What is Whois

Whois is a directory service for managing and searching for user addresses in databases on the Internet. The Whois command is used on the Internet to direct requests for an email address, a domain name or a person to the database of Network Information Center (NIC) or a subordinate institution. At the request which domain is registered within a zone are working with distributed Whois. Reference is made to the Whois of the competent authority for the domain registrar.

Manage Whois Server user addresses on the Internet. They are just as widespread as CSO server. A list of whois servers can be accessed using anonymous FTP (AFTP) of “whois.internic.net”.


To access a whois server, you need either a local Whois program or you can use a public Whois client. You realize its Internet access via a terminal program and remote login to an Internet node, a Whois client is installed on that with high probability, which can be activated with the command “whois name”. If no whois client which remains the possibility to use using telnet a public whois client.

Whois is an older directory service. It dates from 1985 and is described in RFC 954. The description format of Whois, the Routing Policy Specification Language (RPSL) is described in RFC 2622. Whois alternatives to the registrar for domains that Network Information Center (NIC), and especially in Germany DENIC.