When you register a domain, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires publication of your name, company name, address, phone and other information in what’s called the WHOIS database. This large directory, which contains all of this information for every domain and its registrant, is free and open to the public. Enter any domain in the search box to find out who owns it.
The WHOIS database can tell you if a domain you’re interested in is available. If it already belongs to someone, you can use the information provided in the database to contact them to discuss a purchase. If you own a domain yourself, be sure to let your registrar know of any changes in your contact information. Not only is this important in case someone wants to make an offer on your domain name, it’s also required by ICANN.
And while it’s true that scammers search WHOIS for information to use in spamming, website hacking and identity theft, ICANN has policies to help reduce spam. Plus, your registrar may have individual domain protection options that would hide your information.
If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), due to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), beginning 25 May 2018, we will no longer display your Name, Street Address, Phone Number and E-mail in the WHOIS. Your Country and Province/State (as well as Technical data such as the Registar name, Creation Date, or Name Servers) will continue to be displayed.
The WHOIS domain database is a listing of all registered domains, and is regularly used for various legal purposes. Network administrators use WHOIS data to identify and fix problems. For instance, WHOIS information can be used to determine the availability of domain names, identify trademark infringement, and keep domain name registrants accountable.
WHOIS verification can even be utilized to combat spam or fraud, as administrators can track down registrants who post illegal content or participate in phishing scams. In addition, the agreements from The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) protects domain registrants by prohibiting the use of WHOIS listings for marketing or spam purposes, including high-volume, automated queries against a specific registrar or registry system (unless such queries are done with the intent to manage domain names). For more information on this, read our helpful guide to navigating WHOIS.
Since registrants’ contact data can change, registrars such as GoDaddy must provide annual opportunities for domain owners to review and edit their WHOIS domain data. According to ICANN’s rules, refusing to update this information or providing false data can lead to the suspension or cancellation of domains.
In addition, ICANN allows Internet users to file complaints if they discover WHOIS domain name lookup data that is incorrect or incomplete. In such instances, registrars must correct and verify the data in a timely manner. Through this verification protocol, ICANN seeks to maintain the highest possible level of accuracy.
It’s easy to update your WHOIS contact information in the Domain Manager of your HostBrook account. It’s only takes a few simple steps, and you can update all your contacts at once, or just one at a time. It’s important to always keep your contact information up to date, both to comply with ICANN regulations and to make certain you’re receiving correspondence at the correct email address.