Note:  This document provides a summary of registrar requirements related to the WHOIS as stated in the links set out below. The summarization of terms within this document do not override or replace the terms set forth within the stated policy. Please refer to the full text of the policy to review and understand the requirements for registrars.

This section covers the following:

2013 RAA Registration Data Directory Service (WHOIS) Specification


Basic Requirements

  • Registrar must operate a port 43 WHOIS service for TLDs operated by thin registry.
  • Registrar must operate a web-based WHOIS service, free for public query-based access.
  • Registrar is not required to provide port 43 WHOIS service for domain names that are not sponsored by the registrar.
  • Both WHOIS services need to be accessible via both IPv4 and IPv6 networks.


Defined Standardized WHOIS Output Format

Domain Name: EXAMPLE.TLD
Registry Domain ID: D1234567-TLD
Registrar WHOIS Server: WHOIS.example-registrar.tld
Registrar URL: http://www.example-registrar.tld
Updated Date: 2009-05-29T20:13:00Z
Creation Date: 2000-10-08T00:45:00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2010-10-08T00:44:59Z
Registrar IANA ID: 5555555
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email@registrar.tld
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.1235551234
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited2
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: 5372808-ERL3
Registrant Organization: EXAMPLE ORGANIZATION
Registrant Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Registrant City: ANYTOWN
Registrant State/Province: AP5
Registrant Postal Code: A1A1A16
Registrant Country: AA
Registrant Phone: +1.5555551212
Registrant Phone Ext: 12347
Registrant Fax: +1.5555551213
Registrant Fax Ext: 4321
Registrant Email: EMAIL@EXAMPLE.TLD
Registry Admin ID: 5372809-ERL8
Admin Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Admin City: ANYTOWN
Admin State/Province: AP
Admin Postal Code: A1A1A1
Admin Country: AA
Admin Phone: +1.5555551212
Admin Phone Ext: 1234
Admin Fax: +1.5555551213
Admin Fax Ext: 1234
Registry Tech ID: 5372811-ERL9
Tech Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Tech City: ANYTOWN
Tech State/Province: AP
Tech Postal Code: A1A1A1
Tech Country: AA
Tech Phone: +1.1235551234
Tech Phone Ext: 1234
Tech Fax: +1.5555551213
Tech Fax Ext: 93
DNSSEC: signedDelegation
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System:
>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2009-05-29T20:15:00Z <<<


Defined WHOIS Service Level Agreement Matrix



SLR (monthly basis)


RDDS availability

less than or equal to 864 min of downtime

RDDS query RTT

less than or equal to 4000 ms, for at least 95% of the queries

RDDS update time

less than or equal to 60 min, for at least 95% of the probes


WHOIS Advisory: Clarifications to the Registry Agreement, and the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) regarding applicable Registration Data Directory Service (WHOIS) Specifications

[Effective 31 January 2016]

Note: This Advisory included clarification for both Registry and Registrars. For the matter of relevance, this section will only include clarified requirements for registrars.

Optional Fields and Requirements

  • List of the optional fields
    1. Updated Date (if the domain name has not been updated since registration)
    2. Registrant/Admin/Tech Organization
    3. Registrant/Admin/Tech State/Province
    4. Registrant/Admin/Tech Postal Code
    5. Registrant/Admin/Tech Phone Ext
    6. Registrant/Admin/Tech Fax
    7. Registrant/Admin/Tech Fax Ext
  • If data exist for a given optional field, the key (field name) and the value with the data MUST be shown.
  • If no data exists in these optional fields, registrar MUST implement either of:
    1. the key (field name) MUST be shown with no information in the value section of the field; or
    2. no field MUST be shown.


Name Server


Requirements on “Required ” Fields

  • Except “Optional” fields, all other fields listed in RDDS Specification Section 1.4.2 of 2013 RAA are “Required”.
  • Noteworthy requirements:
    1. Registrar is only REQUIRED to show WHOIS information for domain names for which the Registrar is the Sponsoring Registrar
    2. Non-US-ASCII characters SHOULD be encoded in UTF-8.
    3. IP address(es) for name servers SHOULD NOT be shown in WHOIS output.
    4. Do not add JavaScript or other client-side script code to the port 43 WHOIS output, and do not add data that could be wrongfully interpreted as markup language in web-based WHOIS.
    5. All field names are case sensitive and it MUST be shown as defined in section 1.4.2 of the RDDS specification of the 2013 RAA.


Fields may be in Different Places

  • IDN Domain Name (U-Label), two acceptable places:
    1. Immediately following the field “Domain Name”, or
    2. As an additional field, immediately after the “URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System” field.


  • Abuse Contact, two acceptable places:
    • Registrar Abuse Contact Email
    • Registrar Abuse Contact Phone
    1. Following the "Registrar IANA ID" field; or
    2. Immediately before the last field ("URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System") 


  • Billing Contact, two acceptable places:
    1. Immediately after the field “Technical Contact”, or
    2. As additional fields that follows the last field “URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System”



Other Requirements

The following items’ numbering conform with the numbering in the Advisory:

4. If the registrar decides to provide translation to field names, the translation must be in parenthesis (U+0028 and U+0029), with Solidus between different translations, spaces should conform with the below example:

            Domain Name (域名名称/域名名稱): foo.example

5. All domain name labels in WHOIS (except the IDN Field), should display its ASCII form (A-Label), e.g. NS Record with an IDN domain name:

            Name Server: ns1.xn--caf-dma.example

8. The date and time shown in the footer

 “>>> Last update of WHOIS database: <date and time> <<<”

is the date and time in which the RDDS database was updated from the SRS database. In a case where the registrar is querying its own database, and therefore, using real-time data, this date and time will show the timestamp of the response to the query.

10. “DNSSEC: signedDelegation” MUST be shown when the domain name has one or more DS or DNSKEY records. "DNSSEC: unsigned" MUST be shown if the domain name is not signed.

17. There SHOULD NOT be empty lines between the last data field and the footer ">>> Last update of WHOIS database: <date and time> <<<". If shown, no more than three (3) empty lines are allowed.

18. WHOIS (port-43) queries for domain name objects SHOULD return only one record per query (i.e., no partial match or other search capabilities, only exact match lookup).

24/25. Except the following fields below, the other fields MUST NOT appear multiple times:

    1. Domain Status
    2. Name Server
    3. Registrant/Admin/Tech/Billing Street (EPP RFC 5733)

26. When a queried object does not exist, registrar SHOULD return the key “The queried object does not exist:”

    1. optionally followed by a registry-defined text message (the value) that provides more information about the non-existence of the object.
    2. No other fields MUST be shown.
    3. The "last update" footer, blank line, and legal disclaimer MUST follow as with other WHOIS queries.

46. The field “Registry Admin/Tech/Billing/Registrant ID:”, this information MUST be shown if available from the Registry. If this information is not available from the Registry (e.g., a "thin" registry), the string "Not Available From Registry" SHOULD be shown instead.

50. The following fields are not specified in the EPP RFCs: 5730-5734, or 3915, and MUST follow the below format specifications:

    1. "Registrar Abuse Contact Email" (RFC 5322)
    2. "Registrar Abuse Contact Phone" (ITU-T E.164)
    3. "Reseller" is defined as token (Extensible Markup Language 1.1)
    4. "Registrar WHOIS Server" value is defined as a hostname and is the server name of the (port-43) WHOIS server of the sponsoring Registrar
    5. "Registrar URL" value is defined as a URL (see RFC3986) and MUST show the website of the sponsoring registrar, more specifically, the URL of the web-WHOIS of the queried object, or at least the URL of the web-WHOIS service of the registrar
    6. "Registrar IANA ID" value must be a positive decimal integer.
    7. "Registrar" value is defined as token (Extensible Markup Language 1.1).

Links to the definition of “Token” :

51. The value section of the "Reseller" field SHOULD be shown, but MAY be left blank or the whole field MAY not be shown at all. If shown, the value of the field MUST be the name of organization, or a natural person name.

2013 RAA WHOIS Accuracy Program Specification (WAPS)


Section 1(a) to (d) - Validation: Ensure format of WHOIS data is consistent with standards

Section 1(f) - Verification: Confirm accuracy of WHOIS data

-> Registrar must perform validation within 15 calendar days of a/an:

  • New registration
  • Inbound transfer
  • Change of RNH (Registered Name Holder)
  • Change to RNH or account holder contact data

-> Required fields must be completed and formatted properly

-> Validate that the format of the data conforms to standards (links included):

  • Email (RFC 5322)
  • Telephone (ITU-T E.164)
  • Postal Address Standard (UPU, S42, or other standard format for the applicable territory)

-> Registrar must verify RNH’s email address or telephone number within 15 calendar days of a/an:

  • New registration
  • Inbound transfer
  • Change of RNH
  • Change to RNH or account holder contact data

-> Registrar must also verify RNH’s email address within 15 days of:

  • Information suggesting WHOIS data is incorrect

-> Affirmative response from RNH and account holder is required

-> Non-response from RNH requires registrar to perform manual verification or suspend the registration. Non-response from account holder only requires manual verification.


  • A domain name can be suspended and/or canceled, if RNH meets below conditions:
    • Section 5 of WAPS:
      • Willfully provide inaccurate or unreliable information
      • Failed to respond for over fifteen (15) days to inquiries by Registrar concerning the accuracy of contact details associated with the RNH.
  • Section 3.2.2 in 2013RAA:
    • Willfully failed to update information provided to Registrar within seven (7) days of any change. 


WHOIS Advisory: Clarifications to the 2013 RAA WHOIS Accuracy Specification

[Published: 16 November 2015]


  1. Registrar is not required to validate or verify RNH (and, if different, Account Holder) contact information when a domain name is renewed solely because the registration renewed.
    • If contact information is materially changed or if another circumstance requiring validation or verification applies, the registrar must perform the required action(s).
  2. In cases where a domain name is transferred to a gaining registrar, and in the course of the transfer, the gaining registrar obtains consent to the transfer via the FOA from the Registered Name Holder or Account Holder via means that would fulfill the verification requirements of section 1(f)(i) of the Specification, the gaining registrar does not need to repeat the verification process on the contact data if there are no material changes to that contact data.
  3. WHOIS-related complaints that are processed by ICANN as a "data format" issues (as opposed to "data accuracy" issues) do not invoke an obligation for the registrar to validate or verify WHOIS information. In such cases, the registrar is required to correct the data formatting issue but is not required to contact the RNH to verify the formatting correction.
  4. Registrars can engage third parties (e.g. Resellers) to perform data validation and verification as required, but registrars are ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with the Specification's requirements.


Additional WHOIS Information Policy (AWIP)

[Effective 31 January 2016] 07-02-en 

  • Registrars who include domain name registration statuses in WHOIS output:
  • Registries must include the ICANN-issued Globally Unique Registrar Identification number (GURID or IANA ID) in their WHOIS output


AWIP Examples:

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