This application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/894,904, filed Jun. 29, 2001, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/215,763, filed Jun. 30, 2000, the content of each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to a whois database, and more particularly, a system, method, and article of manufacture for maintaining and accessing a whois database.
2. Background Information
In recent years, the Internet has experienced explosive growth and success mainly because it provides users with quick access to a vast array of resources through web sites setup by organizations and individuals. Each web site may have a web address or a hierarchical address (e.g., www.networksolutions.com) that a user may use to access the web site. A hierarchical address may include a host name and a domain name (e.g., networksolutions.com).
Before a domain name is activated, however, one must register a domain name with a registrar (e.g., Network Solutions, Inc.) and provide to the registrar registration information, such as domain name, name, address, administrative contact, technical contact, billing contact, and name server information, The registrar may store the registration information in a registrar database and provide some or all of the registration information to the Internet registry responsible for maintaining registered domain names.
The registrar may also store some or all of the registration information in a whois database, which many users use to obtain domain name information. For example, one may query the whois database to determine if a domain name has already been registered by someone else or to obtain other information, such as contact information for the administrator of a domain name. Domain name information may include registration information and other related information, such as the date and time when a record is last updated. Although the whois database is generally used for obtaining domain name information, it may also be used to obtain information about persons, name servers, hosts, etc.
One problem with the present whois database, however, is that its information may not be current because of delays in copying current registration information from the registrar database. For example, on a given day, the registrar may process several new registrations. In addition to new registrations, a registrar may modify or delete several records existing in the registrar database. Then, at the end of the day, the registrar may make a copy of the entire registrar database, and from the copy of the registrar database, the registrar may copy the registration information for each record into a whois database. This two-stage copy process may take a substantial amount of time (e.g., a few hours or even days in some instances) depending on the size of the registrar database. Moreover, in some cases, the registrar database may include other information in addition to registration information, such as information on products and employees, and thus the copying process may take even more time. Furthermore, in some cases, the registration information may need to be converted into another format before it is copied into the whois database, thus causing further delays in transferring the registration information to the whois database.
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OF A FEW ASPECTS OF THE INVENTION
To address the above and other problems of the prior art, methods and systems are provided for maintaining and accessing a whois database. Such methods and systems track modifications to a registrar database that includes information about domain names. Based on the tracked modifications, one or more records including modified information about the domain names may be identified. Then, identifiers for the identified one or more records may be determined and the modifications may be reflected in the whois database based on the determined identifiers. The modifications may be tracked on a real-time basis and may be reflected in the whois database on an hourly or a real-time basis. The whois database may be accessed using, for example, a Java database connectivity (JDBC) interface.
A flat file database and index files from the whois database may also be generated so that information, including domain name information, can be retrieved from the flat file database instead of the whois database.
Both the foregoing and the following description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the claimed invention as opposed to limiting it in any manner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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The accompanying drawings are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, and together with the description, explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is an exemplary block diagram of a system, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an exemplary block diagram of a registrar computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 3 is an exemplary block diagram of a whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an exemplary block diagram of a service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is an exemplary flowchart illustrating the steps performed by an update process in a whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 6 is an exemplary flowchart illustrating the steps performed by a whois service process in a service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;
FIG. 7 is an exemplary block diagram of another whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is an exemplary block diagram of another service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention.
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The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. While the description includes exemplary embodiments, other embodiments are possible and changes may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The following detailed description does not limit the invention. Instead, the appended claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.
Methods and systems are provided to facilitate maintenance and access to a whois database. In one embodiment, a system may include one or more client computers, a registrar computer, a whois computer, and a service computer. The registrar computer may include a registrar database that includes registration information, such as domain name and name and address of the owner of this registered domain name. Whenever a record is added, deleted, or changed in the registrar database, a database management system or another process on the registrar computer may write the identifier corresponding to the added, deleted, or changed record in an audit file.
From the audit file, an update process running on the whois computer may, either periodically or on a real-time basis, extract the identifiers and update a whois database located on the whois computer by, for example, adding, deleting, or changing the information in the records corresponding to the identifiers.
In addition, a user at the client terminal may request information, such as domain name information from the service computer, which in turn may request the information from the whois database. The whois computer retrieves the requested information and sends it to the service computer, which may then display it to the user. Both the whois computer and the service computer may include a java database connectivity (JDBC) interface for processing these requests.
In another embodiment, the whois computer may include a dump process to create a flat file database from the whois database and an index process to create one or more index files for retrieving data from the flat file database. In addition, the whois computer not limit the invention. Instead, the appended claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.