WHOIS is the name of search tool that lets you find the certain information, and is publicly accessible.  When you create a website, you register a domain name. Once you register the domain name, ICANN requires you to list down that information in a public database. It is the information available to anyone who uses WHOIS protocol, and anyone can look up the owner of that domain name. WHOIS database requires mailing address, contact number, and email address of domain owner, which is publicly available.

It is pre-requisite requirement by ICANN to include genuine and accurate information on database. They influence registrars to take reasonable step or expel any customer who lists down inaccurate ownership details in the database. As a domain owner, you need to fill correct ownership details for domain you want to register.  Moreover, ICANN also provides an option of WHOIS inaccuracy complaint form. It allows internet users to submit reports to ICANN-accredited registrars regarding incomplete or inaccurate WHOIS data. They analyze each report submitted to them. And, then they take action after report status is deemed valid or either invalid.

WHOIS search tool holds the relevant information about a domain name. People use WHOIS Lookups to see the ownership, registrar information or contact details for a domain name. The record usually includes name of registrar, domain name, contact information of registrant, name servers and dates of domain registration and expiration. It is also used by network controllers to troubleshoot naming issues and Internet addressing. But, the record can also be misused by spammers and hackers to collect information to spam or attacking on the network. The good thing about WHOIS database is you can make an immediate change to your domain registration, like edits to name server(s) and information related to registrar.

WHOIS database is like an international directory of all domain names. Whenever you start the domain registration procedure with DreamHost, that domain is first searched in WHOIS database to check its availability. WHOIS lookups provide their services free of cost. There are a lot of free WHOIS search tools. One of them is Tucows.

 Some other uses of WHOIS database are:

  • Regulates the availability of a domain name
  • Correspond the registrar, if any copyright violations happen
  • Identify the stress involve in registration
  • Establish the real-world name and whereabouts of online dealer
  • Look into spam websites

 Additional Reading:  Some Points on Domain Registration and Web Hosting You Should Consider