27 August 2018

In today’s blog, we’re going to give a rundown on what web-based .au WHOIS Lookup is and why and how you might use it. In case you're wondering about the term, WHOIS literally tells you ‘who is’ the owner of a domain name.

In short, WHOIS Lookup allows you to search a .au domain name and access information about the registration. This service is available for most TLDs in the world and aims to foster transparency and efficiency in the domain name industry. That said, WHOIS policies differ between namespaces. The full .au WHOIS policy can be found on the auDA website.

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll only discuss the web-based lookup service and not the Port 43 service which we’ll save for another time.  We’ll also focus on the com.au and net.au spaces, although the below applies to any WHOIS lookup.

How do you perform a WHOIS Lookup?

  1. Visit the .au WHOIS Lookup tool.
  2. Enter the .au domain name you wish to check, and the control text.
  3. Click submit.

If the domain is registered, it will deliver a result as per the screenshot below. If the domain name is not registered, it will come back with the text NOT FOUND. (If you just want to check availability, you can use our domain availability check tool.)

What is the WHOIS Lookup tool used for?

WHOIS data is primarily needed by registrants, prospective registrants, intellectual property protectors who are investigating suspected infringement, and law enforcement agencies. There are three primary data elements that are of particular interest to these parties:

Registrant Contact Information

As you can see in the screenshot above, WHOIS data contains the name and contact details for the domain registrant. This may be the business owner, an employee, or their IT service provider. The record must contain an email address so relevant parties can contact the registrant. As it’s an eligibility criteria for .com.au and .net.au domains, the record will display the registrant’s ABN/ACN number. Other details are recorded for the other .au domain extensions.

Registrar & Abuse Contact Details

The WHOIS record lists the registrar name and their abuse contact details which can be contacted in the event abuse needs to be reported, e.g. spam, cyber attacks, etc.

Domain Name Status

The current status of the domain is displayed in the WHOIS data. The standard status, as per the .au domain lifecycle, for a domain that is registered and outside of the 90 day renewal period is serverRenewProhibited. However, a record may hold several status codes including one or more ‘prohibited’ codes that indicate the domain name has been locked at the registry-level as a means of increased security. (More on .au Registry Lock in a future blog.)

The WHOIS record may show other information including the associated name servers, technical contact details, and eligibility type.

Have a question or want to suggest a topic for us to cover? Email us at transformationblog@afilias.com.au.

More information on Afilias plc is located at www.afilias.info.

Posted in Blog