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WHOIS ("Who Is")

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

WHOIS is an Internet service that returns information from a directory database. It is the earliest and simplest Internet directory service. WHOIS provides search and retrieval services. The protocol was originally used to access a central NICNAME database maintained by the NIC (Network Information Center). This database contained host and network information about the systems connected to the network and the e-mail addresses of system users. RFC 954 (NICNAME/WHOIS October 1985) discusses this early system. It allowed online lookup of individuals, network organizations, host machines, and other information. If you query for a domain name, the service returns an IP address matching that domain name.

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