"Whois Search can Verify Websites"
While surfing the Internet, you've
probably visited the home pages of new and interesting websites that
you'd like to investigate, and possibly get the products or
information they offered - but were uncertain about the validity of
the websites, themselves.
Have you hesitated and wondered who is behind that
website on your screen? Does that web page really belong to the
company it claims to represent? Is it an honest and valid domain?
A handy service, known as a "Whois", can tell you who is
behind a web page and verify its validity before you make that final click or download that
It's a utility that looks up information about individual websites
from its whois database and reveals whatever information is currently available for any
website. It will find the Domain Name and IP Address so you will at
least know the identity of the registered owner of the domain
The exception is when an owner of a website lists it as "private".
In that case, the only information available is whether the website
really exists obviously of primary importance when you're
considering making a purchase or downloading information.
How much, or how little information available for a Whois query
depends on what the owner of the Domain Name decides to make public.
Thankfully, most serious businesses provide ample information.
Companies usually want to make it easy for customers to get in
touch; they list every possible way to reach them
telephone and fax numbers, physical (street) and postal addresses,
and of course email contacts, in order to attract prospective
A personal website owner, though, may list only the
minimum required data, or even register as "private". That way,
they would avoid attracting unwanted sales pitches, spammers, or perhaps
Not all Whois applications search ALL domains. Each Domain Registrar
is responsible for maintaining a Whois over those domains (websites)
registered with him. When the internet was in its infancy, each
Whois was designated to search only one type of domain; there was
one for ".COM", another for ".ORG", and so on.
Even today, many of these utilities are still dedicated to one domain
type or to one Registrar (the agency where you have registered your
Domain Name). To facilitate searching, we now have publicly
accessible Whois software and services that can search all Domain Registrars plus
all Hosting Servers for any type of domain.
We'll first look at two basic categories of these services:
a) Free Whois software
b) Affordable, commercial Whois software that you pay to use
The type best for you, naturally, depends on how you are
going to use the information they provide -
something you'll know after trying a few different services.
While learning how to use a Whois, try the free ones. They deliver results that are just as accurate as any
other model. They all search the same data bases, after all!
When using a free, no-frills service or software, the information
might be presented in a long text-based list of line after line of
data. However, some of the free services display information in a
more convenient tabular form.
For infrequent use, a free service will do and it makes sense to start
with free software until you know enough to decide whether to spend
money on an easier program. For just basic inquiries, it's quite likely that you may never
need to buy a Whois program at all.
You can find these free services by doing a Google, Bing, or other
search for 'Whois". The results page will display many commercial
and free services. Some of those little ads on the right side of the
results page will often take you directly to a free trial.
One of these searches might give you the following information about a website
Suppose you are searching the internet and you find an appealing
"HONEST-SITE.COM". First, you'll want to see who they really are. A Whois search usually tells you:
The true Domain Name, hopefully,
HONEST-SITE.COM in this
The IP Address of the website, e.g.,
126.96.36.199 (four groups of numbers
from 0-255, separated from one another by periods (dots). Try
numbers into your browser address bar it should bring up
Any other contact information
available. You can expect to find
information about who hosts the website (supplies the Web Server):
The name of the Hosting Company
(Domain Name Server or Web Server),
The IP Address of that Web Server,
including contact email addresses and
The email addresses for their
Administrator (ADMIN) and Webmaster (TECH).
A Whois reveals whatever information
is available for any website, so you can see who stands behind it.
You can practice at
Check out this free service by copying and pasting this address into
the search box:
And yes, as you have guessed by now, a Whois is a quick and ideal
way to unmask faked (phishing) websites.
... Richard Rossbauer
Richard started his "Firewalls
and Virus Protection" website and "Security
Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users
navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber
Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer
Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at
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