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All about Whois!

Today, I'm going to talk to you about the WHOIS registration! Behind this word can hide a wealth of information... You will find it behind a domain name but also behind an IP address! There was a time when anonymizing it could play tricks on you - the Anti-Spam filters don't really like the little cachotiers! - but the arrival of the RGPD has changed everything. It is advisable, in my opinion, to properly set up this registration to bring more legitimacy to your e-mail campaigns especially with the explosion of phishing!

What is Whois registration?

The WHOIS record (which is a contraction of "Who is") is a technical record that allows you to obtain different information about a domain name or IP address.

The objective is to be able to quickly find the owner of a domain name via this registration - e.g. for a buyout - or to contact a network administrator - e.g. to resolve an e-mail block.

If you want to know more about the Whois, I advise you to go and consult these pages on ICANN's official website (this non-profit corporation is responsible for administering the Internet's digital resources, such as IP addresses and top-level domain names).

What information can be found in the WHOIS record?

As I said before, in this record we will find different public information. Generally, when it is well declared, we will find the following information:

  • "Registrar": Domain name registrar
  • "Registrant": The registration details of the domain name or IP holder.
  • "Admin": The registration details of the domain name or IP administrator.
  • "Tech": The registration details of the technical contact of the domain name or IP.
  • "Creation Date": The date on which the domain name was created.
  • "Updated Date": The date on which the information was updated.
  • "Registry Expiry Date: The expiration date of the domain name.
  • "IP Address, IP Location, Name Servers": Information related to the IP address where the domain name is hosted, its location, the name of the servers associated with the domain name.

What tool should I use to check?

There are a lot of tools available on the web to show you the WHOIS record of a domain or IP.

Personally, I use the Whois service of the "DomainTools" website. Small example with our domain "":

Whois search on the domain at DomainTools

Here's what the research says:

Result on the Whois search of our domain name

Why we advise you not to neglect it...

I'm not going to hide anything here 🙂 I see a nice benefit to not trying to completely anonymize your Whois record but rather display it transparently (with some restraint).

First, tell the world that this domain name (or IP address if you are the proud owner) belongs to you.

Secondly, to allow a user to perform a search on your domain name to make sure, thanks to the Whois information, that "potentially" the e-mail he has received is indeed legitimate and is not phishing. I say "potentially" because this registration is not subject to any verification and the data can be either false or usurped... Hence the interest for you to do things right and to be totally transparent.

On the other hand, be careful with the information you display in your Whois, it could be reused - I'm thinking in particular of contact e-mail addresses - and you could see your mailbox filled with a whole bunch of spam... - I know what I'm talking about, I've already had the bad experience :p.

Thus, limit yourself to the essential information that will allow to see that you are the owner of the domain. Regarding the e-mail addresses of the contacts, some registrars like OVH offer an interesting option to avoid putting your e-mail address in plain text (not generic), the OWO service.

Whois vs. RGPD!!!

In my previous experiences, I faced several blockages at Orange because of the anonymization of the sending domains of some advertisers... With the arrival of the RGPD in 2018, the game has changed. Unfortunately the two are not compatible! And what used to be a good practice to follow, is not anymore!

One (the Whois) asks that the information contained in the Whois be up to date and well informed while the other (RGPD) asks that all personal data be better secured... Clash!

One thing is for sure, registrars have decided (RGPD wins!) and automatically hide any data from the Whois record (see the example of the Whois check on our domain name

To go further on the subject :

Bouchara & Avocats has written a very good article on this subject and asks the right questions about the future of Whois: Whois and RGPD: the impossible reconciliation?

ZDNet also published a series of articles on the subject (which are a little dated):

Gandi, in 2020, is also interested in the issue:

In the next article, we will see what is behind the List-Unsubscribe! A settings problem ? An ISP blocking? You want to optimize your technical configuration? We are here to help you, don't hesitate to consult our support offers via the link below:

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Badsender, emailing expertise agitator! Badsender is a team of craftsmen specialized in the various disciplines surrounding email marketing! Our emailing agency intervenes on questions of strategy, design, orchestration and deliverability. We offer this expertise in the form of coachingWe can also provide services such as audits, or act as an outsourced production force. 

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