Q:

How do you find out who owns a domain name?

A:

Quick Answer

The easiest way to find the owner of a domain name is to visit the WHOIS website at Whois.net and then search for the exact Web address or domain name. The website provides the owner's name, street address, phone number and email address, as well as the domain name expiration date.

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Full Answer

Additional domain name information includes the domain server name and address, the date the domain name was created and the date of the last update.

Domain name information is available to the public so that people can check the expiration dates of domain names in case they want to purchase a name when it expires. Organizations that register domain names also use the WHOIS database before transferring ownership so they can maintain unique domain names. Owners look up their own domain names to verify or change the contact information.

Domain name owners can choose to make their information public or they can pay a fee to make the information private. A private domain name listing helps to prevent malicious use of the information, such as for identity theft. Private listings hide personal information about the owner or display information about the organization that registered the name instead of owner details.

Due to concerns about privacy, registrars now often provide anonymity services. Instead of listing the name of the user who registers the domain, these registrars provide contact information for the registrar itself. Some registrars provide contact information upon request, but others demand documentation before releasing names. In some cases, the requester might need to provide a subpoena or other legal document demanding that the registrar release the name of the person who owns the domain. Legal requests that cross national borders can complicate this issue, and some registrars might simply refuse to release the requested information.

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