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What is the WHOIS database?

The WHOIS domain database is a listing of all registered domains, and is regularly used for various legal purposes. Network administrators use WHOIS data to identify and fix problems. For instance, WHOIS information can be used to determine the availability of domain names, identify trademark infringement, and keep domain name registrants accountable.

WHOIS verification can even be utilized to combat spam or fraud, as administrators can track down registrants who post illegal content or participate in phishing scams. In addition, the agreements from The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) protects domain registrants by prohibiting the use of WHOIS listings for marketing or spam purposes, including high-volume, automated queries against a specific registrar or registry system (unless such queries are done with the intent to manage domain names). For more information on this, read our helpful guide to navigating WHOIS.

How can I use the WHOIS Lookup Tool?

Using the GoDaddy WHOIS domain lookup tool is easy. You can simply enter the domain name whose information you’d like to view into the search field on the WHOIS main page. You can retrieve key data about a domain in this way, including availability, ownership, creation, and expiration details. If you own multiple domains of your own, it can be helpful to download exportable lists from the tool in order to analyze large amounts of domains data. Our guide to prioritizing and valuing domain names can help you navigate how to best use and organize the information you download.

How accurate is WHOIS data?

Since registrants’ contact data can change, registrars such as GoDaddy must provide annual opportunities for domain owners to review and edit their WHOIS domain data. According to ICANN’s rules, refusing to update this information or providing false data can lead to the suspension or cancellation of domains.

In addition, ICANN allows Internet users to file complaints if they discover WHOIS domain name lookup data that is incorrect or incomplete. In such instances, registrars must correct and verify the data in a timely manner. Through this verification protocol, ICANN seeks to maintain the highest possible level of accuracy.

How do I update my WHOIS information?

It’s easy to update your WHOIS contact information in the Domain Manager of your GoDaddy account. It’s only takes a few simple steps, and you can update all your contacts at once, or just one at a time. It’s important to always keep your contact information up to date, both to comply with ICANN regulations and to make certain you’re receiving correspondence at the correct email address.

What about my privacy?

While ICANN’s agreements protect registrants from potential spam, many GoDaddy customers still express concern about their personal name, address, and phone number being so readily available online. For website owners who would prefer to keep such information private, GoDaddy offers Domain Privacy protection, so that when people do a WHOIS search on your domain, we replace your personal information with proxy information (check out the difference). When we do this, your domain name is still yours, but now people won’t be able to discover your personal information through a simple WHOIS lookup.

Furthermore, if you’re a web developer, you have an important obligation to your clients to offer them a complete sense of privacy and protection, no matter the scope of your project. We have some great tips on bolstering both privacy and security for your client base.