ACSP Consultation 2013.2: Whois Output for Certain /8 Records

Consultation Tracking Information

  • Requested By: Staff
  • Status: Closed
  • Comments Opened: Linked to Discussion Archives: 04 April 2013
  • Comments Closed: 03 May 2013
  • Suggestion Number: 2013.4

Consultation Description

ARIN would like to solicit community input on a recent suggestion, 2013.4: Change Whois Output for Certain /8 records. The request asked that ARIN suppress the RIR /8 output in a Whois query when a more specific Direct Allocation (DA) or Direct Assignment (DS) record exists, and instead, display the DA or DS record only.

Command-line Whois clients rely on ARIN’s Whois to provide referral server information where it exists, so that the IP address query can be properly referred and resolved. This includes not only ISP Rwhois server information, but also other RIRs’ Whois server information.

Queries for IPv4 addresses within /8’s that ARIN is fully authoritative for are properly referred. For example, if you look up an IPv4 address in an ARIN /8, ARIN’s Whois will provide the direct registration record, as well as referral server information. The Whois clients pick up on this data, and refer queries as appropriate.

The issue is that queries of address records residing within /8s for which another RIR is authoritative for (also referred to as “ERX space”) will not make the proper referral due to limitations of the Rwhois referrals. When you query for an IPv4 address in one of these ranges, ARIN Whois currently provides two answers:

  • the /8 record of the authoritative RIR; and
  • the direct allocation or direct assignment record for the ARIN client

This behavior breaks the referral mechanism of Whois clients.

ARIN has two choices regarding the behavior described above and would like the community¹s feedback on which one is the best course of action, seeking input on the two proposed solutions below:

  1. Change today’s behavior so that if a DA or DS record exists in ARIN’s Whois, ARIN will publish only the DA or DS record. If the query does not produce a DA or DS record, ARIN will publish the /8 record of the authoritative RIR and the referral to that RIR’s Whois server.
  2. Continue today’s behavior, ensuring that all IP address queries are responded to with the proper RIR information. But the referral server problem described here will continue to be a problem for ARIN-issued registrations in these ERX /8s.

Please provide comments to You can subscribe to this mailing list at: Discussion on will close on 3 May 2013. ARIN seeks clear direction through community input, so your feedback is important. If you have any questions, please contact us at

ARIN Actions

The ARIN community consultation on a proposed change to Whois output for certain /8 records is now closed. We thank everyone who voiced their opinion regarding this consultation. Based on feedback received and internal staff deliberation, ARIN’s directory services (Whois and Whois-RWS) will be modified to publish only the DA or DS record for an allocation made in a /8 where another RIR manages that particular /8. If there is no corresponding DA or DS record in ARIN’s service for that /8, ARIN will publish the /8 of the authoritative RIR and the referral to that particular RIR’s directory service.

This suggestion will be added to the list of outstanding projects awaiting prioritization found at: