client for the whois directory service


Get information about a domain name

$ whois []

Get information about an IP address
$ whois []

Get abuse contact for an IP address
$ whois -b []


whois [ { -h | --host } HOST ] [ { -p | --port } PORT ] [ -abBcdGHIK‐ lLmMrRx ] [ -g SOURCE:FIRST-LAST ] [ -i ATTR[,ATTR]... ] [ -s SOURCE[,SOURCE]... ] [ -T TYPE[,TYPE]... ] [ --verbose ] OBJECT whois -q KEYWORD whois -t TYPE whois -v TYPE whois --help whois --versio


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 for NIC handles or for IPv4 addresses and network names.


-h HOST, --host HOST Connect to HOST. -H Do not display the legal disclaimers some registries like to show you. -p, --port PORT Connect to PORT. -I First query and then follow its referral to the whois server authoritative for that request. This works for IP addresses, AS numbers and domains. BEWARE: this means that the IANA server will see your complete query. --verbose Be verbose. --help Display online help. --version Display client version information. Other options are flags understood by and some other RIPE-like servers: -a Also search all the mirrored databases. -b Return brief IP address ranges with abuse contact. -B Disable object filtering. (Show the e-mail addresses.) -c Return the smallest IP address range with a reference to an irt object. -d Return the reverse DNS delegation object too. -g SOURCE:FIRST-LAST Search updates from SOURCE database between FIRST and LAST up‐ date serial number. It's useful to obtain Near Real Time Mir‐ roring stream. -G Disable grouping of associated objects. -i ATTR[,ATTR]... Search objects having associated attributes. ATTR is attribute name. Attribute value is positional OBJECT argument. -K Return primary key attributes only. Exception is members attri‐ bute of set object which is always returned. Another exceptions are all attributes of objects organisation, person, and role that are never returned. -l Return the one level less specific object. -L Return all levels of less specific objects. -m Return all one level more specific objects. -M Return all levels of more specific objects. -q KEYWORD Return list of keywords supported by server. KEYWORD can be version for server version, sources for list of source data‐ bases, or types for object types. -r Disable recursive look-up for contact information. -R Disable following referrals and force showing the object from the local copy in the server. -s SOURCE[,SOURCE]... Request the server to search for objects mirrored from SOURCES. Sources are delimited by comma and the order is significant. Use -q sources option to obtain list of valid sources. -t TYPE Return the template for a object of TYPE. -T TYPE[,TYPE]... Restrict the search to objects of TYPE. Multiple types are sep‐ arated by a comma. -v TYPE Return the verbose template for a object of TYPE. -x Search for only exact match on network address prefix.


When querying the Verisign gTLDs (e.g. .com, .net...) thin registry servers for a domain the program will automatically prepend the domain keyword to only show domain records. The nameserver or registrar key‐ words must be used to show other kinds of records. When querying for IPv4 or IPv6 networks, the CIDR net‐ mask length will be automatically removed from the query string. When querying for AS numbers, the program will automat‐ ically convert the request in the appropriate format, inserting a space after the string AS. When querying for domain names and no other flags have been specified, the program will automatically add the flag -T dn. When querying for domain names and no other flags have been specified, 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, command 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 configuration 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. IDN domains must use the ACE format. 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 Encod‐ ing.




LANG When querying and English text is requested unless the LANG or LC_MESSAGES environment variables specify a Japanese locale. WHOIS_OPTIONS A list of options which will be evaluated before the ones speci‐ fied on the command line. WHOIS_SERVER This server will be queried if the program cannot guess where some kind of objects are located. If the variable does not exist then will be queried.


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 dynamic strings library.


This program closely tracks the user interface of the whois client de‐ veloped at RIPE by Ambrose Magee and others on the base of the original BSD client.


whois.conf(5) RFC 3912: WHOIS Protocol Specification RIPE Database Query Reference Manual:


Whois and this man page were written by Marco d'Itri and are licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 or higher.

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