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whois is a Terminal command to look up internet registry information on a particular domain. This is useful to see if a domain is already registered without visiting one of the registrar websites. whois requires an active internet connection.


To look up information on macumors.com

 whois macrumors.com

To see if a domain is available (look for 'No match for "SOMENOTREGISTEREDDOMAIN.COM".')

 whois somenotregistereddomain.com

To see if a domain is available, filtering out all the lawyer babble. If it says "No match for...", the domain is available. If it says nothing, it's taken:

 whois somenotregistereddomain.com | grep "No match for"

Man Page Excerpt

The whois utility looks up records in the databases maintained by several Network Information Centers (NICs).