To determine who owns a Web domain, users can start by performing a WHOIS search, which provides domain ownership and availability info. There are many WHOIS services available which will provide contact information for a domain owner, as well as information on when the domain was created or if it is currently available. This can help users determine contact information if they are interested in purchasing a Web domain or ensure that their domain registrar has protected their private information.
A WHOIS search can help determine not only the current owner of a Web domain but also the registrant, billing contact, administrator, and technical contact for the domain. This search will also provide server information and the domain registration expiration date. Many websites use a third-party registrar or administrator, however, so the information may not show users the individuals or group responsible for running the Web domain.
In some cases, performing a WHOIS search will only return limited information, since many domain registrars provide website owners with tools to protect private information. WHOIS information is sometimes used by spammers and hackers, so this privacy protection keeps the Web domain owners from dealing with unwanted contact or intrusions on their servers.