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by ianadmin on December 19, 2011

Whois: How to Find Out Who (Really) Owns a Web Site

Have you ever wanted to find out who owns a website? If you search around on their site, they might provide some contact details. However, some web sites prefer to remain more anonymous. They might not provide any contact details, or you might encounter one of those forms which sends emails without you knowing who receives it. That can be a little frustrating.

WHOIS is the Solution

There is another way to find out more information about who owns or runs any particular web site. It’s called Whois, and it is an old internet standard. Old doesn’t mean useless though. Because this particular protocol has been in place so long, it is very well established. You can do a Whois search much like doing a normal search on Google. That means it’s very easy, and you can get more than just email contacts. You can get phone numbers and mailing addresses as well.

How to use WHOIS

There are many web sites you can visit which perform Whois searches. Simply do a web search on the word “Whois.” You will find some of the top web sites that offer this look up service. GoDaddy is very popular. Once you choose one of these sites that perform Whois, you will be presented with another search box. Type the name of the web site you want to look up. Then, click on the search button. The results can sometimes come back looking a bit disorganized or jumbled. Don’t worry about that. Simply scroll down a bit further, and the contact information will usually be well organized.

Understanding the Results

Many times, you will be given a generic email address. Let’s take a look at Yahoo! for example. Here are the results.

Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale CA 94089
+1.4083493300 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1.4083493300 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: +1.4083493301

You will notice the email address is not at It is at In fact, you will not find any web site if you try to visit Now, if you wanted to send them an email, you might get a reply from this email address. Normally, they would probably put you in contact with the right department because Yahoo! is such a big company. The same would probably be true of the phone number. The physical address is the real location of the company headquarters. If you needed to send any type of document to them, then this would be the place to send it.

Special Circumstances

There are some special circumstances when it comes to a Whois search. There are companies out there who will register on behalf of someone else to keep their identity private. This works much the same way as lawyers who register companies on behalf of silent partners. If you run across one of these, you will know it. Here is an example of the most commonly used company.

Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599 Fax — (480) 624-2598

These are the results from doing a search on an a web site which looked like it wanted to remain anonymous. If you get this result, it’s a special circumstance. However, you will know for sure that the real person behind the website has a reason to remain anonymous.

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