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WHOIS domain lookup - FAQ
What is WHOIS?
WHOIS is a protocol that is used to search various databases for specific types of information related to the internet. When one speaks of WHOIS data, this usually refers to information about a domain name's status and contacts that is stored in the database of the registry in charge of its zone (such as .com, .org) as well as by the registrar where the domain is currently managed.
Gandi's WHOIS lookup service is a free tool that lets you search all these databases for domain information at once.
How do I use Gandi's WHOIS lookup?
While there exist several ways to search WHOIS data, we have provided you with a lookup tool that is easy to use. All you need to do is enter the domain name you are searching for (like example.com) in our WHOIS search engine, and we do the rest!
Our WHOIS lookup tool will then display the *public WHOIS data* that corresponds to the domain name you searched for. This information typically contains data about the domain's status, dates, and nameservers, though it may also display some contact information within the boundaries of what is allowed by GDPR compliance (learn more).
What domain data can I get from Gandi's WHOIS Lookup?
The data returned from Gandi's WHOIS lookup tool depends on a couple of factors:
- The *extension* of the domain name you searched for. Depending on the extension (such as .com, .de, .co.uk) the registry in charge of its respective zones may disclose different information depending on their policy. This is because there is not one database containing all the WHOIS data, but many (each registry manages their own database).
- The use of WHOIS privacy by the domain's contacts (learn more about WHOIS privacy at Gandi) which allows hiding some contact information from the public.
Gandi's WHOIS lookup service is *GDRP* compliant (learn more), and so the data we present is limited by the bounds of this European regulation. Depending on the above factors, information that may be returned by Gandi's WHOIS lookup tool includes, but may not be limited to, a domain's: availability, status, registrar, reseller, creation and expiration dates, registrant and contact information, nameservers, DNSSEC status, etc.
How does WHOIS work?
During the registration of a domain name, the customer provides the registrar (directly or through a reseller) with their full and complete contact information, notably their full name (and/or the name of their company, association, etc.), street address, email address, phone number, etc. The registrar includes this data with the domain registration request sent to the registry, and accompanies it with technical information about the domain such as what nameservers will be used, whether or not DNSSEC is enabled, what statuses it will be assigned, etc.
The WHOIS protocol is therefore used to query the database of the registry or registrar in order to ask for current information about a specific domain name. If the domain name has been registered, and therefore exists in the database, it will return the public data on record for that domain.
What is Gandi's WHOIS privacy feature?
At Gandi, we know that keeping your personal data private is essential for your trust. This is why we have WHOIS privacy activated by default for customers who register domain names with us.
With this option (that you can disable if you want), we replace your personal data in Gandi's WHOIS data with the mention, "redacted for privacy", and only display the company name, state, and country. Note, however, that it is not available for all extensions (learn more).
In addition to keeping your personal data private in Gandi's WHOIS data, we also replace your email address in the WHOIS with an anonymized one, which will nevertheless forward mails to you so that you may be contacted as needed. In this way, you don't need to worry about spammers getting your email address from the WHOIS data!