Whois might look like an acronym, but it’s simply a system that asks the question, "Who is the owner responsible for a domain name or IP address?"
Year after year, millions of people, from individuals to businesses, governments and organizations register domain names. When a domain name is registered, the person registering must provide contact information and something to identify them as the owner. The information provided is generally known as Whois data, held in a record within the Whois database.
We’ve mentioned that Whois is used for finding information about a domain's registration. The amount of information available in a record will depend on the type of TLD or ccTLD, and the registrar of the domain. For example, the .au domain provides limited information (the registrar name, the name and email of the registrant, domain status, and name servers) whereas many other registries, including .com, .org, and .net, provide full contact details, including domain registration and expiration dates, as well as the registrant’s name, domain status, and nameservers.
Breakdown of a Whois Record
As we’ve discussed, Whois records vary from registrar to registrar, but they all share mandatory information provided during registration, including:
The central registry information
This shows the domain name, plus the company it was registered plus a link to their Whois server, nameservers, the status of the domain, and creation/expiration dates. Once you’ve got this information, the Whois client connects to the registrar's servers to locate the queried domain names contact information.
Includes contact information. This needs to be kept up to date, in the event of any problems regarding domain ownership, which will require that the details of a domain names ownership details be accurate so it can be resolved.
Whois records have proven themselves to very useful. They've become integral to the integrity of the process of domain name registration and site ownership.