The WHOIS information is different fields of data on the person or orgnization that has registered a particular domain name through a registrar. It can show who the person or the company is, contacts, and additional information. The WHOIS is important for better internet transparency and serves law enforcement if a site or somebody on it conducts illegal activities.
What is WHOIS?
The WHOIS is a protocol for querying and getting answers from databases of registrars about domain names. The information that you can get is known as WHOIS data, WHOIS record or WHOIS information and contains items like the name of the domain name holder, their business or personal address, email address for contacts, phone number if he or she has added it, information about the company which owns that domain name, etc.
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the organization that has the power to accredit registrars organization to create their own database with domain names and owners. It is not one united database of WHOIS information but a combination of independent databases.
Why is it important?
- To see if a domain is currently free, or taken and for what period.
- To see who is the responsible (administrator) of a particular domain name and to be able to contact him or her. This can be useful for technical issues or others.
- To be able to troubleshoot problems with registration. The WHOIS query can get you WHOIS information that is useful to show who the real owner is and show period of domain name registration and the owner’s data.
- To find out the real name of a company, not its brand name. You can see the complete name of an organization and be able to contact it. This could be useful in case of problems or in case you want to cooperate with it.
- To relate your data as a person or your company to a domain name. To verify that you are the owner.
- To obey the law in your country and offer all the required information. In some countries, there are specific laws related to the TLDs. There, to register a domain name with the country ccTLD only if you are from that country.
- To contact the owner or administrator of a domain name in regard to his or her domain name and see if you can get it for a certain price. You can send a message to the owner and arrange a transfer of the property (the domain name) for a certain amount of money.
- The registrar can contact the registrant about topics like enforcement of intellectual property or the obligation of adding and maintaining accurate registration information.
- Law enforcement can use the data on leads to digital or other crimes. The information might be vital to crackdown on different types of criminal organizations.
The future of WHOIS
ICANN wants to change the way WHOIS and very soon. It has been working on the topic since 2012 when the newly formed WHOIS Review team came off with various recommendations about single WHOIS policies that stay the same of different registrars and about the truth of the data in the database.
The idea is to create Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) that will summarize and show an easily accessible single point to obtain information.
One of the other ideas is to manage better the data from the gTLDs and to have two times of important WHOIS data – one that should be public and the other that can remain primate but serves for further validation of the owner’s data.
Can you hide WHOIS information?
Yes, there is a way to hide WHOIS information. Many registrars offer it as an extra service for additional cost. You need to provide the domain name’s owner data or company’s data, but it became masked with the name “Primate WHOIS” and a random email address.