16

I'm looking for a reliable and up-to-date list of WHOIS Servers to use in a whois script.
Since the list changes frequently, it'd be nice if there were a resource I could refer to rather than having to update the script frequently.

2
  • Why not just use GNU jwhois? It handles this for you. Jul 27, 2014 at 18:21
  • 3
    This deserves to be reopened, as there's really only one official source for this information.
    – Zenexer
    Sep 24, 2018 at 5:05

6 Answers 6

25

There are several well-known ways of locating whois servers for TLDs, the IANA database is probably the closest to what the question asks for, however there are other sources that may be more useful in practice.

From IANA (access via whois and http)

Browse http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db or search the whois database at whois.iana.org for the TLD. Each entry has a field specifying the whois server.

Example:

$ whois -h whois.iana.org com
[Querying whois.iana.org]
[whois.iana.org]
% IANA WHOIS server
% for more information on IANA, visit http://www.iana.org
% This query returned 1 object

domain:       COM

organisation: VeriSign Global Registry Services
address:      12061 Bluemont Way
address:      Reston Virginia 20190
address:      United States

contact:      administrative
name:         Registry Customer Service
organisation: VeriSign Global Registry Services
address:      12061 Bluemont Way
address:      Reston Virginia 20190
address:      United States
phone:        +1 703 925-6999
fax-no:       +1 703 948 3978
e-mail:       info@verisign-grs.com

contact:      technical
name:         Registry Customer Service
organisation: VeriSign Global Registry Services
address:      12061 Bluemont Way
address:      Reston Virginia 20190
address:      United States
phone:        +1 703 925-6999
fax-no:       +1 703 948 3978
e-mail:       info@verisign-grs.com

nserver:      A.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.5.6.30 2001:503:a83e:0:0:0:2:30
nserver:      B.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.33.14.30 2001:503:231d:0:0:0:2:30
nserver:      C.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.26.92.30
nserver:      D.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.31.80.30
nserver:      E.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.12.94.30
nserver:      F.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.35.51.30
nserver:      G.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.42.93.30
nserver:      H.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.54.112.30
nserver:      I.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.43.172.30
nserver:      J.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.48.79.30
nserver:      K.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.52.178.30
nserver:      L.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.41.162.30
nserver:      M.GTLD-SERVERS.NET 192.55.83.30
ds-rdata:     30909 8 2 E2D3C916F6DEEAC73294E8268FB5885044A833FC5459588F4A9184CFC41A5766

whois:        whois.verisign-grs.com

status:       ACTIVE
remarks:      Registration information: http://www.verisign-grs.com

created:      1985-01-01
changed:      2012-02-15
source:       IANA

$

From whois-servers.net (access via DNS)

The name tld.whois-servers.net is a CNAME to the appropriate whois-server. Somewhat unclear who actually maintains this but it seems pretty popular as it's very easy to use this with pretty much any whois client (and some clients default to using this service).

Example:

$ dig com.whois-servers.net +noall +answer

; <<>> DiG 9.9.4-P2-RedHat-9.9.4-15.P2.fc20 <<>> com.whois-servers.net +noall +answer
;; global options: +cmd
com.whois-servers.net.  600     IN      CNAME   whois.verisign-grs.com.
whois.verisign-grs.com. 5       IN      A       199.7.55.74
$

From the registry itself (access via DNS)

Many registries publish the address of their whois server in DNS directly in the relevant zone as a _nicname._tcp SRV record.

Example:

$ dig _nicname._tcp.us SRV +noall +answer

; <<>> DiG 9.9.4-P2-RedHat-9.9.4-15.P2.fc20 <<>> _nicname._tcp.us SRV +noall +answer
;; global options: +cmd
_nicname._tcp.us.       518344  IN      SRV     0 0 43 whois.nic.us.
$
1
  • whois-servers.net doesn't seem to be updated, and _nicname._tcp is not present for many TLDs.
    – IS4
    Oct 4, 2022 at 9:29
6

I regularly compile a list from IANA and PSL into a XML file including whois server, registrar, second level domains and if possible a regular expression for availabilty: https://github.com/whois-server-list/whois-server-list

5

I've been playing around with WHOIS lately and I've found that some of the publicly-available whois packages [namely CentOS's jwhois] seem to rely on pre-packaged lists of TLD WHOIS servers. While this is going to be fine for the majority of TLDs it's a problem for the explosion of esoteric gTLDs like .horse.

The 100% reliable method is to look up the TLD at IANA's WHOIS server, whois.iana.org, parse out the whois: entry, and then query that server for the domain's information. Eg:

foo@bar:~ $ echo -e "horse\r\n" | nc -i 1 whois.iana.org 43
% IANA WHOIS server
% for more information on IANA, visit http://www.iana.org
% This query returned 1 object

domain:       HORSE

[snip]

whois:        whois-dub.mm-registry.com

[snip]

Connection closed by foreign host.

And then:

foo@bar:~ $ echo -e "dord.horse\r\n" | nc -i 1 whois-dub.mm-registry.com 43
Domain Name: dord.horse
Domain ID: 1742946-MMd1
WHOIS Server: whois-dub.mm-registry.com
[snip]

If you're using this method you should be polite and cache responses from the IANA server for at least 48 hours, if not longer, as they will rarely change and IANA's servers tend to be under massive load.

4

I maintain the list of WHOIS servers for my Ruby WHOIS library at https://github.com/weppos/whois/blob/master/data/tld.json

It contains the list of all existing servers.

It doesn't contain the response when the domain is available because the Ruby library performs parsing at a different level. Also, keep in mind not all registries uses string messages to communicate the unavailability of a domain.

0
2

you can use this script to get whois servers from IANA. chreated by noys. output in JSON list of zones and whois servers.

<style>
body {
    font: normal 10px verdana, sans-serif;
    color: #333;
}
</style>

<?
$zones = array('ac','am','asia','at','be','biz','biz.ua','biz.ua','br.com','bz','cc','ch','co','co.am','co.in','co.ua','co.ua','om','com.am','com.kz','com.ua','cx','cz','de.com','eu','eu.com','firm.in','fm','gen.in','im','in','ind.in','info','io','kiev.ua','kz','la','lc','li','lt','lu','md','me','mn','mobi','ms','mx','name','net','net.am','net.in','org','org.am','org.in','org.kz','ph','pl','pp.ua','pro','pw','pw','ru','ru.com','so','su','su','su','tel','tv','tw','us','uy.com','vc','ws','xxx','za.cm','xn--p1ai');

$count = count($zones);

echo '<h1>Whois tool</h1>';

echo '<pre>
{
';

for($i=0;$i<$count;$i++) {
    $root_server = 'whois.iana.org';
    $zone = $zones[$i];
    $domain = 'nuceti75.'.$zones[$i];
    //echo "<h2>$domain - $current_domain</h2>";
    $fp = fsockopen($root_server, 43);
    if (!$fp) echo "Connection error: $root_server \r\n";
    else { 
        fputs($fp, $zone."\r\n");
        while (!feof($fp)) {
            $root_answer .= fgets($fp, 128);
        }
        preg_match("~whois:\s(.+)~i", $root_answer, $result);
        $current_server = trim($result[1]);
        fclose($fp);
    } 

    //echo "<pre>$root_answer</pre>";
    //echo "<b>Whois server for this TLD:</b> $current_server";

    $fh = fsockopen($current_server, 43);
    if (!$fh) echo "Connection error: $current_server ($zone) \r\n";
    else { 
        fputs($fh, $domain."\r\n");
        while (!feof($fh)) {
            $current_answer .= fgets($fh, 128);
        }
        fclose($fh);
    }

    //echo "<pre>$current_answer</pre>";

    echo "\"$zone\": \"$current_server\",\r\n";

    unset($root_answer);
    unset($current_answer);
    unset($result);

}

echo '
}
</pre>';

?>
1

You shouldn't need a list of these. whois(1) is smart enough to figure this out for you:

For the man page:

         By default whois constructs the name of a whois server to use
         from the top-level domain (TLD) of the supplied (single) argu-
         ment, and appending ".whois-servers.net".  This effectively
         allows a suitable whois server to be selected automatically for a
         large number of TLDs.

Whois is generally pretty reliable. I don't ever recall seeing it fail for a domain.

2
  • A number of the new TLDs are not set up; e.g. bet.whois-servers.net does not exist.
    – cmbuckley
    May 15, 2017 at 11:01
  • This feature depends on which whois client you use. Not all of them do that, for good or bad reason. whois-servers.net is still not an official service, just something done on a best effort case. Jul 12, 2018 at 20:31

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