What is the WHOIS system?
The WHOIS system publishes ownership and contact information for domain names. This information is primarily used by network administrators to help resolve network problems.
The WHOIS system can also be used to check domain name availability, to find contact information for sites, and to investigate a domain name.
The system is governed by ICANN. Companies that sell domain names, called registrars, are required to gather information about the domain owners and to make it freely available using this system.
For a variety of reasons, the system only supports single queries. The master data files containing all ownership and contact information are no longer publicly available.
What information is available? Is it accurate?
A WHOIS record lists the domain name, the owner, and the phone number, fax number, email address, and physical address of contact person for the domain. There are often separate entries for the owner and technical contact.
The domain owners and the registrars who manage the system are required to maintain accurate contact information (see this ruling). In practice, some registrars do not enforce this rule on their registrants. There is no guarantee that data is accurate.
How does this web interface work?
There are many top-level domains and there are different registrars for each. Examples of top-level domains are "com", "net", "biz", "uk" and "ca".
This script locates the appropriate registrar for the given domain (i.e., whois.nic.mil for "af.mil", and whois.pairnic.com for "xav.com"). This script then connects to the appropriate WHOIS server, sends the domain name query as per RFC945, and displays the results.
This web-based interface (www.xav.com/scripts/axs/whois.pl) has been maintained since May 10, 2000. The script is referenced by the AXS tracking system and the Start Page script.