Who is in charge of formatting?

Posted on May 7, 2013


We recently added a new SEO tool that can check the age of your domain and compare it against other sites. After a lengthy search I discovered we could query the Whois server for that particular domain and get back some results. ‘Great!’ I thought and proceeded to write a script to parse those results.

What the?…

After querying some .co.uk results I started to notice that the script would fail. This seemed curious until I checked the complete results and noticed that their format was different. I put this down to the .co.uk and .com differences and made some adjustments, but I encountered another failed result. The more sites I checked the more results would come back in a completely different format. Extra exceptions had to be added to the list as each new top level domain brought a new set of issues and formatting.


XML could be used to feedback useful results from your servers and would negate the need for people to have to write so many exceptions to compensate for the “created on..: created…: domain creation date:” type labels that are present at the moment.

Where does the solution lie?

There are paid services that would give us the results in a useful format but this is a workaround and not a permanent solution. Ideally we would have one place to query, but there is always the worry that this information could be abused. Most people with a domain name will be aware when they receive exorbitant demands to renew the domain registration, someone is using the Whois details against the Whois terms of use.

When will it end..?

I am still now encountering new exceptions that adjust for the various information formats, but you will find our tool useful and interesting. Maybe one day, the data will be in a concise and well formatted standard, but until then, feel free to find me more exceptions.

Steven is Engage Web’s go-to man for all things web-related, bringing his knowledge of current trends in web design and development to the team.
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