This article has been re-published with permission of MakeUseOf
By: Joel Lee
There are many reasons why you might want to find the owner of a given website. Maybe they don’t have a contacts page and you want to propose some kind of business. Maybe your favorite website is stagnant or dead and you want to take over operations.
Or maybe you want to take legal action against an illegal website.
Fortunately, you can perform an action called a WHOIS lookup which takes any given domain name (e.g. makeuseof.com) and provides information on the owner of said domain name (or at least the information that was provided when they registered it).
The WHOIS Lookup Tool by ICANN is as official as it gets since ICANN is the organization that coordinates all of the domain names around the world. That being said, there are hundreds of other tools out there that you can use (like web apps, browser extensions, etc).
Using these tools is simple — just enter the domain name. That’s really all there is to it. The resulting details include the registrar, the date it was registered, the date it’s set to expire, along with things like the registrant’s address, email, phone number, and more.
However, there is one caveat: website owners can pay for special services that hide domain registration information by masking it behind third-party companies. You can still bypass these, but most require a legal warrant to do so.