WHOIS(1) BSD General Commands Manual WHOIS(1)
whois -- Internet domain name and network number directory service
whois [-aAdgilmQrR6] [-c country-code | -h host] [-p port] name ...
The whois utility looks up records in the databases maintained by several Network Informa-
tion Centers (NICs).
The options are as follows:
-a Use the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) database. It contains network
numbers used in those parts of the world covered neither by APNIC nor by RIPE.
(Hint: All point of contact handles in the ARIN whois database end with "-ARIN".)
-A Use the Asia/Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) database. It contains net-
work numbers used in East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands.
This is the equivalent of using the -h option with an argument of
-d Use the US Department of Defense database. It contains points of contact for subdo-
mains of .MIL.
-g Use the US non-military federal government database, which contains points of con-
tact for subdomains of .GOV.
Use the specified host instead of the default variant. Either a host name or an IP
address may be specified.
By default whois constructs the name of a whois server to use from the top-level
domain (TLD) of the supplied (single) argument, and appending ".whois-servers.net".
This effectively allows a suitable whois server to be selected automatically for a
large number of TLDs.
In the event that an IP address is specified, the whois server will default to the
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). If a query to ARIN references APNIC,
LACNIC, or RIPE, that server will be queried also, provided that the -Q option is
If the query is not a domain name or IP address, whois will fall back to
-i Use the Network Solutions Registry for Internet Numbers (whois.networksolutions.com)
database. It contains network numbers and domain contact information for most of
.COM, .NET, .ORG and .EDU domains.
NOTE! The registration of these domains is now done by a number of independent and
competing registrars and this database holds no information on the domains regis-
tered by organizations other than Network Solutions, Inc. Also, note that the
InterNIC database (whois.internic.net) is no longer handled by Network Solutions,
Inc. For details, see http://www.internic.net/.
(Hint: Contact information, identified by the term handle, can be looked up by pre-
fixing "handle " to the NIC handle in the query.)
-l Use the Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional Registry (LACNIC) database.
It contains network numbers used in much of Latin America and the Caribbean.
-m Use the Route Arbiter Database (RADB) database. It contains route policy specifica-
tions for a large number of operators' networks.
Connect to the whois server on port. If this option is not specified, whois
defaults to port 43.
-Q Do a quick lookup. This means that whois will not attempt to lookup the name in the
authoritative whois server (if one is listed). This option has no effect when com-
bined with any other options.
-r Use the R'eseaux IP Europ'eens (RIPE) database. It contains network numbers and
domain contact information for Europe.
-R Use the Russia Network Information Center (RIPN) database. It contains network num-
bers and domain contact information for subdomains of .RU. This option is depre-
cated; use the -c option with an argument of "RU" instead.
-6 Use the IPv6 Resource Center (6bone) database. It contains network names and
addresses for the IPv6 network.
The operands specified to whois are treated independently and may be used as queries on dif-
ferent whois servers.
Most types of data, such as domain names and IP addresses, can be used as arguments to whois
without any options, and whois will choose the correct whois server to query. Some excep-
tions, where whois will not be able to handle data correctly, are detailed below.
To obtain contact information about an administrator located in the Russian TLD domain "RU",
use the -c option as shown in the following example, where CONTACT-ID is substituted with
the actual contact identifier.
whois -c RU CONTACT-ID
(Note: This example is specific to the TLD "RU", but other TLDs can be queried by using a
The following example demonstrates how to obtain information about an IPv6 address or host-
name using the -6 option, which directs the query to 6bone.
whois -6 IPv6-IP-Address
The following example demonstrates how to query a whois server using a non-standard port,
where ``query-data'' is the query to be sent to ``whois.example.com'' on port ``rwhois''
(written numerically as 4321).
whois -h whois.example.com -p rwhois query-data
Ken Harrenstien and Vic White, NICNAME/WHOIS, 1 March 1982, RFC 812.
The whois command appeared in 4.3BSD.
BSD December 15, 2001 BSD