Do you wish to know who is hosting that website? Well, now you can, thanks to WHOIS.
See, websites are hosted on web servers. Web servers are powerful computers that store websites and serve them to users who request them from their browsers.
And when you type in a website’s URL, your browser sends a message to the server containing that site requesting the content of the page you want to view.
The server then responds by sending back the requested information so your browser can display it for you. Because every time you visit a website, your computer must communicate with its host server, it is important for both security and performance reasons to know who is hosting any given website before visiting it or providing personal information through it.
In this article, you’ll learn how to find out who is hosting any website.
What is WHOIS?
WHOIS stands for “Who is?” and refers to a database that stores information about domain names, their owners, registrars (companies that manage the registration of those domains), and when they were registered.
The WHOIS service makes this data available so people can find out who owns or manages specific websites if necessary.
How WHOIS works
When you register a new domain name with most providers, you are asked to provide personal details such as contact number, email, and of course, your official name.
Then, this personal contact information will be added to the Registrar’s public databases automatically, well, unless you pay an extra fee for private registration services designed to keep it hidden from view by anyone running a standard WHOIS search on your website address.
Now, every time someone queries your domain in this database, your details will show up.
Let me show you how;
How to Know Who is Hosting Any Website
To know who is hosting any website, head over to https://www.whois.com/whois and type the domain name into the field, and hit search.
You will get a lot of information about who is behind the domain name.
As you can see, it shows when the domain was registered first and when it will expire.
You can also see the domain name servers.
Down here, you can find the contact information of the domain owner.
As you can see, the email and phone numbers are visible. But that’s not always the case.
Some domain owners have their contact information redacted.
Well, there are two ways this can happen:
- You pay an extra fee to get a domain name privacy addon or
- Your domain is a ccTLD. Most of these domains come with privacy in-built, a good example is .KE domain.
Is WHOIS legal?
Many companies do not realize how easy it is for hackers and scammers to access this kind of sensitive customer data.
And it can be done through simple searches online without having any special hacking skills at all.
There have been calls in recent years from privacy advocates asking Registrars to provide better security around these records as well as give customers more control over whether or not their details are made publicly visible using automated tools like Whois Lookup Tools.
Is it worth getting domain privacy?
Domain privacy is an optional service that domain registrars can offer to their customers at an additional cost.
It allows you to keep your contact information hidden from public view when people search for it using the WHOIS protocol. Well, unless they have a legitimate reason approved by ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) for accessing it, such as law enforcement purposes or if there’s evidence of trademark infringement.
Domain privacy isn’t required in most cases, but some website owners feel it’s worth paying extra for the peace of mind knowing their personal data is better protected against identity theft and spam.
How do I find out who owns a website?
If you want to know who owns any given website, follow these steps:
1. Go to whois.net and enter the URL of the site you want to look up in the search bar.
2. Click “Search.”
3. Scroll down to see the owner’s contact information listed under “Registrant” near the bottom of the page (it may be abbreviated as “Reg”).
The registrar is usually listed above it, along with other technical details about when the domain was registered and when it will expire.
How do I secure my domain name?
If you’re concerned about keeping your contact information private when people search for it using the WHOIS protocol, there are a few things you can do:
- Use a domain privacy service. As mentioned above, this is a paid service offered by some registrars that will keep your personal data hidden from public view unless someone has a legitimate reason approved by ICANN to access it.
- Register your domain name with an anonymous entity such as “Domain By Proxy,” which is owned by GoDaddy. This company allows you to register domains in its own name so your personal information isn’t attached to them publicly. Domain By Proxy isn’t free, but it’s typically less expensive than traditional registrar services that offer domain privacy protection.
- Don’t use easily guessed words or phrases in your contact information fields when registering new domains (e.g., donotreply@example .com). Hackers sometimes try these types of addresses hoping they’ll get lucky and find one that hasn’t been claimed yet so they can take over the site or send spam messages through it without getting caught.
Can someone steal your domain name?
Yes, it is possible for someone to steal your domain name if they are able to gain access to your account with the registrar and change the contact information on file without you knowing.
And that is why it is important to choose a registrar that offers good security features such as two-factor authentication.
You can also help protect yourself by keeping your login credentials safe and using strong passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess.