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July 17, 2019

How a WHOIS Database Can Shed Light on Internet Anonymity

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Have you ever given thought as to just how vast the Internet has become nowadays? There are countless websites that come and go, talking about one thing or another, that makes it difficult to distinguish what’s real and what’s not. 

But thanks to ICANN (or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), every newly registered domain will leave its own digital footprint that is then kept safe in records stored in a WHOIS database. Each of these records basically tells you who owns a certain website and what organization he belongs to.

In essence, WHOIS data enhances domain registration accountability, allowing almost anyone to dispel the anonymity that plagues the World Wide Web.

The Value of WHOIS Data

Without information collected at the time a domain is registered, the Internet would be even more enigmatic than it already is. The public won’t be able to find out the real individual in charge of a domain and there would be no clear, accessible way to do so. WHOIS has become quite a valuable resource for professionals in various industries as it enables many legitimate operations such as:

  • Determining whether a given domain name is available for purchase or not
  • Getting in touch with network administrators to resolve technical concerns on networks that are associated with a domain
  • Diagnosing registration problems to fix ownership issues like those related to creation and expiration dates, along with the domain’s registrar
  • Confirming the real-world identity of an online merchant by looking into its business location and contact information
  • Notifying domain name registrants of their obligation to maintain accurate registration details at all times
  • Contacting a domain owner on matters regarding the protection and preservation of intellectual property rights
  • Collecting investigative leads, especially if you are part of a law enforcement agency that is trying to track down cybercriminals and put a stop to their operations
  • Examining logs that may indicate spamming activity when identifying the perpetrators behind the scheme

What makes WHOIS data great is that it is readily available for use. The records stored in a WHOIS database contains the necessary details to find out who is responsible for a registered domain.

Concerning WHOIS Privacy-Protected Websites

You may have heard by now that there are some domain owners who employ WHOIS privacy services to keep their personal information away from the public eye. Rather than reveal their confidential data, the details of their registrar are displayed instead, which makes this technique semi-private at best.

Utilizing this sort of domain service doesn’t guarantee someone from staying hidden on the Web though. This is especially true when a website is being tracked for illegal activities. Local and international law enforcement agencies are able to force domain registrars to provide them with one’s true identity—allowing them to gain potential leads and continue their investigation.

For those without proper authorization such as a court order, it’s still possible to learn who owns a domain using tools like WHOIS History API. This program can be especially helpful to IT security professionals when it comes to revealing facts about suspicious-looking websites. For instance, potentially malicious websites that are seemingly inactive can still be analyzed for historical domain ownership details that can lead back to certain IP addresses. You can read more about how they use WHOIS information here.

The information made available by a WHOIS database plays a truly important role in many fields today. It can be used as a basis for network administrators, registrars, businesses, law enforcement agents, brand agents, security professionals, and more to get as much detail on domain ownership. Online merchants, for example, can stay updated on the latest market changes and developments that could affect their company in the coming months.

By taking advantage of a WHOIS database download service, users can do more within their industries, ultimately contributing to the maintenance of a healthy Internet ecosystem.


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Alex Francois is Senior Content Manager at www.ipify.org. He is knowledgeable about technologies that permit tracking IP addresses and other relevant data to ensure better cybersecurity protection and marketing campaigns.

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