.AU WHOIS and Australia’s Online Identity

We continue populating our list of ccTLDs and gTLDs. As you know, our Domain Availability API and Whois API allow programmatically domain availability and Whois checks. It’s time to go down-under and find out whois .au!

The .au domain serves as the digital signature of Australia, encapsulating the essence of the nation’s vibrant culture, innovative spirit, and digital prowess. As Australia’s country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD), the .au domain is a critical component of the country’s online identity, offering a trusted platform for companies, individuals, and communities to connect and thrive in the global digital ecosystem. This article explores the .AU WHOIS system, shedding light on its function, importance, and the digital landscape it navigates.

The Significance of .AU in Domain Management

The .au domain is more than just an internet address; it’s a mark of authenticity and local presence. It signals to users worldwide that a website is distinctly Australian, whether it’s a local business, a community project, or a personal blog. Managed with a focus on security, reliability, and trust, the .au domain supports Australia’s online economy and digital culture, facilitating digital access and services for Australians everywhere.

Launched in March 1986 and managed by auDA (more on them later). They offer several Second-level domains such as:

  • .com.au – Commercial entities
  • .net.au – Commercial entities (historically only ISPs, but the use has been broadened)
    .org.au – Charities and non-profit organisations (historically only for organisations that did not fit in other categories)
    .edu.au – Educational institutions
    .gov.au – Governments and their departments

Understanding WHOIS in the Context of .AU

WHOIS services provide public access to data on domain registrations, including contact information for domain owners, domain status, and key dates like domain registration date and domain expiration date. For .au domains, the WHOIS system is overseen by auDA (the .au Domain Administration), Australia’s policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space. The .AU WHOIS system is essential for maintaining transparency, supporting cybersecurity efforts, and enabling effective domain management.

Example of whois record for a registered .com.au domain name

This WHOIS JSON record provides information about the domain “shop.com.au” while also illustrating the impact of privacy regulations, specifically GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), on the visibility of registrant data. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements in the record:

  1. General Information:
    • WHOIS Server: Managed by “whois.audns.net.au,” indicating it’s the official registry WHOIS server for .au domains.
    • Status: “Successfully processed” with a status code of “0” shows the query was completed without any issues.
    • Registered: The domain is currently registered, as confirmed by “true.”
  2. Domain Registration Details:
    • Registry Domain ID: “D407400000000733523-AU” uniquely identifies the domain within the .au registry.
    • Date Updated: The record was last updated on September 5, 2023. The creation and expiration dates are not provided, which is typical in privacy-focused WHOIS outputs.
  3. Domain Status:
    • Domain Status: “serverRenewProhibited” indicates the domain is not currently eligible for renewal, as per the linked status codes provided by Identity Digital (formerly auDA). This status can occur for various administrative reasons.
  4. Nameservers:
    • The domain uses “NS1.OPTUSNET.COM.AU” and “NS2.OPTUSNET.COM.AU” for its DNS, indicating that it is hosted or managed through Optus, a major Australian internet service provider.
  5. Privacy and GDPR Compliance:
    • WHOIS Raw: “Disabled due to GDPR” reflects the adherence to privacy regulations that restrict the public display of certain personal information.
    • Contacts: Specific details for the registrar, registrant, admin, and tech contacts are either not provided or marked as “Disabled due to GDPR,” highlighting the impact of GDPR on the WHOIS information’s accessibility.
  6. Registrar Information:
    • The domain’s registrar is listed as “Corporation Service Company (Aust) Pty Ltd,” a provider known for domain registration and corporate services, with a contact phone number and email for domain abuse reports.
  7. Miscellaneous:
    • “_cached”: false indicates that the information provided is not from a cached source, but with Live Whois API.
    • “Requests available”: 49 refers to the number of remaining WHOIS queries available to the requester before reaching a limit set by the querying service or registry.

This WHOIS record for “shop.com.au” highlights the domain’s active registration status and the significant impact of GDPR on the visibility of registrant information, ensuring a balance between transparency in domain registration and the protection of personal information.

.AU WHOIS: A Tool for Digital Stewardship

The .AU WHOIS database serves as a vital resource for various stakeholders, from domain researchers and cybersecurity experts to legal professionals and the general public. It enables users to verify domain registration details, conduct due diligence, and address legal and security concerns. While respecting privacy regulations, including the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), the WHOIS service balances the need for openness with the protection of domain registrants’ personal information.

Governance of .AU – auDA

The .au domain is expertly managed by auDA, which sets and implements policies that ensure the stability and integrity of Australia’s ccTLD. In collaboration with accredited registrars, auDA facilitates a secure and competitive domain registration environment, unlocking innovation and accessibility within Australia’s digital landscape. Since its inception, auDA has been pivotal in adapting the .au domain space to meet the evolving needs of the internet community, reflecting Australia’s commitment to a free, open, and secure online world.

Australia’s Digital Footprint

Australia is globally recognized for its technological innovation, robust digital economy, and active online community. The country boasts high internet penetration, a competitive digital business sector, and a strong commitment to digital education and e-government services. The .au domain is at the heart of this digital activity, providing a reliable and identifiable platform for Australian entities to engage with the world.

Photo of Sydney, Australia
Photo by Caleb on Unsplash

Australia’s ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain)

A ccTLD is a two-letter domain extension designated specifically for a country or territory, based on the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes. These domain extensions are part of the global Domain Name System (read how DNS works here) and are used to signify websites’ geographic affiliations, providing a means for internet users to identify the country of origin or target audience of a website.

Examples of ccTLDs include:

Here’s a complete list of all ccTLDs.

Each ccTLD is managed by a designated registry within the respective country or territory, which sets the policies for domain registration and use. ccTLDs are used by individuals, businesses, organizations, and governmental entities to showcase their presence in a specific geographical location. They are crucial for localizing content, services, and products to cater to the cultural and linguistic preferences of internet users within that locale.

The management and policies surrounding ccTLDs can vary significantly from one country to another, including registration requirements, who can register domains, and how they can be used. This flexibility allows countries to tailor their domain space to meet national needs and interests while participating in the global internet community.

The Future of .AU

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the .au domain remains a cornerstone of Australia’s digital identity. With the introduction of second-level registrations (e.g., yourname.au), auDA is expanding the .au domain’s versatility and appeal, offering new opportunities for branding and online presence. This evolution reflects Australia’s forward-looking approach to digital governance and its dedication to supporting a vibrant and inclusive online community.

The .au domain and its WHOIS system represent the foundation of Australia’s digital presence, embodying the nation’s spirit of innovation, community, and trust. As Australia continues to advance its digital frontier, the .au ccTLD will play an integral role in shaping the country’s engagement with the global digital community, reinforcing its position as a leader in the digital age.


Goran Duskic has been the Founder and CEO of WhoAPI Inc. since 2011, a company that specializes in developing APIs, including the well-known Whois API. He started his career in internet entrepreneurship in 2006 and has co-founded several online businesses, including a web hosting company that he later sold. Goran's work primarily involves creating practical API solutions to meet technological needs.