This article provides an overview of:
  • What’s in the WHOIS database
  • How to update your domain privacy settings
  • How to perform a WHOIS lookup
  • Anonymized email address forwarding

What’s in the WHOIS database

The WHOIS database stores information about domains such as the following:
  • Registration contact information for registrant, admin, and technical contacts
  • Sponsoring registrar 
  • Creation, update, and expiration dates
  • Name servers and domain statuses
Information stored in the WHOIS database may or may not be published, based on the user’s settings. The registry also controls which fields are displayed.

How to update your domain privacy settings

You can change your privacy settings at any time with these steps: 

  1. Sign in to Google Domains.
  2. Select the name of your domain.
  3. Open the menu Menu.
  4. Click Registration settings.
  5. Scroll to Privacy protection.
  6. Select a privacy option by turning the switch on or off:
    1. Privacy protection is on (private registration).
    2. Privacy protection is off (public registration).

Note: In rare cases, like in an investigation of a dispute, you may not be able to update your contact information. 

How to look up information in WHOIS

You can use WHOIS to search for domain information in Google Domains by following these steps:

  1. Search for the domain in Google Domains.
  2. Under Results, click More options.
  3. Click Find out who owns this domain.

Note: If you see a green check icon , it means there's no match for the domain in the WHOIS database and it’s available for registration.

If you want to see the anonymized email address of a domain name registrant in the WHOIS output for thick gTLDs, you need to query WHOIS directly against Google Domains' WHOIS Server. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal on your computer.
  2. Use the following command to query against Domains' WHOIS Server where example.app is the domain you’re querying[server]$ whois -h whois.google.com example.app
  3. If Domains is the Registrar of Record for the queried domain name, you’ll see the WHOIS output. Otherwise, you’ll see '% No entries found'.

Use the RDAP server to look up domains

As an alternative to WHOIS, you can use Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) to look up public domain contact info and make queries to the Domains server. RDAP includes support for domains with special characters (Internationalized Domain Names), secure access to data, and the ability to provide differentiated access to registration data. Learn more about the benefits of utilizing the RDAP server.

Tip: To learn how to make RDAP queries, check out our developer documentation.

Anonymized email address forwarding

If you turn on privacy protection or choose to limit the information that’s available in WHOIS, an anonymized email address (e.g. obrs8XXXlje@proxyregistrant.email) may be shown in WHOIS to let people contact you about your domain. 

Note: If you turn privacy off for a thick gTLD, Domains returns an anonymized email in WHOIS.

The ways people can contact you depend on your registrar of record. To find out who your registrar of record is, check the list of domain endings:

  • If Key Systems is your registrar of record, WhoisProxy will forward emails sent to the anonymized email address to the WHOIS email address you provided.
  • If Google Domains is your registrar of record, Contact Privacy will forward emails to you only if they’re submitted via the https://contactprivacy.email website.

If you choose to limit the information that’s available in WHOIS, messages sent to the anonymized email address are forwarded to the contact email address you provided when you registered.

You don’t need to do anything to set up the anonymized email address or email forwarding. To view your anonymized email address, look it up in WHOIS. The anonymized email address for each domain is dynamic and may change every 5-30 days to minimize spam.

Proxy contact information for .com and .net domains

If you have a domain that ends with .com or .net and choose to show limited contact information in WHOIS, Google generally provides a proxy email address for your domain, like obrs8XXXlje@proxyregistrant.email. If someone wants to contact you about your domain, they can reach you via that email address.

WHOIS and Proxy contact information for ccTLDs

ccTLDs may have different requirements and policies for the provision of registration contact information and the use of proxy contact information. For specific ccTLD policies, including the use of proxy contact information, see our overview of supported domain endings.

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