How to Find the Host of a Site

This is a guest video post by Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today. In this video, he shows you how to find out the web host of any website using these two sites, Who Is Hosting This and Domain Tools.

Rough Transcript

Hello, everyone. My name is Jonathan Bailey and I’m from the website Plagiarism Today, which can be found at plagiarismtoday.com. Today I’m going to show you how to find the host of any website on the internet. This is a useful skill to have in case you need to file a copyright or other kind of abuse report on the site. Know who the host is can tell you who to contact and get the infringing works remove in a very expeditious manner.

Specifically today, I will show you how to use two tools. One is a very basic tool that’s easy to use and also has some very powerful features. The other one is the more robust networking tool. It’s a little more complicated to use but it can provided slightly more accurate results.

The first tool I’m going to show you is Who Is Hosting This. You can find this site at whoishostingthis.com. If you pull up the site, you’ll see that it’s a very simple search engine interface. Now, we’re actually going to use my site as a test because I know who’s hosting it and we can use it as a control example.

So, what we’re going to do is type in my domain and then hit “search”. And after a few seconds of spinning, we should have the results from Who Is Hosting This. As you can see, it has in very bold letters, it says “plagiarismtoday.com” and it’s hosted by Layered Technologies. Indeed, that is who I host with.

Also, if you scroll down, you’ll see a variety of information including, once again reaffirming the hosting, the IP address, the nameservers that are used, and you can do a whois search to find who is registered on the domain, in this case it would be me although I use the domain privacy service to prevent my personal address from being leaked on the internet.

This is a very simple and basic tool. It’s very effective and it works in a lot of difficult cases. The other side of the coin is you have to do a reality check when you use this. Who Is Hosting This does a lot complicated checks whenever it tries to find out who the host of a site is and the result is not always reliable. So, use your own head in addition to Who Is Hosting This. Still, if you’re not very familiar with networking tools, Who Is Hosting This is a great place to start and likely the only tool you need to know.

The second site I’m going to show you is Domain Tools. You can find this one at domaintools.com. As you can see once again, it has a very Google like interface. Here you have a whois lookup box. We’ll type “plagiarismtoday.com” once again and click “search”. And you’ll get a page very soon.

This one is much more complicated and involved. You’ll have information about the front page itself. You’ll have some indexed data like if it’s in DMOZ, some estimated traffic statistics, and down here is the server data, which is what we’re really looking at.

As you can see, there is an IP address bar. It offers whois, reverse-ip, ping, DNS lookup, and traceroute. All very powerful tools. And below that it has the IP location with the visible American flag, Texas, Plano, and Layered Technologies. Once again, indeed, that is the correct host.

Sometimes though, it might not have the host in the IP location, at least not enough information for you to find the actual site. So, we’ll click “Whois” and what this performs is known as an IP whois search, which will find out whois the owner of that particular IP address, which is of course doled out by ICANN and other regulatory organizations. So, click the “Whois” button and you’ll be taken to a page that has information for that particular IP address.

Scroll down and it has all the information you need to know about my host and the IP address itself. As you can see, it has the domain layeredtech.com and it also has the email address [email protected], where you can file abuse complaints to, and other information there. Now, typically speaking when we’re look to file copyright or abuse complaints, we’re going to visit the host site and find their information there. However, in some cases, this might be where you have to get the information. So, it’s important to keep Domains Tools in mind for this very reason.

Also, Domain Tools, since it relies solely on networking tools, with a little human analysis, can be the more reliable way. In general though, I recommend using both tools. If both tools seem to agree on who the host is, then you can feel reasonably assured you have the answer. If they’re coming up with different results, it’s time to go in Domains Tools, dig a little deeper, and see if you can find something else out.

With this in mind, you can easily find the host of a site in a few short minutes and if you need additional tips, you can visit me at plagiarismtoday.com for further details.