GDPR and its Effects

GDPR is almost here and here is a quick note about how it might affect our domain name management tools.

The effects of GDPR will depend on what you have been using the software for. There shouldn’t be any issues if you have been using it to manage your own domains. The technical data will continue to be available as part of port 43 lookups. You can still monitor the expiry dates, name servers, MX records, SSL data etc.

Monitoring the technical data related to your domains is going to be more important in the post GDPR world because there is likely to be a higher incidence of domain thefts in the short term. Some registrars have already started adding security features because of GDPR.

The personal information will most likely disappear from whois. This has already happened for many TLDs / registrar whois outputs. For example, the personal information was already not available for domains that use proxy addresses, many ccTLDs and even the new TLDs like .APP. GoDaddy has been masking some information for a while now.

You can use registrar APIs instead of port 43 whois to obtain the data for your domains. Please see below.

Changes to Transfer Process

The domain transfer process (from one registrar to another) will be undergoing some changes because the gaining registrar will no longer be able to lookup the email addresses. So it is even more important to keep an eye on your name servers, associated IP addresses and domain dates.

Use Registrar APIs instead of Whois

You can use registrar APIs to import domains and obtain the domain information. Currently GoDaddy, Namecheap, Dynadot and Resellerclub are supported. Please see

Registrar API Support

for more details. We are hoping to add support for more registrars.

If you use a registrar and they don’t provide an API for customers, you should probably contact them and request them politely to consider doing so.

Registrar API Setup

How to Search & Find Domains in Domain Punch Pro

If you have a large number of domains in Domain Punch Pro, you may want to search for domains based on their length or occurrence of a word. For example, you may want to list and then move all domains that are 7 characters or less into a specific category.

You can do this using the ‘Containing Word’ filer and the ‘Find’ Dialog. Please see the screenshot below.

You can already do this in Watch My Domains ISP using the Find dialog (Ctrl-F keypress). Domain Punch Pro doesn’t use an actual database for storage so the option to do this is slightly different.

Containing words filter in Domain Punch Pro

Example Searches

  • Use web* to find domains that start with the word web
  • Use *web to find domains that start end the word web
  • Use #9 to find domains that are 9 chars long
  • Use #<9 to find domains that are less than 9 chars long
  • Use #>9 to find domains that are more than 9 chars long

Permanently Categorizing Filtered Domains

After you have filtered all the domains that you want, you can move them into a category of its own.

  1. First create a new category by right clicking on the ‘Domain Categories’ tree header (left pane) and selecting ‘Add New Category’.
  2. Select all the filtered domains in the domain table (right click, ‘Select all domains’ menu)
  3. Use the Categorize selection (right click, ‘Domain Categories > Categorize Selection’ menu) to move the domains into a category of its own.

Domain Parking in the Era of “Not Secure” Warnings

Google Chrome will start showing a “Not Secure” message from October 2017 when a form is filled in a regular HTTP page. This will affect many parked domain sites that have a contact form (there is a post about this at DomainNameWire.Com).

Buying SSL Certificates for all the domains, even at the low $3-$5 price range,  is not a great solution when your portfolio contains hundreds or thousands of domains.

Fortunately there is a free option.

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority that provides free and renewable 90 day SSL certificates. With a little bit of help from scripts it is also possible to automate the issue and renewals of the SSL certificates.

You can use Let’s Encrypt to create a single certificate that will support upto a 100 domains. There is also no need to have a unique IP address for each site (though this will not work for end users with XP + IE systems).

There are some problems when using SSL for hundreds of domains. For simple HTTP parked pages one could simply point all the domains to a standard web page / script and then use a single web server configuration. With HTTPS a separate web server configuration is required for each domain. This will make the job a little complicated when you have hundreds or thousands of domains to configure.

There are some rate limits on the certificates that are issued by Let’s Encrypt. Please see the details here.

You may need to contact your hosting provider to get them to support and install Let’s Encrypt certificates. If you are on a VPS or dedicated server and have root access you should be able to do this yourself.

Watch this space and domainpunch.com for additional hints and help on this.

API Whois Script for GoDaddy Domains

It has become very difficult to obtain registrar data for domains registered at GoDaddy because most of the important information is hidden if you do more than a few port 43 whois lookups using whois.godaddy.com.

We have released a simple API based script for obtaining the data for your own domains registered at GoDaddy.  You can use this along with any of our domain management software tools.

Please Note:  This will work only for your own domains registered at GoDaddy. You can’t use it to find data for domains that belong to other people.

Please see knowledge base article: GoDaddy Whois API

GoDaddy API Whois Script

Thick Whois Transition for COM/NET Domains

The COM and NET registry is in the process of transitioning into thick whois format and the registrar whois server token has changed in the registry whois. While this may or may not be related to the transition it has caused the secondary whois lookups to not occur in all our domain name management software tools. You can easily fix this with a simple configuration change.

We will be updating all the software products on Monday (July 31, 2017) after which this manual configuration will not be required.  We have updated most of our software products.

Windows Desktop Software

Right click on any COM domain and select “Whois Setup > Basic Whois Settings”. Scroll down to the entry for “Whois Server Token” and enter

Registrar WHOIS Server:

as the token. Press ‘Close’. Redo the lookup.  Please don’t change the alphabet case, enter exactly as above.

Whois Server Setup

Watch My Domains SED

Click on the “Whois Setup” button and type in COM into the TLD box and click click “Go”. Select the “Extraction” tab and add the following extraction data for the whois.crsnic.net whois server

[*]=>*
Registrar WHOIS Server:=>whois_server

Click the “Submit Changes” button to save.

Please don’t change the alphabet case, enter exactly as above. See here for details about extraction tokens.

Watch My Domains SED parse table

Watch My Domains Mac

Click on any COM domain in your domain list and select “Edit >> Registry Whois Setup” from the application menu. Click on the “Parse Tab;e” tab and add the following extraction entry into the parse table for whois.crsnic.net

Registrar WHOIS Server:=>whois_server

Please don’t change the alphabet case, enter exactly as above. See here for details about parse table and extraction tokens.

Watch My Domains Parse Table for COM

Configuring IO Domains in Watch My Domains Mac

Do you have trouble extracting the relevant information for IO domains in Watch My Domains Mac?

The correct whois server for IO domains is whois.nic.io

You will also need to configure the parse table for IO to the following:

Expiry=>Expiry Date
Status=>Status
NS 1=>Name Server
NS 2=>Name Server
NS 3=>Name Server
NS 4=>Name Server
Owner Name=>Owner

 

Please see the screen-shot below.

IO TLD setup in Watch My Domains

 

Expiry Date Problem for ORG & INFO Domains

Update: Instead of this manual fix, you may also just update your installation to the latest build. If you are running the latest major version, just download the latest build and install over your existing installation.

If you are running an older version of Watch My Domains Pro/ISP or Domain Punch Pro you will have to do the manual fix mentioned below (you may also consider obtaining an upgrade).


The registry expiry dates for .ORG and INFO domains may appear blank in the various Windows versions of our domain management software tools. This is because of some recent changes in the ORG / INFO whois output and can be easily fixed with a manual configuration change.


Right click on any .ORG / .INFO domain and select…

“Whois Setup > Basic Whois Settings”

Then enter

Registry Expiry Date:

as the Expiry Date Token.  Then redo the lookups or use the “Whois Setup > Parse Registry Whois” option from the right click menu.

Please see the screen shots below.

How to Extract Data into Custom Columns in Watch My Domains Server / Cloud Edition

Watch My Domains SED supports unlimited number of custom data columns.  You can also automatically extract data into these columns after a whois lookup.

Global Extraction Tokens

Global extraction tokens are strings present in raw whois text that identify the data you want to extract. You should first identify the extract string tokens that you want to use. You can find more details here.

If the raw whois contains

Registrant Organization: ABCD Inc

and you want to extract ABCD Inc into a custom column called Registrant Org, you will need to create global tokens similar to

[*]=>*
Registrant Organization:=>registrant_org

(The database field for Registrant Org will be registrant_org. You can convert column names to field names by making everything lowercase and replacing blank spaces with underscore).

The first line

[*]=>*

is always needed to load the default parse table. 

To add global extraction tokens, click the ‘Whois Setup’ button in the sidebar and open the ‘Extraction’ tab. Type in * as the whois server and click ‘Go’.  Then specify the extraction tokens and click ‘Submit Changes’.

Global Extraction Tokens