WHOIS (pronounced "who is"; not an acronym) is a query/response protocol which is widely used for querying an official database in order to determine the owner of a domain name, an IP address, or an autonomous system number on the Internet. WHOIS lookups were traditionally made using a command line interface, but a number of simplified web-based tools now exist for looking up domain ownership details from different databases. Web-based WHOIS clients still rely on the WHOIS protocol to connect to a WHOIS server and do lookups, and command-line WHOIS clients are still quite widely used by system administrators. WHOIS normally runs on TCP port 43.
(This definition is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "WHOIS".)
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