Does anyone know how to configure the whois command to add in whois servers for the whois command?

FYI: it's not whois, the one that's on OSX. Would have posted in Apple version but figured I'd get more success here...


The Mac OS X whois binary has a lot of options built in, including the -h option which allows you to specify any host you want as a whois server.

     The whois utility looks up records in the databases maintained by several Network Information Centers (NICs).

 The options are as follows:

 -6      Use the IPv6 Resource Center (6bone) database.  It contains network names and addresses for the IPv6 net-

 -A      Use the Asia/Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) database.  It contains network numbers used in
         East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands.

 -a      Use the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) database.  It contains network numbers used in
         those parts of the world covered neither by APNIC nor by RIPE.

         (Hint: All point of contact handles in the ARIN whois database end with "-ARIN".)

 -b      Use the Network Abuse Clearinghouse database.  It contains addresses to which network abuse should be
         reported, indexed by domain name.

 -c country-code
         This is the equivalent of using the -h option with an argument of "country-code.whois-servers.net".

 -d      Use the US Department of Defense database.  It contains points of contact for subdomains of .MIL.

 -g      Use the US non-military federal government database, which contains points of contact for subdomains of

 -h host
         Use the specified host instead of the default variant.  Either a host name or an IP address may be speci-

All you need to know is which option corresponds to the whois server you want to search.

If you want to actually add a search option to whois that points to a new server, you'd need the source code so you can recompile it. If you run strings /usr/bin/whois, you'll notice that the servers related to the options listed above are actually hard coded into the binary.


whois as bundled with OSX has the -h switch (as shown by Tim), which specifies the host to use. As far as I am aware there is no configuration file where you can permanently set this -- the best alternative is probably to use a shell function similar to the following:

whois() { command whois -h whois.example.com "$@" ; }

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