WhoIs information is regarded as being the information listed as contact details of the owner of a domain name, and is normally the first point of call for someone who wants to find out who the owner is of a domain in particular. When you register a domain name you are asked to enter your contact details – these contact details then become the basis of the whois information for your domain name. There are different types of contact that can be added to a domain name whois record, meaning that you can have different contacts for different purposes under your domain name whois information.
Of course, some people don’t want their contact details to be in the public domain meaning that some domain registrars and web hosting providers do allow you to purchase a domain whois protection policy which will allow you to use the contact information of your domain registrar or web hosting provider in your domain’s whois record instead of your own. Whois information is important since it serves as an official record of domain ownership, and if the contact information provided is incorrect then domain registrars, web hosting providers and TLD controlling bodies have the right to suspend a domain name from operation.
Domain names serve as the base of any website since along with DNS servers, a domain name is used as a contact point for users who want to visit a website that is hosted under a particular domain name or want to send emails to a particular domain. Although webmasters can purchase dedicated IP addresses which can be used instead of domain names to a certain extent, it is important for users to be able to use a memorable alphanumeric sequence which will allow them access to a website. Domain names provide users with this solution therefore allowing them to have access a website and all its related services and servers.
The main body of whois information on a domain name includes the name, address and contact number of the sole registrant. In some cases an email address is also required so that users wishing to contact the owner of the domain name can do so using email. Although such information may be confidential to some, it is important for those who may wish to contact a website owner for example on the grounds of copyright theft in terms of a website.
There are different types of contact available for any domain name, each of which has a specific purpose outlined in the whois information. The main types may include:
- registrant contact – these are the contact details for the owner of the domain, and are normally the first to be listed and used by anyone wishing to contact those who are associated with the domain name concerned
- administration contact – there may be someone different managing a domain name than the actual owner, therefore meaning that the administration contact is the person listed as managing the domain name concerned
- technical contact – there are technical sides to domain names, therefore meaning that there needs to be someone who knows what they are doing listed in the whois information – the technical contact is normally the person who overlooks the management of a domains DNS records.
If you don’t want your own contact information to be shared with the public for one reason or another, then domain protection policies can be puchased from web hosting providers or domain name registrars along with domain names themselves. Domain protection policies replace the whois information of a domain name with the contact information of the business that you purchased the protection policy from, ensuring that your contact information doesn’t get anywhere near being publicly accessible.
Although some may see whois information as being unnecessary, it can be useful in certain situations where the owner of a domain name needs to be contacted. Such situations may occur if a website hosted under a certain domian name has copied the content of another site; in this case the whois information of the domain concerned can be used to issue a DCMA to the owner of the domain name to force them to take down the copied information from their website.
In conclusion, whois information is the information provided by domain owners to ensure that they can be contacted about their domain names. Protection is available if you wish for your information to kept secret, but in the large part a majority of users choose to keep their information public so that if the situation arises they are able to prove that they are the legal owner of the domain name concerned.