A module that attempts to act as a universal WHOIS output interpreter allowing you to get information about most domain name extensions.
Latest commit 572cb20 Dec 19, 2011 1 @mlightner Update README.rdoc


Universal Whois Server

Author: Matt Lightner <mlightner@gmail.com>

License: MIT

RDoc: universalwhois.rubyforge.org

*RubyForge URL*: rubyforge.org/projects/universalwhois

*GitHub URL*: github.com/mlightner/universal_ruby_whois/tree/master

This library attempts to interpret WHOIS output from a variety of different registrars. The ultimate goal is to have a complete “dictionary” of all of the TLD registrars (including double domain TLDs such as .co.uk) on the Internet, and corresponding regular expressions to parse the unique output format for each one.

This package requires a command line whois utility to retrieve output. It will then attempt to interpret that output based on a series of regular expressions.


Whois servers can be defined on a per-TLD basis, so each registrar can have a unique set of regular expressions to match its particular output format. Whois servers are defined in the file server_list.rb.

If you're using this module and come across a TLD that isn't yet supported or isn't working quite right, I highly encourage you to fork the project and commit your updates. The more people we have working on the list, the more comprehensive and effective it becomes!


When deciding which whois server to use, the script will always choose the most specific server entry it can find. For instance, if you have defined a server for .uk domains, but also a server for .co.uk domains, the domain name “test.co.uk” will always use the latter whois server.


Here is the output from a sample IRB session using this library:

require 'universal_ruby_whois'
=> true
domain = Whois.find("mattlightner.com")
=> #<Whois::Domain:0xb7a3b014 @domain="mattlightner.com", @server_tld_key="com">
=> :registered
=> false
=> true
=> Mon Aug 28 00:00:00 EDT 2006
=> Fri Aug 28 00:00:00 EDT 2009
domain = Whois.find("9384jf398ejf9832ej.com")            
=> #<Whois::Domain:0xb7a1ab34 @domain="9384jf398ejf9832ej.com", @server_tld_key="com">
=> :free


Some registrars are relatively unreliable or may add a server to a blacklist after a certain number of queries. In particular, the registrars for these domains:

  • es and related TLDs: They only provide an HTTP whois access interface, which is unreliable at best (although this module supports HTTP lookups quite well).

  • asn.au com.au id.au net.au org.au: 'whois.aunic.net', seems as though they will blacklist a server making too many queries. Not sure about their blacklist removal policy.


  • Add better support for creation date parsing for major registrars.

  • Find a more reliable way to look up domains from registrars not providing a whois server.


Contribution is encouraged! Grab the source from: git://github.com/mlightner/universal_ruby_whois.git