What is a WHOIS search?

  • Applies to: All Service Types
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: None


A WHOIS search will provide information regarding a domain name, such as example.com. It may include information, such as domain ownership, where and when registered, expiration date, and the nameservers assigned to the domain.


There are many free websites that will allow you to perform a WHOIS search, the following are two that we recommend:

You can also perform a WHOIS search using the whois command in a shell:

whois mt-example.com

This will return the following result:

[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
for detailed information.

Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
Whois Server: whois.tucows.com
Referral URL: http://domainhelp.opensrs.net
Status: ok
Updated Date: 15-aug-2008
Creation Date: 12-feb-2008
Expiration Date: 12-feb-2009

>>> Last update of whois database: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 17:02:13 EST <<<

NOTICE: The expiration date displayed in this record is the date the
registrar's sponsorship of the domain name registration in the registry is
currently set to expire. This date does not necessarily reflect the expiration
date of the domain name registrant's agreement with the sponsoring
registrar.  Users may consult the sponsoring registrar's Whois database to
view the registrar's reported date of expiration for this registration.

TERMS OF USE: You are not authorized to access or query our Whois
database through the use of electronic processes that are high-volume and
automated except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or
modify existing registrations; the Data in VeriSign Global Registry
Services' ("VeriSign") Whois database is provided by VeriSign for
information purposes only, and to assist persons in obtaining information
about or related to a domain name registration record. VeriSign does not
guarantee its accuracy. By submitting a Whois query, you agree to abide
by the following terms of use: You agree that you may use this Data only
for lawful purposes and that under no circumstances will you use this Data
to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass
unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via e-mail, telephone,
or facsimile; or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes
that apply to VeriSign (or its computer systems). The compilation,
repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is expressly
prohibited without the prior written consent of VeriSign. You agree not to
use electronic processes that are automated and high-volume to access or
query the Whois database except as reasonably necessary to register
domain names or modify existing registrations. VeriSign reserves the right
to restrict your access to the Whois database in its sole discretion to ensure
operational stability.  VeriSign may restrict or terminate your access to the
Whois database for failure to abide by these terms of use. VeriSign
reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.

The Registry database contains ONLY .COM, .NET, .EDU domains and


There are several reasons when a WHOIS search may not provide useful results.

  • Private WHOIS provided by registrar to protect a domain name's details.
  • The domain name is not registered.