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Manual Reference Pages  -  NET::XWHOIS (3)

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Net::XWhois - Whois Client Interface for Perl5.



 use Net::XWhois;

 $whois = new Net::XWhois Domain => "" ;
 $whois = new Net::XWhois Domain => "",
                          Server => "",
                          Retain => 1,
                          Parser => {
                             nameservers => nserver:\s+(\S+),


The Net::XWhois class provides a generic client framework for doing Whois queries and parsing server response.

The class maintains an array of top level domains and whois servers associated with them. This allows the class to transparently serve requests for different tlds, selecting servers appropriate for the tld. The server details are, therefore, hidden from the user and (from InterNIC), (from RIPE) and (from are queried in the same manner. This behaviour can be overridden by specifying different bindings at object construction or by registering associations with the class. See register_associations() and new().

One of the more important goals of this module is to enable the design of consistent and predictable interfaces to incompatible whois response formats. The Whois RFC (954) does not define a template for presenting server data; consequently there is a large variation in layout styles as well as content served across servers.

(There is, however, a new standard called RPSL (RFC2622) used by RIPE (, the European main whois server.)

To overcome this, Net::XWhois maintains another set of tables - parsing rulesets - for a few, popular response formats. (See %PARSERS). These parsing tables contain section names (labels) together with regular expressions that match the corresponding section text. The section text is accessed via labels which are available as data instance methods at runtime. By following a consistent nomenclature for labels, semantically related information encoded in different formats can be accessed with the same methods.


new () Creates a Net::XWhois object. Takes an optional argument, a hash, that specifies the domain name to be queried. Calls lookup() if a name is provided. The argument hash can also specify a whois server, a parsing rule-set or a parsing rule-set format. (See personality()). Omitting the argument will create an empty object that can be used for accessing class data.
personality () Alters an object’s personality. Takes a hash with following arguments. (Note: These arguments can also be passed to the constructor).
<B>DomainB> Domain name to be queried.
<B>ServerB> Server to query.
<B>ParserB> Parsing Rule-set. See %PARSERS.

 Parser => {
   name            => domain:\s+(\S+)\n,
   nameservers     => nserver:\s+(\S+),
   contact_emails  => e-mail:\s+(\S+\@\S+),

<B>FormatB> A pre-defined parser format like INTERNIC, INTERNIC_FORMAT, RIPE, RIPE_CH, JAPAN etc.


<B>NocacheB> Force XWhois to ignore the cached records.
<B>ErrorB> Determines how a network connection error is handled. By default Net::XWhois will croak() if it can’t connect to the whois server. The Error attribute specifies a function call name that will be invoked when a network connection error occurs. Possible values are croak, carp, confess (imported from and ignore (a blank function provided by Net::XWhois). You can, of course, write your own function to do error handling, in which case you’d have to provide a fully qualified function name. Example: main::logerr.
<B>TimeoutB> Timeout value for establishing a network connection with the server. The default value is 60 seconds.


%PARSERS An associative array that contains parsing rule-sets for various response formats. Keys of this array are format names and values are hash refs that contain section labels and corresponding parser code. The parser code can either be a regex or a reference to a subroutine. In the case of a subroutine, the whois ’response’ information is available to the sub in $_[0]. Parsers can be added and extended with the register_parser() method. Also see Data Instance Methods.

  my %PARSERS  = (
   INTERNIC => {
    contact_tech    => Technical Contact.*?\n(.*?)(?=\...
    contact_zone    => Zone Contact.*?\n(.*?)(?=\s*\n[...
    contact_billing => Billing Contact.*?\n(.*?)(?=\s*...
    contact_emails  => \&example_email_parser
  { etc. ... },

 sub example_email_parser {

     # Note that the default internal implemenation for
     # the INTERNIC parser is not a user-supplied code
     # block.  This is just an instructive example.

     my @matches = $_[0] =~ /(\S+\@\S+)/sg;
     return @matches;

See for the complete definition of %PARSERS.

%WHOIS_PARSER %WHOIS_PARSER is a table that associates each whois server with their output format.

    my %WHOIS_PARSER = (       => RPSL,        => INTERNIC,             => JAPAN, => GENERIC,        => INTERNIC,         => RIPE_CH,      => TAIWAN,   => INTERNIC,     => RIPE,      => RIPE,      => CANADA,         => INTERNIC,      => KOREA,        => INTERNIC,       => RPSL,
        ( etc.....)

Please note that there is a plethora of output formats, allthough there are RFCs on this issue, like for instance RFC2622, there are numerous different formats being used!

%DOMAIN_ASSOC %DOMAIN_ASSOC is a table that associates top level domain names with their respective whois servers. You’d need to modity this table if you wish to extend the module’s functionality to handle a new set of domain names. Or alter existing information. register_association() provides an interface to this array. See for the complete definition.

    my %DOMAIN_ASSOC = (
    al =>,
    am =>,
    at =>,
    au =>,
    az =>,
    ba =>,
    be =>,

register_parser() Extend, modify and override entries in %PARSERS. Accepts a hash with three keys - Name, Retain and Parser. If the format definition for the specified format exists and the Retain key holds a true value, the keys from the specified Parser are added to the existing definition. A new definition is created when Retain is false/not specified.

 my $w = new Net::Whois;
 $w->register_parser (
    Name   => "INTERNIC",
    Retain => 1,
    Parser => {
        creation_time => created on (\S*?)\.\n,
        some_randome_entity => \&random_entity_subroutine

Instructions on how to create a workable random_entity_subroutine are availabe in the %PARSERS description, above.

register_association() Override and add entries to %ASSOC. Accepts a hash that contains representation specs for a whois server. The keys of this hash are server machine names and values are list-refs to the associated response formats and the top-level domains handled by the servers. See Net/ for more details.

 my $w = new Net::XWhois;
 $w->register_association ( => [ RIPE, [ qw/au/ ] ]

register_cache() By default, Net::XWhois caches all whois responses and commits them, as separate files, to /tmp/whois. register_cache () gets and sets the cache directory. Setting to undef will disable caching.

 $w->register_cache ( "/some/place/else" );
 $w->register_cache ( undef );


<B>Data Instance MethodsB> Access to the whois response data is provided via AUTOLOADED methods specified in the Parser. The methods return scalar or list data depending on the context.

Internic Parser provides the following methods:
<B>B>name()<B>B> Domain name.
<B>B>status()<B>B> Domain Status when provided. When the domain is on hold, this method will return On Hold string.
<B>B>nameservers()<B>B> Nameservers along with their IPs.
<B>registrantB> Registrant’s name and address.
<B>B>contact_admin()<B>B> Administrative Contact.
<B>B>contact_tech()<B>B> Technical Contact.
<B>B>contact_zone()<B>B> Zone Contact.
<B>B>contact_billing()<B>B> Billing Contact.
<B>B>contact_emails()<B>B> List of email addresses of contacts.
<B>B>contact_handles()<B>B> List of contact handles in the response. Contact and Domain handles are valid query data that can be used instead of contact and domain names.
<B>B>domain_handles()<B>B> List of domain handles in the response. Can be used for sorting out reponses that contain multiple domain names.

<B>B>lookup()<B>B> Does a whois lookup on the specified domain. Takes the same arguments as new().

 my $w = new Net::XWhois;
 $w->lookup ( Domain => "" );
 print $w->response ();


Look at example programs that come with this package. whois is a replacement for the standard RIPE/InterNIC whois client. creation overrides the Parser value at object init and gets the Creation Time of an InterNIC domain. creation2 does the same thing by extending the Class Parser. contacts queries and prints information about domain’s Tech/Billing/Admin contacts.

contribs/ containts parsers for serveral whois servers, which have not been patched into the module.


Vipul Ved Prakash <>


Curt Powell <>, Matt Spiers <>, Richard Dice <>, Robert Chalmers <>, Steinar Overbeck Cook <>, Steve Weathers <>, Robert Puettmann <>, Martin H . Sluka" <>, Rob Woodard <>, Jon Gilbert, Erik Aronesty for patches, bug-reports and many cogent suggestions.


Net::XWhois development has moved to the sourceforge mailing list, Please send all Net::XWhois related communication directly to the list address. The subscription interface is at:


 RFC 954  <>
 RFC 2622 <>


Copyright (c) 1998-2001 Vipul Ved Prakash. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.
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perl v5.20.3 NET::XWHOIS (3) 2016-03-17

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