Whenever someone registers a new domain name, their collected data is stored in a global database. This includes things like the owner's name, address, email, domain nameservers, registration/expiration date, and many more.
The WHOIS protocol (also known as Who Is) turns this database data into a human-readable format, allowing anyone to check the availability or ownership of any domain name. The current WHOIS guidelines were drafted by the Internet Society organization (ISOC) and documented in RFC 3912.
Domain registration data is often useful when tracking the name owner and getting into contact with them for a possible deal. This information is also essential when verifying domain ownership, so its accuracy is a must if you want to avoid problems down the road.
To better understand Whois searches, check out our Whois Lookup Glossary
Whois is an internet protocol that is used to identify domain ownership. It contains detailed information about both the registrar and registrant, as well as where the domain nameservers point to. This data is provided by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
There are two main Whois models that draw information from the global domain database - Thin and Thick. Both contain details about the domain creation and expiration dates, nameservers, and registrar information. The difference is that the Thick model also contains registrant information - name, organization, address, phone, and email. The whois record can also display the contact info of your administrative or technical representative for the domain.
Just as you can search the contact and admin details of any domain name, you can do a whois lookup for an IP address. The information is fetched from the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) that handles the IP in question. ICANN has no control over what information each RIR decides to display.
Keeping your registrant information up-to-date is crucial for a number of reasons - verification for a domain transfer, name ownership disputes, or keeping up with important system information. It's not uncommon to change an email, business address, and even our phone number, but we shouldn't forget what services and accounts those details are tied to. It's always safe to occasionally double-check if your owner information is properly updated, and you can do so from your domain management panel with your registrar.
Not everyone wants to keep their personal information available to the public, especially with all the cybersecurity threats looming over everyone online. This is why most domain registrars offer an additional extra called ID protection, which basically masks your registrant data, replacing it with fake details. Should you need the information public again (like in cases of a domain transfer), you can switch the option off. Depending on the provider, domain ID protection is either available for free or for a nominal fee.
Not every whois lookup will deliver accurate results - some domain owners prefer not to share this information with the world. Using a service called ID protection, they mask or replace the registrant info with fake details, effectively hiding their identity from the public. If the domain owner has decided to opt-in for ID protection, there is no way to find it except in cases where law enforcement agencies have retrieved it directly from the registrar.
If you happen to change your email, phone number, or company address - you should promptly update this information with your domain registrar. This way, you won't miss any important notifications or renewal reminders. The best thing is that even if you're unsure who your domain registrar is - you can just perform a whois lookup to gather those details.
The only thing you need to find the availability of any domain is the name in question. Simply type the domain in the ScalaHosting whois search bar, and our system will immediately tell you if the domain is available for registration or not. Additionally, you can check similar alternatives to your domain with a different extension or a slightly altered name.
The Whois database was designed to store domain ownership information as a public record, so whois searches are very much legal. Under the ICANN agreements, domain lookups are allowed for "any lawful purposes except to enable marketing or spam, or to enable high volume, automated processes to query a registrar or registry's systems, except to manage domain names."