How doesn’t whois work properly in Mac Terminal?
Question by Joshua Cowper /

I am trying to use the Mac Terminal for whois lookups. If I type in “whois makeuseof.com”, I get the whois results for makeuseof.com. However, if I type in “whois apple.com”, I get this:

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
for detailed information.

APPLE.COM.ZON.COM
APPLE.COM.WWW.ZON.COM
APPLE.COM.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.WAS.PWNED.BY.M1CROSOFT.COM
APPLE.COM.MORE.INFO.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.IS.OWN3D.BY.NAKEDJER.COM
APPLE.COM.IS.0WN3D.BY.GULLI.COM
APPLE.COM.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM

To single out one record, look it up with “xxx”, where xxx is one of the
of the records displayed above. If the records are the same, look them up
with “=xxx” to receive a full display for each record.

>>> Last update of whois database: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 05:13:09 UTC

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Answer (1)
  • Jan Fritsch

    The whois command uses the default whois server for the TLD of the query. From there on it’s pretty much “luck” whether you get a meaningful result or not.

    Since whois is not a standard protocol some server forward the query to the right DNS databases, others don’t. Also some server don’t return or offer this information unless queried directly to prevent lookup spam.

    “whois -h whois.markmonitor.com apple.com”

    Issuing this command will give you the full information. It will send the query to the markmonitor.com whois server where the apple.com domain is residing.