All WHOIS services I've used on the Web have some limit on number of queries per day or per hour. However, the limit of the whois command on UNIX doesn't seem to be specified anywhere.

  • Maybe there is none? Have you encountered any limits? In such case, what error message did you receive?
    – Avada Kedavra
    Jul 20 '12 at 23:07
  • 1
    yes i encountered. it simply takes forever to whois the next domain :D no error reported.
    – Chan Le
    Jul 21 '12 at 7:41

Your local linux box wont have a limit.

Web based ones will put a limit on to stop one user (/bot) from making zillions of requests and chewing up the service provider's data allowance/bandwidth/cpu/whatever other resources they are charged by.

  • 3
    So who does my local linux box contact to get the whois info? I mean it got to get the info somewhere on the web?
    – user4951
    Oct 30 '13 at 13:38

Command line whois, is a network client that talks to remote whois servers. Query limits on these servers exist, and are rather arbitrary and at the discretion of the registrar.

Here's an example using netcat (nc) to just send the domain name to the whois port on the whois server of the registrar DomainPeople.

$ echo foo.ca | nc whois.domainpeople.com 43
Domain name:           foo.ca
Domain status:         registered
Creation date:         2000/11/09
Expiry date:           2012/12/01
Updated date:          2010/10/22

% WHOIS look-up made at 2012-07-21 04:03:32 (GMT)
% Use of CIRA's WHOIS service is governed by the Terms of Use in its Legal
% Notice, available at http://www.cira.ca/legal-notice/?lang=en 
% (c) 2010 Canadian Internet Registration Authority, (http://www.cira.ca/)
  • 2
    So to emphasize, each individual whois server will have its own limit. Some of them are quite small, others are basically unlimited; a significant portion of them do not publish their limits, but will refuse you if you exceed them.
    – tripleee
    Jan 22 '13 at 11:11
  • Thanks for answering in such a way that enables us to explore and discover more for ourselves.
    – rinogo
    Jun 28 '21 at 23:11

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