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Getting WHOIS Server Address Directly from Registry

If you want to find out the WHOIS server for a particular TLD then in many cases you can do it with a simple DNS lookup. Just query for an SRV record for the domain _nicname._tcp.tld, like this:

~ jay$ dig +short _nicname._tcp.uk srv
0 0 43 whois.nic.uk.

The answer tells you that the WHOIS server for .uk is on port 43 (as it should be) of the server whois.nic.uk.

Many other TLDs follow this convention including .au .at .dk .fr .de .hu .ie .li .lu .nl .no .re .si .se and .ch. This list has now expanded to include .us and .biz and other registries are actively considering it. Of course for gTLDs with distributed WHOIS services there may be some problems to be overcome.

However, I hope developers pick up on this and start building it into their code. At the moment most developers tend to use a service like whois-servers.net, but this mechanism means they can get the WHOIS server address directly from the registry and so users should get a better experience.

By Jay Daley, Posting here in a personal capacity

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Michele Neylon  –  Apr 20, 2007 12:31 PM

It would help if more of the ccTLDs provided some form of CLIbased whois or at least a DAS check.

Paul Hoffman  –  Apr 22, 2007 2:55 PM

For those of us who use command-line interfaced, the “jwhois” package is a nice transparaent interface to all of the whois services. See the jwhois page for more info.

Michele Neylon  –  Apr 22, 2007 2:57 PM

Unfortunately jwhois does not work with a lot of the ccTLDs - I’ve been trying it :)

Paul Hoffman  –  Apr 22, 2007 3:16 PM

I haven’t had that problem. I’m sure that the person at

would appreciate knowing which TLDs are not working.

Paul Hoffman  –  Apr 22, 2007 3:18 PM

(Trying that again…)

I haven’t had that problem. I’m sure that the person at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) would appreciate knowing which TLDs are not working.

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