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Since VeriSign is the Registry operator for the .com, .net (and other gTLDs) shouldn't they be keeping a database of all the .com domains that are registered?

If they are not responsible for this, then which authority is?

I would like to do a whois lookup but I would like to query the most authoritative database.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

How to find the authoritative Whois service for a TLD:

  1. Enter the domain (or TLD only) at IANA’s Whois service: http://www.iana.org/whois
  2. Look for the URL listed under "remarks: Registration information" (resp. the domain listed under "whois"/"refer")

For .com, it would be Verisign (note: their Whois search requires JavaScript). I don’t know why, but IANA still lists them with the domain verisign-grs.com, but this doesn’t seem to work (at least, right now).

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Thank you for this. I couldn't access verisign-grs.com either but I was able to telnet to whois.verisign-grs.com to get a response. – neodymium Sep 1 '13 at 13:24
Just for the record, I noticed that querying whois.verisign-grs.com for the domain name I was looking for pointed me to another whois server (whois.schlund.info) which I was able to telnet and get the full information about the domain. – neodymium Sep 1 '13 at 13:29
+1 This is a great answer, as it is the correct way to start an authoritative whois lookup for a domain name. IANA is considrred the Whois root for domain names. A lot of Whois services out there hard-code the TLD whois servers, which can be a problem. I recently launched a service that performs authoritative Whois lookups for domain names and traverses down to the registry and registrar's own whois servers to get results. I'd recommend anyone check it out if you are looking to understand how Whois works! The website is: gwhois.org – iglvzx May 3 '14 at 4:30

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