WHOIS, who was and where

WHOIS, who was and where

What is WHOIS?

WHOIS stands for “Who is?” and is a utility used to look up information on domain names. It is also the record system that identifies who owns a domain and how to get in contact with them. Every top-level-domain (e.g. .com, .net., .me, .name) handles records differently and they have their own WHOIS servers and record formats.

Most countries also have have an organisation that regulates domain name registration and ownership; such as auDA (auda.org.au) in Australia.


Why is WHOIS needed?

WHOIS records have proven to be extremely useful and are an essential resource for maintaining the integrity of the domain name registration and website ownership.

For example, if you were needing to change your domain name provider, a quick WHOIS lookup would tell you who your current provider is; as well as where you site is pointing to and when you name needs to renewed (expiry date).

You can see WHOIS at work in our video Who Owns Your Domain Name?, which steps you through what is a domain name, how it works, and most importantly who owns yours.


A WHOIS record

Below is a result for gabbyshairdressing.com
Try yourself @ http://whois.ictaa.com.au


Domain Name.........: gabbyshairdressing.com
Registrar...........: CRAZY DOMAINS FZ-LLC
Creation Date.......: 2013-07-15 00:00:00
Expiration Date.....: 2014-07-15 00:00:00

Registrant Details..:
Registrant Name.....: BobCat Websites
First Name..........: BobCat
Last Name...........: Websites
Address Line 1......: 1 Queen Street
Address Line 2......: 
City................: Brisbane
State...............: QLD
Country.............: AU
Post Code...........: 4000
Email Address.......: [email protected]

What we can see from this is that Gabby’s domain has actually been registered to her web-designer; BobCat Websites. This can create a tricky situation if Gabby wants to move her domain or if BobCat stops trading.

To help users access records around the world, ICTAA™ has established a WHOIS service that you can access at whois.ictaa.com.au


What is a Registrant, Reseller, Registrar, Registry?

Registrant: if you own a domain, you are a Registrant. A Registrant is an individual or company that makes the purchase of, and therefore legally owns a particular domain name(s).  For example, BobCat Websites (Registrant) registers the name gabbyshairdressing.com through a Domain Provider (Reseller).

Reseller (Domain Provider): also referred to as the Domain Provider, a Reseller is a company which sells domain name registrations to the public.  Your Domain Provider, or Reseller, is the last company you paid money to for your domain name registration. Your most recent payment may have been for the renewal, transfer, or initial purchase of your domain.

Registrar: a Registrar, for example, GODADDY, is an organisation that has the authority to issue a domain name license to a Registrant.

Registry: a Registry is an organisation that manages one or more top-level domain names (TLDs). Registries create domain extensions, for example, .com or .org.  They also set the unique terms of registration and use for their TLDs, and manage them within a backend database.

What is DNS? The Domain Name System & Domain Name Servers

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and effectively functions as the phonebook of the internet. This directory system translates a memorable alphanumeric address, such as google.com, into a purely numerical IP address, such as

All domains have at least two DNS servers, which are visible through a Whois search, and appear in a format similar to NS1.DIRECTNET.COM.AU and NS1.DIRECTNET.COM.AU.  

When you type gabbyshairdressing.com into your browser, it sends a request to one of the DNS servers listed above. A response is sent back in the form of an IP address, which directs your browser to the appropriate web page. A similar process is involved in the sending and receiving of email, which also relies on DNS as a directory system.


What is the difference between a Domain Name and Top-Level Domain?

Domain name: a domain name is essentially a signpost on the Internet.  Think of it as a piece of online real estate. Every website you have ever been to and every email you have ever sent has used a domain name as its address. For example, you might visit a site located at facebook.com or send an email to [email protected]

Top Level Domain (TLD): a Top Level Domain refers to the last portion of a domain name. It is sometimes also called the domain “extension”. To distinguish between a Top-Level Domain and a domain name, let’s consider gabbyshairdressing.com. In this case, the domain name would be gabbyshairdressing.com, which falls into the Top-Level Domain category of .COM. Similarly, the domain name gabbyshairdressing.ORG would be considered a .ORG TLD.

Each TLD group is managed by a particular registry and exists as an independent product type and you may want to purchase all required TLD to protect your brand and prevent someone else registering them, for example gabbyshairdressing.com may want to consider purchasing the .COM.AU if they are planning on expanding their business into Australia in the future.

Some Common Domain Extensions (TLD)

.COM – are the most common TLD and it primary used for businesses in the USA.

.COM.AU – the AU represents Australia, these .com.au domains are used for Australia businesses and require an Australian Business Number to register them.

.ORG (and ORG.AU) – used primarily for organisations focused on social movements, cultural institutions, religious and community groups.

.NET (and .NET.AU) – used primarily for organisations involved with networking technologies such as Internet Services Providers.

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