Would you like to know whether a .nl domain name is still available for registration? Or maybe you'd like to know who owns an existing name? If so, you need the Whois – an easy-to-use search engine on SIDN's website. On this page you will find more information about what a domain name is, how the Whois works and how the privacy of personal data is protected. Alternatively, you can go straight to Look for a domain name.
I'm looking for a domain name
The Whois is an easy-to-use tool for checking the availability of a domain name.
- If the domain name is available, you can register it through a registrar.
- If the domain name is already taken, you can see who has registered it.
Please note: the Whois on our website provides information about .nl domain names only.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a unique internet name, which you can use for personal e-mail, or for an internet website, for example. Read our comprehensive information about what a domain name is and the conditions that you have to meet.
How does the Whois work?
The Whois can tell you what a domain name's status is and provide information about existing domain names. In a twenty-four-hour period, you can make up to five hundred status enquiries from any given IP address. However, you can only look up the details of an existing domain name's registrant fifteen times a day.
Domain name statuses
If you look up a domain name, the Whois will tell you what its status is. The possible statuses are:
- Free: the .nl domain name is still available for registration.
- Withdrawn: the .nl domain name cannot be registered for technical reasons. Only the following domain names are withdrawn: ftp.nl, mail.nl, nl.nl, www.nl.
- Excluded: the .nl domain name is excluded from registration.
- Requested: an application for the .nl domain name is being processed by SIDN.
- Active: the .nl domain name has already been registered. (If you want to know who has registered the name, tick the ‘Acceptance’ box. You will then be shown more information about whoever has registered the name.)
- Inactive: the .nl domain name has already been registered, but has not yet been added to the .nl zone file. (If you want to know who has registered the name, tick the ‘Acceptance’ box. You will then be shown more information about whoever has registered the name.)
- In quarantine: the .nl domain name's registration has been cancelled. Following cancellation, a domain name is placed in quarantine for forty days.
- Information available from the Whois
You can use the Whois to look up the following details of an existing .nl domain name:
- Domain name
- Domain name’s status (see above for details)
- Registrant’s name: the name of the person or organisation that has registered the domain name
- Administrative contact’s e-mail address: the e-mail address that may be used for administrative questions about the domain name; you may use the address to contact the domain name's registrant
- Reseller: the name of the business through which the domain name was registered (a reseller is not an SIDN registrar)
- Registrar: the name of the registrar that actually registered the domain name with SIDN
- Technical contact: the e-mail address that may be used for technical questions about the domain name (often the registrar's e-mail address)
- Domain name’s name servers: the name servers for the domain
- Registration date: the date on which the domain name was first registered
- Date last updated: the date on which the domain name's registration was most recently updated
- Record maintained by: the domain name is administered by the Dutch registry, SIDN.
Accessing the Whois from the command line
You can give your computer's operating system (Unix, Windows or DOS) a command to look up the status of a domain name or retrieve more detailed information.
Status enquiry: Whois -h Whois.domain-registry.nl 'is [domain name, e.g. 'sidn.nl']'
Look up details of an existing domain name: Whois -h Whois.domain-registry.nl [domain name, e.g. 'sidn.nl']
The Whois and privacy
The Whois can be used to look up details of an existing domain name's registration. Because that raises potential privacy issues, you have to tick an 'Acceptance' box to confirm that you accept our privacy rules. Read more about the protection of Whois data in SIDN and privacy.
Look for a domain name in the Whois.
The organization of the Internet
How the internet works: background, policy, oversight and operation.
How our organisation is structured.
Complaining about a registrar
If you are unhappy about something your registrar has done or a dispute arises between you and your registrar, there are various ways of seeking a solution.