Wednesday, August 4

How to find out who owns a website | Digital Trends Spanish

From simple curiosity to deeper reasons, there are multiple reasons to know who owns a website. And although for some it may sound like a work of computer experts, the truth is that it is a simpler process than you think.

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What are internet domains

A woman looks at the computer with a magnifying glass

Domains are the name that represents a site on the Internet and their main function is to translate IP addresses, that complex numerical combination based on bits and bytes, into memorizable and easy-to-find terms. For example, every time you enter the Google search engine from your browser you should enter the combination, instead of writing

In addition to allowing each domain name to be unique and unrepeatable, it allows locating it by geographic area (.mx for Mexican sites, for example) or subject (.com) and increasing the number of available websites, since the same IP address can be shared by more than one site.

On March 15, 1985, was registered, making it the first domain in the history of the Internet. Today, the domain name system is regulated and administered globally by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Domains assigned by geographic area are managed by ICANN-designated non-profit entities, although over time many countries have tendered their domains for commercial purposes (such as Montenegro’s .me).

When it might be useful to know who the owner is

We had told you that there are multiple reasons why knowing who is the owner of a website can be useful, but – in addition to your desire to satisfy curiosity – the most common scenarios are:

  • The domain is busy, but deprecated: it may be the most frequent scenario. You want to use a domain, but someone already bought it in the past. And if you’re not using it, knowing who owns it could give you a chance to buy it. Of course, you should bear in mind that the current owner will surely want to make a profit, but if it is the name that fits what you are looking for, you may have to give up.
  • If a website has defamed you: If you believe that the content on a site is defamatory and you want to take legal action, it may be helpful to know who is responsible.

How to find out who owns a domain


Alternative 1: WHOIS

ICANN is the organization responsible for the administration of domain names globally. As such, it has a tool that allows you to know who the owner of a website is: Lookup, although historically it had been known as WHOIS.

Each time a domain is registered, ICANN is notified by the entity or company responsible for managing them locally. In this way, these data become part of the WHOIS directory.

To find the information, you just need to enter the domain name you are looking for and check if you find what you are looking for. In some cases, you can find information about the owners, although it will not always be possible, for which you will have to resort to local registrars. Anyway, the domain expiration date will always be available.

Alternative 2: local registrar

If the domain you want to discover is not available, a second option is to check with the local registrar, which is the entity responsible for managing the domains by geographic location or by category. Sometimes these organizations do not provide personal data, such as addresses or telephone numbers, but they do provide tools to put you in contact with the owners.

These are some of the entities in charge of managing the domains by country or subject:

Anyway, a complete list is available at IANA.

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