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What is the WHOIS?

The WHOIS at http://www.nominet.org.uk is an electronic directory that returns details on domain names that have been registered under .uk.

How is the WHOIS changing?
Nominet is increasing the amount of information given out by the WHOIS. The WHOIS has always given out the Registrant's name and technical information about the registration, but it is now planned to include the address of the domain name holder (where the registrant is a non-trading has not chosen to opt-out - see below), the name and web address of their registration agent and the date on which the domain name is due for renewal.

What will the new WHOIS look like?
The WHOIS will show the following information:

  • Registrant name
  • Registrant address (if the opt-out has not been chosen)
  • Registration Agent's name
  • Registration Agent's TAG name
  • egistration Agent's web address
  • Date of registration
  • Last time registration was updated
  • Date renewal is due
  • Name server information

 

When will these changes begin?
The expanded WHOIS will go live in two stages.

From 1 October the WHOIS will include this new information for every registration but it will only include the addresses for domain name holders that are classified as businesses. The address details of non-trading individuals will not be shown. For details of how domain name holders have been classified as businesses for this first stage, see http://www.nominet.org.uk/ref/whois1.html.

Then, from 1 December 2002, the WHOIS will begin to include address details of all domain name holders from the point when they register or renew their domain name, however there will be an opportunity for non-trading individuals to opt-out of having their address shown.

Why is Nominet making these changes?
Nominet operates a public Registry on behalf of all Internet users and it therefore has a duty to make the records it holds available to everyone. The expanded WHOIS will make it easier to track down who is behind a domain name and should therefore help build more confidence in the use of the Internet.

 

Is Nominet allowed to publish my address details?
Yes, Nominet has a contract with every domain name holder under the Terms and Conditions of domain name registration that can be seen at
http://www.nic.uk/nominet-terms.html. Under this contract, Nominet is entitled to publish the records its holds for your registration.

From 1 December 2002, Nominet plans to introduce new Terms and Conditions that will draw our customers' attention to the opt-out facility.

Will address details for every registration appear from 1 December 2002?
No, if a domain name falls due for renewal on 1 January 2003, the address details will only start to appear in the WHOIS at the end of that month, unless the domain name holder has opted out in which case the address won't appear at all.

 

Can I choose not to have my address details published?
Yes. Nominet appreciates that some individuals are concerned about having their personal address published on the WHOIS and has responded to these concerns by giving non-trading individuals an opportunity to opt-out of having their address details displayed.

How can I opt-out?
If you are a non-trading individual, you will be able to opt-out of the WHOIS by speaking to your registration agent or ISP, who in turn will modify the domain name record held by Nominet on your behalf so that your address details are not displayed.

Can anyone opt-out?
Only domain name holders that are non-trading individuals can opt-out of having their address details published. In other words, if you do not use or plan to use your domain name for business, trade or professional transactions you will be entitled to opt-out of having your address displayed.

 

What will the WHOIS say if I have opted out?
In cases where the domain name holder has chosen to opt-out, the WHOIS will return the registrant's name but the address field will state: "This individual has chosen to opt-out of the WHOIS. Contact via Agent."

Do I need to do anything now?
If you are a non-trading individual and you wish to opt-out you should contact your registration agent and ask them to make the necessary changes to Nominet's records. Otherwise, you do not need to do anything.

What if the information on the WHOIS is incorrect?
In the first instance, you should speak to your registration agent or ISP. For example, if the registrant address is incorrect your ISP will be able to amend these records on Nominet's database.

 

What does the renewal date show?
The renewal date given on the WHOIS is the next date on which the domain name is due to be renewed (ie two years after the original registration or last renewal was made). A renewal fee must be paid before a domain name can be renewed.

How quickly will the renewal date be updated?
The renewal date will be updated once Nominet has been paid for the domain name renewal. At this point, the listing will be changed to show the date on which the domain name is next due for renewal. This will usually occur on the day that the domain name is paid for.
 

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