whois -- Internet domain name directory service


whois [ -h host ] [ keyword ] name ...


The whois command is used to look up records in the InterNIC registry database. It can provide information about domains, nameservers, and registrars.

Enter a string to search the database. By default, whois performs a very broad search, looking in all record types for matches to your query in these fields: domain name, nameserver name, nameserver IP address, and registrar names. You can use keywords to narrow the search.

You can specify only part of the search string to perform a "partial" search on domain. Every domain starting with the string will be found. A trailing dot (or dots) after your text or the pa(rtial) keyword indicates a partial search. For example, entering mack. will find "Mack", "Mackall", "Mackay", and so on.

The -h option directs the name directory search to the database at host. The default is

The following keywords restrict a search to a certain type of field in the database:

Find a domain record: domain name, registrar name, whois server and URL, Nameserver name and IP Addresses, and updated date. For example:

whois domain

Find nameserver records: nameserver name, registrar name, IP addresses, Whois Server name and URL. For example:

whois nameserver

Find registrar records: Registrar name, mail address, phone number and contact information. For example:

whois registrar Network Solutions, Inc.

These keywords control the display of search results:

exp(and) or =
Always expand the long display for a single match to include all the subdisplays.

Never show subdisplays. This is the opposite of = or expand.

Full or =
Gives long display for every matching record.

Always show a summary line for each match, even if there is only one.

The help keyword produces a detailed message about searching the database.

NOTE: RFC 954 specified a server that was intended to deliver name and contact information for Defense Department Network (DDN) users who were registered in the DDN Network Information Center (NIC) database. RFC 1400 describes the transition of registration services to the InterNIC ( Although whois previously provided user information, it now provides domain name information only.

See also, whois help, RFC 954, RFC 1400.

Standards conformance

whois is conformant with RFC 954 and RFC 1400.
© 2005 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 6.0.0 -- 02 June 2005