Using the WHOIS Database to Contact a Domain Owner

Brief Overview of the WHOIS Datatbase

A WHOIS database contains information provided by individuals when they register websites. This information includes a person’s name, address, contact email, phone number, and other similar contact information. This information is recorded and held by a registrar. To get a deeper understanding of this process, you can visit ICANN.org.

Performing a WHOIS Search  

Individuals can search for a domain owner’s contact information after getting access to a WHOIS database download. Doing so is helpful if one is interested in the availability of a particular domain name, or if someone is interested in contacting the owner of a domain that already exists. There are a few different websites that offer WHOIS search functionality. For example, one can look up a domain name’s WHOIS information by using a database search tool such as the one provided by IQWHOIS. Simply type in the name of a website and preform a search. The search results will contain either the contact information of a domain owner or there will be no contact information displayed.

If there is no contact information displayed, then the website name is currently not registered and can be purchased. Some WHOIS search engines will display a message indicating this information and may prompt the user to purchase a website if it is available. One can alternatively use a search engine such as Google or Yahoo to find a similar website that can perform WHOIS searches. Please note that doing a WHOIS search is completely free.

Public and Private WHOIS Information

It is possible that WHOIS information is private and cannot be displayed by a search. When individuals register websites they can choose to have their contact information hidden from the public. For example, people who own Squarespace websites have the option to make their contact information private. Additionally, people who own GoDaddy websites may purchase privacy protection so that their contact information is not displayed in a WHOIS search. Thus, if one searches for a website using a WHOIS search it is very possible that the domain owner contact information may be hidden by such privacy measures.

Alternative Methods of Contacting the Domain Owner

Domain owner contact information might not be accessible through a WHOIS search due to privacy protection. If one is still interested in contacting a domain owner, the best way to do so is to search for a contact email that is listed on the website in question. If the website small scale and owned by an individual it is likely that there will be only one or more contact emails. Reaching out directly and inquiring about the contact information of the domain owner might lead to favorable results. Additionally, if the website has a phone number consider calling that number directly. In some cases a website might even have an address of an office or place of business listed in its contact section. Going directly to an office or place of business might be the best way to get accurate information.