A few weeks ago I hired a developer I know to build me a Whois tool. The reasoning for this was simple enough to me. I use Whois a lot and I don’t really have any favorites sites that provides me with one. Some sites require that you become a member or pay fees for doing domain research so I thought I should just hire a developer so that I can add extra value to my site and have some handy tools available. I’m looking to add a few simple tools and web apps to my internet marketing site and I thought Whois would probably be a good place to start.
I find myself looking up domain info more and more recently and it is a pretty neat thing to have around. When we started working on the Whois functionality I didn’t realized that it’s not as simple as building a regular old API.
A lil More on Whois
It turns out that only one company, Verisign that controls and operates the Whois database. When someone does a Whois query it goes to Verisign which goes through it’s database, finds the domain registrar, contacts them whether it’s Godaddy, Tu Cows, Network Solutions…ect, the registrar goes through it’s database and the delivers the goods to us.
Another thing to think about is that there isn’t a standardized format for serving up Whois data. Godaddy’s whois results may be formatted completely differently than Network Solution’s so writing a API isn’t that simple.
Also, there is a limit to the number of Whois queries that you can do before you get blocked. Verisign won’t tell you the number but if you reach it your IP Address or your IP Block can be temporarily banned. Even though all of the obstacles came up I decided to still go through with it. I hope to have an arsenal of tools on this site someday although I realize that some may be easier to build than others.
Check out my Whois tool here.