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An Internet directory service for looking up names of people on a remote server. Many servers respond to TCP queries on port 43, in a manner roughly analogous to the DDN NIC whois service described in RFC 954. Other sites provide this directory service via the finger protocol or accept queries by electronic mail for directory information. On Unix the client command is

whois -h server_name person_name

You can also type "telnet server_name 43" and then type the person's name on a separate line. For a list of whois servers, FTP/Gopher: sipb.mit.edu. Or

whois -h sipb.mit.edu whois-servers

As the above command demonstrates, whois can find information about things other than users, e.g. domains, networks and hosts.

See also finger, X.500, white pages.


Before the Web, Whois was strictly an Internet service used to query a host and find out if a certain user was registered on that system. Originally developed by the military, others followed with their own Whois databases, which provide white pages directories. See finger.

Directory of Domain Names
Whois databases have become the master directories for domain name registrations. When a new domain is added or changed, the information is sent to the appropriate Whois database. Domain name registrars may provide a search function on their sites that can access various or all of the Whois databases. Following are examples of websites that provide information from the Whois databases:






  www.FreeWho.com (tracks Whois sites)

  www.TekTips.us (tracks Whois sites)
References in periodicals archive ?
After testing many other providers in this space, we found that Digital Element's NetAcuity Edge technology has the best match rate and the most reliable, granular data for real-time IP address lookup.
British English, Current Local Time, Domain WHOIS Lookup, Email Address Verifier, Foreign Exchange Rates, Free Online Translators, Global Shipping Rates, International Shipment Tracking, IP Address Lookup, Measurement Converter (including Area Conversion, Capacity and Volume Conversion, Convertisseur poids-masse, Distance and Length conversion, Energy Conversion, Power Conversion, Stress and Pressure Conversion, and temperature Conversion), Area Codes Locator, Scientific Calculator, Time Zone Converter, Train Timetable, Zip Code Lookup, and QR Code Generator.
They cover the architecture of the present and future Internet, IP address lookup, packet classification (including geometric algorithms), traffic management (including differentiated service and packet scheduling), basics of packet switching, shared-memory switches, input-buffered switches, Banyan-based switches, knockout-based switches, the abacus switch, crosspoint-buffered switches, CLOS-network switches, multi-plane buffered switches, load-balanced switches, optical packet switches, and the high-speed router chip set.