Live Whois API

This article is a quick explanation of our Live Whois API feature. I’ll start by first listing some of the frequently asked questions, and then I’ll write some additional information that I think might be interesting.

What is a Live Whois API

When you do a Whois lookup with our API, you essentially make an API request to our database. WhoAPI returns a whois record we have on file (without the contact details you would normally find when making a bulk whois request or when performing a single whois check.)

Since we get millions of API requests, there’s a chance that several users might check the same domain name. Since we have to check whois servers, and parse the information, it just wouldn’t be smart. We would have to start the entire process from scratch and do the exact same thing.

That’s why we deliver cached results.

Q: Do you cache whois results?

A: Yes, our Whois API is caching results for 31 days. If the whois record is older than 31 days, we get a fresh whois record. We understand that cached whois isn’t helpful in some scenarios, which is why we also offer live whois.

If you make the request after that time period (31 days), we update the cache with a fresh API request. In other words, if the cache is one month old, we will get a fresh whois record. There are some situations where the cache might be updated quickly. If for you it is important if it is cached or not, I would recommend a premium package with live whois.

Then, you can always make a request for a live – current Whois record. Depending on the number of requests and your budget, we can create a custom package that has live whois.

Live parsed whois
In this example you see a Whois API response in JSON. The screenshot shows the end of the response, highlighting that the API response is cached (with a timestamp).

Q: What is live whois and how does it work?

A: If you make a live whois API request, it is a bit slower because we attempt to get the whois record at the moment you make an API request. We also parse the results in Whois JSON or Whois XML before delivering you the results. This means that we will give you the whois record even if the domain name was registered a minute ago. It is the same Whois API, only slower with the most recent whois data.

Drop catching – Domain Backorder

When someone hears “most recent whois data,” someone may think, “Aha, I can use this for drop catching.” Well, you could, but not our Whois API. As I mentioned in “future of whois” and “best ways to use our Whois API” there are some things you can’t do with our API and some things you can do.

Drop catching is not one of them. Getting contact details, which I’ll address later in this article, is another thing you can’t do. Why can’t you use our Whois API for dropcatching? Very simple reason: in order to register a domain name immediately when it becomes available for registration you sometimes have to make thousands of Domain Availability API requests in seconds. You can read more on the domain life cycle here.

Making that many domain availability checks in such a short amount of time means you need to have incredible infrastructure that practically attacks the domain registrar. This goes against our core beliefs, and simply, we are not equipped for that kind of behavior.

Q: How do I make a live Whois API request?

A: Live whois must first be enabled by upgrading to a premium package. Once it is activated, your API request must contain &nocache in the URL.

Making a Live Whois API request is the same as making a regular Whois API request. You use the same code, the same URL, and the same API key. All you have to do is add &nocache in the end.

Contact details

As for the contact details, they are not available even in the Live Whois API requests. Contact details will be redacted. That way, we reduce the possibility of anyone breaking the law. I understand that there are legitimate use cases for contact details, but I don’t want to be the one enforcing and checking this.

Live Whois API will get you the latest whois information and it will be parsed, but without contact details.


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.