WhoIs Verification

From time to time, you may be asked by ICANN to preform a WhoIs verification to ensure that the contact information on your domain is accurate and up to date. But who is ICANN? In short, ICANN sets the policies in regards to domains and manages domain registrars worldwide. You can find more information on ICANN on their website.

It is mandated by ICANN that all domains have valid and up to date contact information. All accredited domain registers are required to preform this verification. WhoIs verification is one method they employ to ensure this is followed. Here is how is it may affect you and your domain.

Who is ICANN?

ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the organization that is tasked with managing how domains are used and managed, worldwide.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is an American multistakeholder group and nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.


In short, ICANN sets the policies in regards to domains and manages domain registrars worldwide. You can find more information on ICANN on their website.

What is WhoIs verification?

While these verification processes are referred to as WhoIs verification, the name is not really accurate. WhoIs is actually a protocol used to query databases for domain information. Anyone can preform a WhoIs lookup on any domain to collect and view any of the public information available. There are several websites or tools that you can use to preform this search.

While many registers offer products that will hide the sensitive contact information from public searches, you will be able to see some basic information, such as the expiry date, the registrar, and the domain status. While not available to the public, ICANN does require that all of the contact information is accurate and up to date. In the recent pass, a WhoIs lookup would also show all of the contact information. This is where the term WhoIs verification comes from.

An example of a WhoIs lookup using a terminal
Whois Lookup

How WhoIs verification may affect you is how ICANN ensures that your contact information is kept up to date. From time to time, your registrar will send an email to the email address on file, asking the owner to verify that the contact information is up to date. The owner will then have 14 days to confirm that they are correct, typically by clicking a link in the email.

If the domain is not verified within this time, the domain will be temporarily suspended until the information is confirmed. Depending on your current contact information, this can be an easy process, or potentially a very difficult one. This is another reason why keeping your contact information up to date is so important.

If your domain information is not up to date, mainly if your email is not active, you may not receive this verification email. You will just notice one day that your email or website is not working. Needless to say, this can be disastrous to your brand and business. And if that is not bad enough, not having the email address functioning can make getting your domain reactivated very difficult.

If your email is still active, and you find your domain suspended, you can typically check your email for the verification email and verify the contact information. Your domain will reactivate almost instantly. If you cannot find your verification email, submit a ticket to our support team and they can resend the verification.

If your email is not active, you may need to access your client area and update the contact information. Once you update the domain email address, this will trigger a new verification email. Once you receive this new verification, click the verify link to reactivate the domain.

Pro Tip:

While it may seem a good idea, you do not want to use an email account for the domain contacts that uses that domain name. For example, you should not use the email admin@example.com for the domain example.com.

If there is a problem with the domain registration, for any reason, it will be most likely that the domain will not be functioning and by extension, neither will the emails. This will cause issues when trying to reactivate the domain.

The WhoIs verification process

From time to time, your domain registrar will request that you verify that your contact information is up to date. This is ICANN policy. This can happen randomly every few years or whenever you update your contact information.

This is the process of a typical WhoIs verification:

  1. The domain registrar will initiate a verification request, whether a random request or after an update.
  2. You will receive an email to the address that is on the domain registration. This may not be the same email address as your Deluxe Hosting client area.
  3. You will have 14 days to verify the domain contact information. This is done by clicking on the Verify link in the email. during this time your domain will function as normal
  4. Once verified, you are done. You will not receive another until you update your contact information again, or you are chosen for another random verification (this should not happen often, 2-4 years).

If you do not verify your contact information, your domain will be suspended until you verify your contact information. As long as  you still have the verification email, it should still work. In the case that it does not work, or you cannot find the email, submit a ticket or contact support and we will reissue the verification request.

If you did not receive the email because the account on file was incorrect, you will need to update your contact information in your Deluxe Hosting client area. This will also trigger a new verification request to your new email account. Your domain may be unsuspended at this time, but will be suspended again if not verified in 14 days.

If you are still having issues, and need further support, please reach out to our support team using any of these methods.

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