Difference Between ICANN and WHOIS

Are you looking for what is the main difference between ICANN and WHOIS?

As a short answer, both are private companies responsible for their task to provide public and private services related to the Internet.

ICANN maintains and provides all the domain registrar, IP address provider, and DNS systems of the central internet. Where WHOIS is a private company selling digital products and services. Additionally WHOIS stores and provide a public database of internet identifier information as a contractor of ICANN.

To learn more about ICANN vs WHOIS in a detailed guide.

Let’s get started.

What is ICANN and How Do They Work?

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (also known as ICANN) is a public non-profitable organization registered as a private company responsible for maintaining Internet standards.

Their main function includes maintenance, and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation. ICANN also maintains the IANA.

Typically, ICANN’s role is to serve as a central repository for all IP addresses, and DNS systems and maintain registrars who are responsible for the public domain registration process.

What is WHOIS and How Do They Work?

Whois (aka Who is), is the world’s most popular online identity provider that offers a wide range of digital products and services to store and protect your digital data.

Under the ICANN contract, WHOIS can be used for a public database of all domain registrants with up-to-date information and accurate contact details. That is displayed publicly in the Whois database.

They also sell domain name registrations, web hosting services, website builders, email account hosting, and SSL certificates.

Whois privacy protection work as a proxy server to show anonymous data to the Whois lookup.

Read more about our detailed guide to What is Whois and How they work.

Do I Need WHOIS Privacy Protection for the Domain?

Whois privacy is essential if you want to keep your domain contract details private. Otherwise, it can be accessed by anyone. To enable Whois privacy on your domain, it protects you from unauthorized sales calls, and suspicious links to your e-mail, and overall, it protects you and your website from all kinds of hacking attempts.

What is the Difference Between ICANN and WHOIS?

ICANN is a large group of authorities specializing in distributing and maintaining internet infrastructure to ensure a stable network and all types of security and services, whereas WHOIS is a small private company contracted with ICANN to store all the public domain information and can be displayed in the Whois database.

Generally, people are using WHOIS privacy protection for hiding the domain’s original data and can show alternative contact information on Whois public database. This is done by using a WHOIS server (TCP port 43) for requests from WHOIS clients.

They are also selling the digital products I’ve already mentioned above.

About Whois Domain Lookup vs. ICANN Domain Lookup

These two services are almost identical. The ICANN lookup tool gives you the ability to look up the domain, IP address, or ASN current registration data with a detailed view whereas Whois shows only the registrant details by domain and IP address.


For a domain lookup tool, we can expect up-to-date information to know who is behind the domain, IP, or other internet identifier numbers managed by ICANN and securely stored by WHOIS.

Hope this comparison guide to ICANN vs WHOIS was helpful today.

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