I've been doing system administration for a couple of decades and my understanding has always been that:

  • whois was allocated as part of domain registration (obviously not all TLDs have whois, but for those that do)
  • part of domain registration is creating NS records for a domain

But I've recently found a domain/hostname that has whois, but no NS records (or A records or anything else):


$ whois somedomain.nsw.gov.au
Domain Name:                     somedomain.nsw.gov.au
Last Modified:                   02-Mar-2017 05:39:32 UTC
Status:                          ok
Registrar Name:                  Digital Transformation Office

No NS records:

host -t NS somedomain.nsw.gov.au
Host somedomain.nsw.gov.au not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

No A records:

$ host somedomain.nsw.gov.au
Host somedomain.nsw.gov.au not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

Is this valid? How common is this?

  • 5
    There is actually no connection between Whois information which is held in Whois database and DNS records, which are in DNS. So, it is perfectly valid. – Tero Kilkanen Mar 23 '17 at 14:43

Your second assumption is wrong:

part of domain registration is creating NS records for a domain

Domain registration is "just" creating a domain name "object" in the registry database. It shows that at such time such person created such name under such TLD. It can be for purely defensive reasons (without any use), so the fact of registering it may not mean automatically that is needs to resolve.

Also domain names can be in "hold" state (for various reasons, both by action from registrar or registry), which means that it exists in database, that is has nameserver associated (or not) but it is explicitely not published through DNS (hence the domain name does not technically work, but is still registered)

BTW your diagnostics are incomplete, it could have AAAA records :-)

  • The other thing is somebody could have registered it for protection but are only using it internally where you don't have access to the DNS. – Rowan Hawkins Mar 24 '17 at 15:18

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