How to Perform a WHOIS Lookup From the Windows Command Prompt

Key Takeaways

  • WHOIS is a protocol used to query databases containing information about domain name registrations, IP addresses, and other internet resources.
  • Windows includes a built-in WHOIS client that allows you to perform WHOIS lookups from the command prompt.
  • Using the command prompt for WHOIS lookups provides a convenient and efficient method for network administrators, web developers, and anyone needing frequent access to domain registration details.

As an experienced technical writer with over 8 years of experience in the IT industry, I understand the importance of WHOIS lookups for network troubleshooting, domain research, and online investigations. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the process of performing WHOIS lookups directly from the Windows command prompt.

Understanding WHOIS

WHOIS is a query and response protocol that allows you to retrieve information about the registration and ownership of domain names, IP addresses, and autonomous systems. This information includes details such as the registrant’s contact information, domain registration and expiration dates, name servers associated with the domain, and more.

The WHOIS protocol was initially developed in the early days of the internet to maintain a directory of individuals and organizations connected to the ARPANET network. As the internet grew, WHOIS evolved into a crucial tool for network administrators, security researchers, law enforcement agencies, and anyone interested in investigating online resources.

Why Use the Command Prompt for WHOIS Lookups?

While there are numerous web-based WHOIS lookup tools available, using the command prompt offers several advantages, especially for those who frequently perform WHOIS queries:

  1. Convenience: Instead of navigating to a website and entering the domain or IP address each time, you can quickly execute the WHOIS command from any command prompt window.
  2. Efficiency: Command-line tools are generally faster and more responsive than web-based interfaces, making them ideal for performing multiple WHOIS lookups in succession.
  3. Scripting and Automation: By using the command prompt, you can incorporate WHOIS lookups into scripts or automated processes, streamlining your workflow and saving time.
  4. Portability: The WHOIS client is built into Windows, eliminating the need to install additional software or rely on third-party tools.

Performing a WHOIS Lookup from the Command Prompt

To perform a WHOIS lookup from the Windows command prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Command Prompt: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box, type cmd, and press Enter. Alternatively, you can search for “Command Prompt” in the Start menu and open it from there.
  2. Execute the WHOIS Command: In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and replace with the domain name or IP address you want to look up:

Press Enter to execute the command.

  1. Review the Output: The WHOIS server will return the registration information for the specified domain or IP address in a plain text format. The output will typically include details such as:
  • Domain registrant’s contact information (name, organization, address, email, phone number)
  • Domain registration and expiration dates
  • Name servers associated with the domain
  • Domain status (active, expired, suspended, etc.)
  • Registrar information (company responsible for registering the domain)

Here’s an example of what the WHOIS output might look like:

Domain Name: EXAMPLE.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1234567_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2023-04-01T00:00:00Z
Creation Date: 2000-01-01T00:00:00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2024-01-01T00:00:00Z
Registrar IANA ID: 1234
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: [email protected]
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8675309000
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: 
Registrant Organization: EXAMPLE ORGANIZATION
Registrant Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Registrant City: ANYTOWN
Registrant State/Province: AP
Registrant Postal Code: A1B2C3
Registrant Country: AA
Registrant Phone: +1.8675309001
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Admin City: ANYTOWN
Admin State/Province: AP
Admin Postal Code: A1B2C3
Admin Country: AA
Admin Phone: +1.8675309002
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: [email protected]
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Tech City: ANYTOWN
Tech State/Province: AP
Tech Postal Code: A1B2C3
Tech Country: AA
Tech Phone: +1.8675309003
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax:
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email: [email protected]
Name Server: NS1.EXAMPLE.COM
Name Server: NS2.EXAMPLE.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System:
>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2023-04-01T00:00:00Z <<<

This output provides a wealth of information about the domain, including the registrant’s contact details, registration dates, name servers, and more.

Additional WHOIS Command Options

The Windows WHOIS client includes several additional options and flags that can be useful in certain situations:

  • -v: This flag instructs the WHOIS client to print information for referrals, which can be helpful when dealing with domain name referrals or IP address blocks.
  • -h HOST: Specifies the WHOIS server to connect to, allowing you to query specific registries or databases.
  • -p PORT: Allows you to specify a custom port number when connecting to the WHOIS server.
  • > output.txt: Redirects the WHOIS output to a text file named output.txt, making it easier to review or share the information.

For a complete list of available options and their descriptions, you can refer to the official Microsoft documentation or simply type whois /? in the Command Prompt.


Performing WHOIS lookups from the Windows command prompt is a powerful and efficient way to retrieve domain registration and ownership information. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can leverage the built-in WHOIS client to quickly access crucial details about domains, IP addresses, and other internet resources.

Whether you’re a network administrator troubleshooting connectivity issues, a web developer researching domain availability, or an investigator tracking down online abuse, the command prompt WHOIS lookup is a valuable tool in your arsenal. With its convenience, efficiency, and scripting capabilities, it offers a streamlined alternative to web-based WHOIS lookup tools. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]