[dns-operations] Official WHOIS redirector for TLDs

Kim Davies kim.davies at icann.org
Wed Mar 19 17:57:43 UTC 2014

On Mar 19, 2014, at 10:30 AM, Florian Weimer <fw at deneb.enyo.de> wrote:

> Is there are offical, documented WHOIS redirector for TLDs with some
> long-term interface stability.  WHOIS.IANA.ORG might do the job, but I
> couldn't find official documentation pointing to it.

The WHOIS server at whois.iana.org will return a key-value pair of "refer" and a referral WHOIS server when you ask for a resource it knows about, but it is not returning the most specific answer for, and has knowledge of a more specific WHOIS server that should be able to service the query.

As an example, attached is a config file for jwhois that has been slightly modified to fallback to these referrals. (This is a minimal change patch, but the config has the potential to be greatly simplified further because whois.iana.org provides referrals for IPv4, IPv6, AS number blocks, etc. as well)

We don't have formal documentation of the service, but you can find a blog post we made explaining the functionality at http://blog.icann.org/2010/05/test-iana-whois/

Regarding interface stability, while we have no formal commitments in this area, we have no intention to change the current format (in the sense of parsing the output) and only potentially add new fields to it in the future.

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