WHOIS basic instructions

Introduction

The .uk WHOIS is a service that you can use to check whether or not a .uk domain name has been registered.  If the domain name you search for has already been registered, the WHOIS will provide information about the company or individual who registered it.

Nominet provides this service as we operate a publicly-available registry on behalf of all Internet users. For the benefit of the whole community information released via the WHOIS and other methods is very important. The WHOIS makes it easier to find out who is behind a domain name and helps build more confidence in the use of the Internet.

The WHOIS is available to everyone (subject to the terms of use) and shows the name of the registrant and their address, as held on our register.  This is a view of a register, showing who is the registrant of a domain name, not a directory to allow you to contact them via email.  Therefore the WHOIS does not give email addresses of users, nor does it disclose fax or phone numbers.  It is not possible to use the WHOIS to find out who owns a particular email address.

If you are a 'consumer' (i.e. an individual who has registered and is using the domain name for a purpose that is not connected with business) it is possible to opt out of having your address details published on the WHOIS.

Accessing the WHOIS

You can access the WHOIS service from the front page of our website.  Enter the domain name you wish to check in the WHOIS search box and click on 'look up'.  Do not enter 'www' in front of the domain name, and ensure you put in the whole of the domain name e.g. 'nominet.org.uk'

The WHOIS searches the register database for the domain name and then returns a message with information about the domain name you searched for.

You can also access the WHOIS directly on port 43, as described in the detailed instructions.

Responses from WHOIS
There are a number of different responses you may receive, depending on the situation.

Domain name is already registered
If the domain name is already registered the response will look like this:

Domain name:                    [This is the domain name you are searching for]

Registrant:                     [This is the legal entity who has registered the domain name]

Trading as:                     [If the registrant has a separate trading name it will appear here]

Registrant type:                [This shows whether the registrant is an individual, company, or other type of organisation, together with any company number or organisation number]
     
Registrant's address:           [The registrant's address will appear here, or an appropriate message if the registrant has opted out of having their address published on the WHOIS]

Service address:                [The address for service will appear here for second level .uk domains where the registrant’s address is outside of the UK]

Data validation:                [The validation status of the registrant's name and address data will appear here]

Registered through:             [If the domain name has been registered through an agent (reseller) associated with the registrar, and the registrar has provided us with those details, then they will appear here, together with their web site address.] 
    
Registrar:                      [This is the name of the company who has made the registration, together with their tag name and their website address]
     
Relevant dates:         
    Registered on:              [The date the domain name was registered]
    Renewal date:               [The date the domain name is next due for renewal]
    Last updated:               [The date the domain name was last updated]

Registration status:            [This is the current registration status of the domain name]

Name servers listed in order:   [The name servers for the domain name are listed here]

DNSSEC:                         [Domains that have been digitally signed using DNSSEC will by displayed as "Signed". This field will be omitted when the domain is not signed]
     
WHOIS lookup made at:           [This is the time and date the search was made, in the format hh:mm:ss dd-mm-yyyy] -- [copyright text]
  • The 'Trading as' section will only appear if the registrant is a legal entity with a separate trading name
  • In the 'Registrant type' section, everything after the first comma is only displayed if the type has an associated number (eg. Registered company number, registered charity number or registered school number)
  • 'Registered through:' will only be displayed if the registrar has associated a domain name with a reseller
  • In some cases there is no registrar, so the 'Registrar' section will display either:
No agent listed.  This domain is registered directly with Nominet.

Or

No agent listed.

The 'registrant address' section may display the following if the registrant is an individual who has opted out of the Nominet WHOIS:

The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their  
address omitted from the WHOIS service.

Find more information about opting out of the WHOIS.


Domain name is not found
If the domain name you searched is syntactically correct, a .uk domain name and conforms to the rules for domain names, but is not found the following will be displayed:

No match for "<domain name>".     
This domain name has not been registered. 
WHOIS lookup made at <hh:mm:ss dd-mm-yy> -- [copyright text]

.UK response showing rights

From 10 June 2014 and during the 5 year rights period, if a right exists for a .uk domain, the following output will be returned to show who has the right to the .uk domain name:

Domain name:
   <domain name>
Right of registration:
   <domain name>     
WHOIS lookup made at <hh:mm:ss dd-mm-yy> -- [copyright text]

You may also like to refer to our more detailed instructions for using the WHOIS service.