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WHOIS Running the Internet: Protocol, Policy, and Privacy by Garth O. Bruen

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6WHOIS SERVERS

This chapter gives an overview of WHOIS servers and their components with specific examples of installing and configuring a WHOIS server. Here, we describe the theory of listening on ports and conducting transactions with a database. This is also a policy discussion concerning basic requirements of contracted service providers in terms of their responsibility to provide WHOIS data to the public and will contain brief case studies when service providers failed to meet their obligations. Not all servers are created equal; some do not source the data and are just referrals. Check the appendix for an extensive list of different WHOIS servers.

The client–server relationship is the basis of Internet function. Clients (your browser and other software) make requests across the network and servers respond to the requests. When you visit a webpage, the actual process is a request for a copy of a file, which is displayed in your browser. For email, your email client requests copies of the email stored on the server. A WHOIS server is just that, a hot machine that responds to requests for Port 43 connections and returns data. There are different types of servers for different functions, and special functions are often designated within dedicated subdomains in common formats that clients and other processes expect to be present. For example, name servers are usually designated by ns1.<domain-name> and ns2.<domain-name>, while mail servers are often structured as mail.<domain-name> ...

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