Linux 2.6 - man page for whois (linux section 1)
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WHOIS(1) Debian GNU/Linux WHOIS(1)
whois - client for the whois directory service
whois [ -h HOST ] [ -p PORT ] [ -aCFHlLMmrRSVx ] [ -g SOURCE:FIRST-LAST ] [ -i ATTR ]
[ -S SOURCE ] [ -T TYPE ] object
whois [ -t ] [ -v ] template whois [ -q ] keyword
whois searches for an object in a RFC 3912 database.
This version of the whois client tries to guess the right server to ask for the specified
object. If no guess can be made it will connect to whois.networksolutions.com for NIC han-
dles or whois.arin.net for IPv4 addresses and network names.
-h HOST Connect to HOST.
-H Do not display the legal disclaimers some registries like to show you.
-p PORT Connect to PORT.
--help Display online help.
Other options are flags understood by RIPE-like servers.
Please remember that whois.networksolutions.com by default will only search in the domains
database. If you want to search for NIC handles you have to prepend a ! character. When
you do this, the default server becomes whois.networksolutions.com.
When querying whois.arin.net for IPv4 or IPv6 networks, the CIDR netmask length will be
automatically removed from the query string.
When querying whois.nic.ad.jp for AS numbers, the program will automatically convert the
request in the appropriate format, inserting a space after the string AS.
When querying whois.denic.de for domain names and no other flags have been specified, the
program will automatically add the flag -T dn.
When querying whois.dk-hostmaster.dk for domain names and no other flags have been speci-
fied, the program will automatically add the flag --show-handles.
RIPE-specific command line options are ignored when querying non-RIPE servers. This may or
may not be the behaviour intended by the user. When querying a non-standard server, com-
mand line options which are not to be interpreted by the client should always follow the
-- separator (which marks the beginning of the query string).
If the /etc/whois.conf config file exists, it will be consulted to find a server before
applying the normal rules. Each line of the file should contain a regular expression to be
matched against the query text and the whois server to use, separated by white space.
The whois protocol does not specify an encoding for characters which cannot be represented
by ASCII and implementations vary wildly. If the program knows that a specific server
uses a certain encoding, if needed it will transcode the server output to the encoding
specified by the current system locale.
Command line arguments will always be interpreted accordingly to the current system locale
and converted to the IDN ASCII Compatible Encoding.
LANG When querying whois.nic.ad.jp and whois.jprs.jp english text is requested unless
the LANG or LC_MESSAGES environment variables specify a Japanese locale.
A list of options which will be evalued before the ones specified on the command
This server will be queried if the program cannot guess where some kind of objects
are located. If the variable does not exist then whois.arin.net will be queried.
RFC 3912: WHOIS Protocol Specification
RIPE-223: RIPE NCC Database Documentation
Detailed help on available flags can be found in RIPE-223 or in the help file which can be
obtained with the command:
whois -h whois.ripe.net HELP
The program may have buffer overflows in the command line parser: be sure to not pass
untrusted data to it. It should be rewritten to use a dynamics strings library.
This program closely tracks the user interface of the whois client developed at RIPE by
Ambrose Magee and others on the base of the original BSD client. I also added support for
the protocol extensions developed by David Kessens of QWest for the 6bone server.
Whois and this man page were written by Marco d'Itri <email@example.com> and are licensed under
the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 or higher.
Marco d'Itri 20 December 2009 WHOIS(1)
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