Anyone can register a top level domain such as mydomain.com from an Internet domain registrar for a small price that is normally paid annually. One of the registration steps involves providing valid and accurate contact information of the registrant. This contact information is known as WHOIS info that is published online and is accessible publicly by anyone at anytime.
Some domain owners are very concerned that their real full name, mailing address, email address and phone number can be obtained so easily especially by spammers, hence they pay extra money to subscribe for Private Registration such as “Domains By Proxy”, “Domain Privacy”, “Privacy Protect” or “WhoisGuard” that hides their personal information from public display. As for people who cannot afford the private registration, they simply provided fake details or just copy the generic private registration information and use it on their profile.
Providing fake WHOIS information can lead to losing your domain name if this matter is reported to ICANN. You are also not supposed to abuse any of the private registration services by illegally using their contact information for your WHOIS without paying for it and that too can get your domain into trouble.
If you need to contact the current or previous owner of a domain name, it is still possible to do it by looking up the historical WHOIS information. There is a chance that when they registered the domain, the owner did not subscribe to any of the domain privacy services and instead entered their real contact information. Here we have 5 online services that can lookup domain WHOIS history records.1. DomainTools
DomainTools is a website that offers a number of premium online tools that are very useful to perform research on a domain. One of the valuable services offered by DomainTools is Whois History where you can lookup the historical records of the WHOIS information for a domain.
Unfortunately the Whois History feature is only available for members with Professional subscription that cost $49.95 per month. However, you can sign up for a 7 day trial account that cost $1 as a verification to ensure your credit card is valid and you get to use the whois history search on 100 domains. As long as you cancel your Professional membership trial account within 7 days, your credit card will not be charged at all.
Looking up a domain ownership history is as easy as entering the domain name in the box and click the Lookup button.
Non logged in users will only get to see the overall statistics of the whois history such as the number of historical record found for the domain name, the number of significant changes, and the percentage of domain name ownership data. For Professional members, they get to access every recorded whois history data by just clicking on the date.
As you can see from the sample whois history report above, it shows the whois data dated back in 2007 containing the domain owner’s information. The private icon located beside the date is very useful to quickly determine if that particular old whois data is a privacy protect record so you can skip reviewing that history record.
REG.COM is a Russian domain name registrar and they also provide a WHOIS history service found in their web tools section. Unlike DomainTools, REG.COM does not provide you with overall statistics of the domain history before purchase. From what we’ve tested, a single domain whois history query will cost 165 RUB which is about US$2.80. If you’re willing to pay the price, add it to cart, create an account, activate it and make payment. After a successful payment, login, click on All located at the top right and select “My WHOIS History”.
You can either click on Show Result to open the domain whois history in a new tab or click the email button to send the report to your email address. From a test, we see that the WHOIS history result by REG.COM is very plain without any filters or timeline like what you see in DomainTools.
We also found that REG.COM offers more historical results than DomainTools. However after taking a more closer look at the results and comparing them with DomainTools’, it seems that the WHOIS history records from REG.COM are the exact same records from DomainTools. As for the additional records at REG.COM, they are just duplicated information from the next earlier/later record.
We think that the REG.COM WHOIS history records are pulled from DomainTools and they simply added a few more duplicate records in between so that their results won’t look the exact same as DomainTools’.
DomainHistory.net is a simple website that offers information to a domain that includes the current/past whois information and reverse email/registrar/IP. All you need to do is enter the domain name in the website and click the Search button. The historical whois data is shown in the results page and you can jump straight to the specific record date from the right hand side.
DomainHistory.net seems to offer a professional membership that cost $29.99 per month with the first 30 days free to get unlimited whois, domain history and export reports. However there were no clear instructions or information on how the free 30 days work or even how to get it. All we see is a place to enter our credit card information after logging with the newly registered account.
WhoisMind is probably the only provider that offers Whois history data for free. In fact all other online tools from their website such as WHOIS and SEO report are free as well and do not require registration or a membership account. To obtain WHOIS archive information, enter the domain name in the box from their website and click the whois button. Then click on the Whois History tab to reveal the available old whois info.
Tracking and archiving old domain WHOIS information requires a lot of crawling power and this has to be started many years ago in order to have a rich database. This is why most, if not all of the WHOIS history data providers charge money for this information. Since WhoisMind is free and did not start early, we don’t expect it to have a large database of archived whois data. A search on the most popular domain such as Google.com and Facebook.com only yields over 10 whois history results that start from 2012.