strange tiny WHOIS servers, but at least some commonly used ones, for example used by those web based services we have listed, if possible. -- Jugalator 00:58, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

The jwhois configuration file is probably what you are looking for. --Jeff The Riffer 22:47, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

I started in the same direction of making a personal thingi, but ended up making database of sorts, anded to it a whois site which supports all ccTLDs and TLDs. it has information about each ccTLDs, and their coutries, ... in the process of adding country flags, i believe it would be a gr8 idea to put it as a resource,... perhaps under external links... any votes?
Site => Whois . Bizz . cc/
after writing this i figure my site, which also gives out free subdomains, has been blacklisted for spam :) ... so if a Admin here can vote to add my site, "without removing it from blacklist" as i know some people just dont learn! Msolution (talk) 14:06, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Please Pronounce[edit]

The most obvious way, it seems, is "Who is?", since that is obviously where the term comes from.

However I have also heard people prounounce it as a one syllable word, that kind of rhymes with "Joyce" or "Voice" -> "woyce" or "woice".

which one is correct? --Ted Jones 15:46, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

i've never heard anything other than the obvious "who is" pronounciation. UkPaolo 21:07, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
I've never heard anything other than the obvious "who is" pronounciation. -- Reinyday, 01:30, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
It's pronounced "who is". Pronouncing it as "whoice" is a sign of trying to hard. Jeff The Riffer 18:07, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Article title[edit]

The article sat quietly for 2 years uner the lowcase title Whois until a smartass anon made a forbidden cut and paste move to WHOIS on January 18, 2006 and nobody noticed that. I fixed it (merged the article histories).

Now you watch out, and by the way decide which artcile name is preferrable? mikka (t) 03:32, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, WHOIS is probably the historically accurate term to use. While it's not a true acronym, it is an explicitly defined protocol and protocol names are often capitalized (i.e. HTTP, SMTP, POP, etc). I think both are appropriate, and one of them should just auto-forward to the other. Which is what it appears to do currently...

--Jeff The Riffer 01:23, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

All of your examples are acronyms (or at least initials). Whois is neither and should not be capitalized as such. --Bearheart 20:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Example Query[edit]

In the Example query section, several e-mail addresses are sitting there in plain text, and I think they're just waiting to be collected by spambots if they haven't been already. Should these addresses be obfuscated? ScottyWZ 02:56, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

They are part of the whois record anyway, so I assume they are already listed. But conforming to RFC 2606, the example maybe should cover Dork. 00:43, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Confusing pronoun reference[edit]

In the passage (under "History"), "A month later it had self-detecting CGI support so that the same program could operate a web-based WHOIS lookup...", what does it refer to? --orlady 15:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

That prose was cut-and-pasted from the documentation for my [BW Whois] client, notably not by me nor with my permission. Therefor "it" refers to [BW Whois].

This may have happened because BW Whois was the first client to support thin whois servers after the big change in Dec 1999.

Nutshell box[edit]

I added a Nutshell box (Template:Easier_Version:WHOIS) here and removed the "May be confusing" box as I tried to make it as easy and clear for Wikireaders that may not understand the complexity of the article. JoshEdgar 23:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Web based clients ordered by TLD[edit]

A lot of TLD doesn't provide direct WHOIS service for example .ar .bm .firm etc etc. I think it would be perfect if we will provide an External Link to some whois web based servers ordered by TLD like this Whois servers ordered by TLD Adrian13 09:55, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


Registrant City:St. Petersburg

Is that correct? 11:43, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Content of the reply[edit]

Is the content of the reply described in some RFC? I don't mean the formatting (that's quite different from whois server to whois server), but what fields are supposed to be included in the reply, and what they should contain. One example: contain phone numbers without international prefix, while usually lists phone numbers with their international prefix. So the data presented there can be rather difficult to interpret, even if they are meant for human beings. Any hints? Cordula's Web 19:12, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

See also and External links sections[edit]

The See also section should not contain External links (WP:ALSO). Those External links should be deleted or moved to the External links section. (See, e.g., WP:EL#Important_points_to_remember and WP:EL#External_links_section.)

The links to obsolete RFCs don't give the reader a clue about their notability. Those links might be better used as references for the History section; otherwise, they should be deleted (they are already available from the link).

The "Request for Comments" entry should not be a See also sub-section; it should be a simple bullet entry there; a header shouldn't be a link (WP:MOS-L#Internal_links).

Rich Janis 18:43, 1 December 2007 (UTC)


"If a WHOIS client does not he WHOIS client understood how to deal with this situation, it would display the full information from the registrar."

This sentence doesn't make sense but I don't know enough about WHOIS to rewrite it. Anyone want to take a stab? Nwjerseyliz (talk) 18:02, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

WHOIS Scams[edit]

From this article:

"The domain names authority warns of possible scam when checking domains availability. Malicious operators could be intercepting the requests and buying the domain names first." —Preceding unsigned comment added by James Lednik (talkcontribs) 20:50, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Is there a similar way to geolocate an IP address, analogous to WHOIS? I couldn't find any mention of it in this article or the geolocation article. I've always been curious about it myself, and I believe it would be useful somewhere in this article, as well. (talk) 05:35, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Internationalization problems[edit]

Why are internationalized domain names a problem? It is the responsibility of the client, not the user, to convert domain names in a local encoding to the punycode form. There are probably libraries available, so that this would be a question about whether the maintainers of the program care about the issue. The other records may be problematic if there is no standard way to tell that an encoding other than ASCII is used, but isn't there? --LPfi (talk) 06:20, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Red links in the See also section are based on the following...[edit]

-- (talk) 10:28, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:00, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:54, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


  • Wikipedia manual of style suggests the title should be Whois as it is the style that most closely resembles standard English. Furthermore Whois or "WHOIS" is not an acronym and shouldn't be written as one. Hm2k (talk) 15:33, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
The Manual of Style has nothing to do with article titles, which is just as well. Nor should we invent something based on our feelings for English (because we will disagree; to me who-is or WhoIs seem natural). But whois seems to be what the sources use; is there some other reason to use all-caps? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:14, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence that the MOS has nothing to do with article tiles. The MOSTM has been used in numerous requested move discussions and as far as I know no one has claimed that it was invlaid to use.-- (talk) 17:34, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
WP:AT is our article title policy; but MOSTM is one of the exceptional pieces of MOS which does actually have general consensus - and is repeated in essence at Wikipedia:Article_titles#Standard_English_and_trademarks. So is WP:ENGVAR. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:08, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
The reference comes from WP:MOSTM. It's not absurd to apply this to names of protocols too. --Hm2k (talk) 20:56, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Also, as per this discussion Talk:WHOIS#Article_title and the Telnet article as an example it should probably Whois, not WHOIS. --Hm2k (talk) 22:58, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
  • If internet maintainers (and before that telegraphists) have been calling it WHOIS for many years, perhaps we should keep on calling it WHOIS. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:35, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Much like a trademark, a protocol often has official formatting, while outside of technical specifications it is referred to using the style that most closely resembles standard English. ICANN for example, refers to the protocol as Whois. Besides, the legacy style should have little influence on a Wikipedia article title. --Hm2k (talk) 11:29, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support move per WP:MOSTM: Follow standard English text formatting and capitalization rules, even if the trademark owner considers nonstandard formatting "official": (avoid: REALTOR®, TIME, KISS instead, use: Realtor, Time, Kiss) oncamera(t) 00:13, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Who uses telnet?[edit]

In reply to Kbrose "who in all honesty uses telnet to query WHOIS":

Find sources: "telnet whois" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
  • In books, there's plenty of good examples of using telnet to whois servers. It's common practice.
  • You'll also find plenty of online articles about whois that show examples of using telnet to whois.

--Hm2k (talk) 07:16, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

The question is rather which one is more helpful for the readers. telnet often shows more of the protocols (although not really in this example), while a specialized application, like whois, shows the things important to the (non-technical, using whois!) user. Another point is that telnet should be available even on Windows machines, while I wouldn't expect a command line whois in the default configuration (perhaps prejudice, I don't have any Windows box around to check). Thus the telnet version would allow readers to test for themselves. --LPfi (talk) 19:48, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This is true. Telnet shows how the protocol works, while the whois command only shows how the whois command works. This article is primarily about the protocol, not the command. --Hm2k (talk) 20:59, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
No this is completely false, data is stored in text records and the telnet protocol has no way of adding additional information, what is in the database gets displayed record by record. You need to inform yourself before making such assertions. This article is not about just the protocol, as it should be obvious, because until now is has not even attempted to describe the protocol. It talked about all aspects, the software, the data model, the problems, the law. Kbrose (talk) 21:18, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This is amusing. Where did you get this information? Telnet just allows you to create a raw tcp connection to the appropriate whois server on the default port and call the desired record, as per the RFC. You will find that this article is in the "Internet protocols" category, which means it is an article about the whois Internet protocol. You should avoid editing articles you know very little about. --Hm2k (talk) 07:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Jargon in the History Section[edit]

What is a "thin WHOIS model", which the History section refers to? In general, that section needs to do a better job explaining technical jargon, or even better, avoid it (where possible). --Danielx (talk) 02:17, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Response standard?[edit]

Is there any standard regarding the layout of a whois response? Or are the semantics of the response to be defined by the whois server operator? --Abdull (talk) 01:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

ICANN plans to destroy whois -- really?[edit]

This headline seems overly emotive and doesn't (of this writing) actually reference any ICANN policy statement that supports this assertion. It would be better to point to the actual ICANN policy statements[1], and studies that are in progress [2]. RichardLetts (talk) 09:28, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Even with the changed title, the section is still misleading and hopelessly outdated. The EWG has published updates on its work: Also, the inflamatory reamark about journalism refers to an article that was published 9 years ago. Note that it's even older then the EWG report reference in the preceeding sentence. It should be removed or replaced by a seperate section incorporating any and all kinds of crtitque of the proposals if warranted by references. Personally, I think the section should be reduced to something along the lines of "The EWG works on something..." unless someone has the time to regularily update its contents. Also, as RichardLetts seems to suggest, the section should probably reflect the fact (via official EWG reference) that ICANN hasn't proposed anything yet - The EWG is an internal working group consisting of volunteers with backgrounds in the corporate sector and research. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 31 January 2014 (UTC)