October 4, 2018
First thing first, what is WHOIS? In a nutshell, it’s a repository of data about domains and domain owners. Businesses and governmental agencies have turned to this information for purposes as diverse as cybercrime prevention, fraud investigation, marketing research, intellectual property protection, and more.
The thing with WHOIS data, however, is that it’s most valuable when integrated with a large number of domains, and manually collecting each and every registered name is very time-consuming. For that reason, several service providers have built WHOIS database download solutions for specific business goals and objectives.
The purpose of this post is to compare the key contenders in the space — WhoisXMLAPI, Domain Name Stat, Iq whois, Json WHOIS, and Domain Index — considering five vital criteria.
1. WHOIS Data Included
The first aspect you should look at when reviewing providers is the richness of data, ensuring the following is contained:
Important domain dates including registration, expiration, renewal, and ownership over time. This data is essential as it can help spot signs of malicious or fraudulent activities such as phishing and spoofing.
Registrant’s details that range from names to email addresses to phone to physical addresses. Such information is useful for various purposes like trademark protection and cybercrime investigation.
Registrar\’s details, that is the hosting service provider through which a domain name has been registered and its contact details. The ability to get in touch with registrars is vital to report malevolent activities.
It’s a draw! The WHOIS databases provided by WhoisXMLAPI, Iq whois, Domain Name Stat all contained domains’ important dates and registrants’ registrars’ details.
2. How Often WHOIS Databases Are Updated
WHOIS records are unlikely to bring much value unless they are frequently updated. Domain ownership and registration details may change overnight, and you may end up with the wrong details should you need to proceed with legal actions due to trademark infringement. Additionally, outdated information does not allow to monitor the registration of new domains by competitors or to act quickly as names of interest get available.
1. WhoisXMLAPI: Daily updates
2. Domain Index: At least every four months
3. Domain Name Stat, Json WHOIS: Regularly maintained
3. Number of Domain Names
Ask yourself how comprehensive WHOIS databases really are. You want to gain access to as many top-level domains (TLDs) as possible. Why is that? Well, you might be in the process of choosing a name for a new brand and product, and you must make sure you will not be unwillingly committing trademark infringement or that you won’t pick registered words which customers already strongly associate with other types of products and services. Moreover, from a cybersecurity standpoint, the more domain names you have in your database, the better your chances to prevent and fight cyber fraud.
It’s a draw! The WHOIS databases provided by WhoisXMLAPI, Domain Name Stat, Iq whois all contained 300 million active domain names and 5 billion records.
4. Categories of TLDs Included
It’s not only the aggregate number that counts, however. Depending on your particular industry, type of organization, or geographic location, you may want to take a closer look at the availability of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) — .com, .org, .edu, etc. — and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) — .co.uk, .jp, .de, etc. In fact, if you’re planning to operate in the educational sector, chances are you want to secure a .edu extension. Similarly, if you only intend to target a specific region or country, the corresponding ccTLD is likely to be the most relevant to you.
It’s a draw! The WHOIS databases provided by WhoisXMLAPI, Domain Name Stat, Iq whois all included the same ccTLDs and gTLDs.
5. Flexible Databases
Last but not least, do WHOIS download services provide you with enough flexibility to be used and integrated easily? For that, you need formats and extensions that different applications, programming languages, and APIs can incorporate and understand. In other words, it should be possible to quickly read and add data into systems and adjust it for various cases.
1. WhoisXMLAPI: XML, JSON, MYSQL, MYSQL dump, and CSV file types
2. Domain Name Stat, Iq whois, Json WHOIS: MYSQL, MYSQL dump, and CSV file types
3. Domain Index: MYSQL dump
Selecting the best WHOIS database download service seems like a challenge as some great options exist on the market. However, considering criteria that allow for direct comparison between the key contenders, WhoisXMLAPI is standing out in the space.
Jonathan Zhang is the founder and CEO of JsonWhois — a domain API service provider that enable cybersecurity specialists and other professionals to stay on top of whois data, monitor the historical appearance of websites, and gather social data.