The WHOIS Data and Database
The WHOIS data was created to be accessible to the public. The database contains the contact person and details for the owners of all domain names including the name server data. Registering a domain name means the data is automatically registered in the WHOIS database. The owner of a specific domain name can be found using this database. Abuses are prevented with restrictions. Only one domain name can be retrieved each second and 100 each hour. The visitors must agree the site will not be used for commercial purposes. The WHOIS database download can also be consulted using the websites of the registry.
The Specifics of Public WHOIS
A protocol was published by the Internet Engineering Task Force in 1972 to create a user directory for the ARPANET. This eventually became the internet. Everyone requesting data to be sent over the network was listed in this directory. The current purpose of the WHOIS system is to provide the information for the responsible party for IP addresses and domains. A domain cannot be registered without a public record regarding the organization or person responsible for the registration referred to as the registrant. The record includes the domain registrant’s name, email address, telephone number and address.
The WHOIS Directory
Ensuring the information contained in the WHOIS directory is available to the public is important. This helps ensure domain owners are held accountable. If a domain is being used for an illegal or questionable purpose, the accessible record of WHOIS data will reveal the guilty party. Consumers are also provided with a way to find the website owner’s contact information.
Unfortunately, sometime the reason an individual wants the contact information for the domain owner is not pleasant. Often this involves spammers intending to fill emails with spam, and identity thieves. These individuals search for domain names on any public WHOIS website enabling information to be found. These individuals find their potential targets even easier by using services that look out for and list all new domain registrations.
To combat the negative occurrences regarding published private information, the majority of registrars make an optional WHOIS privacy service available. This type of service enables the registrar to serve the registrant as a proxy.
The WHOIS directory publishes the contact information of the proxy contact to ensure the information for the registrant remains private. It is a good idea to purchase this type of service when the domain is registered. This eliminates the possibility of the information being cached or indexed by any search engine or WHOIS look-up website. Once the domain purchase has been registered, this service can be purchased. It is important to understand not all domain types are eligible for this type of service. The .US domain does not allow a proxy to be used by the registrant. Privacy services are provided by .CA and .UK. If no privacy service is available when the domain is purchased, chances are there is an alternative service or a proxy is not allowed.