Unsponsored TLD Agreement: Appendix O (.info)
(20 October 2003)
Whois SpecificationPublic Whois
The Whois service substantially consists of three parts:
These are described in more detail below.
There is currently no centralized, real-time Whois system in the .com, .net and .org TLDs. Rather, individual Whois databases are maintained by individual registrars. Persons searching for information regarding a particular domain name registration are thus forced to query each registrar database to find the information they are seeking.
Although VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS) operates a registry-level Whois database, it is not updated in real-time. Accordingly, a person searching for Whois information must confirm information obtained at the registry-level Whois with the registrar-level Whois. Whois output format is currently not standardized among the registrars, and individual registrars have their own practices with respect to the frequency of updates and the amount of information disclosed through the Whois service. As a result, information in the registry-operated Whois may be inconsistent with that contained in the registrar-operated Whois. This inconsistency can cause problems both for third parties trying to obtain information on a domain name or registrant, and domain name owners seeking to verify that changes to their own information have been made.
Afilias will eliminate the aforementioned problems through the maintenance of a registry-level Whois database that will contain information for every registered .info domain. The Whois service will contain data transferred by registrars during the registration process. If a registrant changes any registration information relating to the registrant's domain name, the registrar will communicate these changes to the registry at the time they are received. This will provide interested parties with access to up-to-date information for every .info domain, under a standard protocol with a consistent format.
The Registry Whois system has been designed for extreme robustness, availability and performance. Additionally, provisions for detection of abusive usage (e.g. excessive numbers of queries from one source) have been taken into account. Since the Afilias Whois server is the authoritative source of domain information, the policy is to not place any restrictions on Whois queries. However, Afilias reserves the right to activate abuse countermeasures if necessary.
The Whois services specified in this document will perform in accordance with [RFC954]. Updates to the Whois database is normally performed within five (5) minutes of the EPP command that effected the change.
Access to the physical systems and data is strictly controlled and managed by Afilias.
Afilias reserves the right to develop and deploy these services internally, or outsource management of these facilities to a third party contractor under terms that are commercially reasonable and consistent with the aforementioned functional standards.
Afilias has considered the use of XML for the output of its public Whois service, as described in [XML-WHOIS]. However, this Internet Draft has not yet resulted in a preliminary standard. Without a standardized schema, XML interchangeability could be affected if Afilias were to adopt a proprietary schema. As a result, Afilias has chosen to wait for the standardization efforts to complete before implementing XML support for Whois.
A new [IETF-WHOIS] mailing list was recently established to discuss extensions to the whois protocol, particularly for the domain name and IP address registration process. This new activity may lead to the development of an IETF working group that will help standardize an exchange format for Whois data.
Afilias is committed to participating in and supporting the IETF efforts to develop a standard exchange format for Whois data. Afilias intends to support such a standard if commercially practicable.
For all Whois queries, the client provides a character string for which information is desired and optionally, the object type and interpretation control parameters to limit the search. If the object type and interpretation control parameters are not specified, Whois searches for the character string in the Name fields of the Domain object. Object type controls are available to limit the search to just data in the specified object. Interpretation controls are available to limit the search to just the ID field of an object, or to specify partial keyword matching or to provide full or summary output.
Queries can be made as either an "exact search" or as a "partial search", both of which are insensitive to the case of the input string.
An exact search specifies the full string to search for in the database field. An exact match between the input string and the field value is required. For example: "tucows.com" will only match with "tucows.com".
A partial search specifies the start of the string to search for in the database field. Every record with a search field that starts with the input string will be considered a match. For example: "tucows.com" will match with "tucows.com" as well as "tucows.com, Inc."
By default, if multiple matches are found for a query, then a summary of all the matching results is presented. A second query is required to retrieve the specific details of one of the matching records.
If only a single match is found, then full details will be provided. Full detail consists of the data in the matching object as well as the data in any associated objects. For example, a query that results in a domain object will include the data from the associated name server and contact objects. Additional information and samples of the various types of Whois result records are available in the Whois Output Fields and Sample Whois Output sections below.
Whois query controls fall into two categories: those that specify the type of field and those that modify the interpretation of the input or determine the type of output to provide.
Object Type Control
The following keywords restrict a search to a specific object type:
By default, if no object type control is specified, then the Name field of the Domain object is searched.
The following keywords modify the interpretation of the input or determine the level of output to provide:
By default, if no interpretation control keywords are used, the output will include full details if a single record is found and a summary if multiple matches are found.
This section describes the output fields provided for each type of object.
A whois query that results in domain information will return the following fields from the Domain object and the associated data from Host and Contact objects. This set of data is also referred to as the Domain Record.
Name Server Record
A whois query that results in name server information will return the following. This set of information is referred to as the Name Server Record or Host Record.
A whois query that results in contact information will return the following. This set of information is referred to as the Contact Record.
A whois query that results in registrar information will return the following. This set of information is referred to as the Registrar Record.
This section provides sample output from the Whois server for each type of Registry object: Domain, Name Server, Contact and Registrar. The output is structured as key/value pairs, which simplifies machine-readability.
From its web site at www.afilias.info , Afilias will provide an input form from which a visitor can perform Whois queries. The input form will accept the string to query, along with the necessary input elements to select the object type and interpretation controls. This input form will send its data to a server, whose function is to perform a port 43 Whois query as described above. The results from the Whois query are returned by the server and displayed in the visitor's web browser.
The only purpose of this web interface is to provide a user-friendly interface for Whois queries. It does not provide any additional features beyond what is described in the Whois (Port 43) section of this appendix.
Afilias will use its best commercial efforts to develop and implement an extensible whois (xWhois) service within six months of achieving operational stability for the Registry Services for .info. This subscription-based service is intended to provide:
For subscribers to the xWhois service, a web-based user interface will
be available to define the desired output fields and search criteria.
A batch process generates the report and notifies the subscriber that
it is available for download. xWhois queries will search all records from
a copy of the Registry database that will be updated once a day.
Comments concerning the layout, construction and functionality of this site
should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.