If an article contains a URL or an e-mail address but no other details, it may still be possible to get information about the item. This isn’t intended to be a complete description, but you can find further information on the internet.

Web Pages

You can sometimes get a lot of information from the source code for a web page.  All of the browsers contain options for viewing the code and some also include code for viewing the DOM tree.  (Web pages can be altered dynamically.  The DOM tree contains the current description of the web page that the browser is trying to render.)

  • The names of the JavaScript libraries used in the page will often indicate the frameworks used in creating the web site.  For example, WordPress sites will usually reference files having wp as one of the subdirectories.
  • Many people insert comments into their HTML source code. These can contain valuable information.
  • A meta tag with the name set to generator is often used to represent the software package used to generate the page, such as Dreamweaver, WordPress, or FrontPage.

Domain Names

ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) is the overall body for coordinating standards related to the internet.  If you look at the bottom of the home page, you will see an item named WHOIS in a column marked Help.  Entering a domain name on this page will allow you see the information that was used to register the domain together with the name of the registrar and the domain name servers for resolving subdomains.

IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is part of the ICAAN organization and maintains a list of all of the top level domains. The top level domains are the part of the domain name after the last period (e.g., ORG, NET, COM, UK, US, FR, etc.)

IP Addresses

The IP address is like a telephone number in that it is the code used by other computers to communicate with your computer.  There are two types of addresses.

  • IPv4 (version 4) – This is composed of four numbers that can range from 0 to 255.  When written on paper, they are separated by periods.  For example: is the address of a web server at cnn.com and is the loopback address. (The loopback address indicates that a message is to be sent to a port on the same machine that is sending the message.)
  • IPv6 (version 6) – This is the newer format and is represented by eight numbers that can range from zero to 216-1. When written on paper, they are shown as hexadecimal numbers separated by colons. The loopback address in IPv6 is 0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1.  (A string of consecutive zeroes at the start or end can be represented by two colons, meaning that ::1 also indicates the loopback address.)

IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is part of the ICAAN organization and oversees the assignment of internet addresses. The organization is broken into several smaller groups which each handle a portion of the globe. This site also has an entry for a Whois search.

  • AFRINIC (Africa Network Information Center)
  • APNIC Asia and Pacific network information system
  • ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers) North America
  • LACNIC (Latin and Central America network information center) Latin America, Caribbean
  • RIPE ( Réseaux Internet Protocol Européens ) Europe, Middle East

The information on the master IANA may only tell me which of the regional servers to use, in which case I would have to use Whois on the regional server.

There are also some sites that provide location data for IP addresses.  Using Google, I found one at  http://www.iplocation.net.  This site also has some information on IP addresses.

Sample Search

If I wanted to get information about cnn.com, I can use the ping command on my laptop and it returns the IPv4 address

If I enter this address in the box marked Search Whois at ARIN, it will tell me that that IP address is in a block ( to ) owned by the Turner Broadcasting System and provide contact names and other information stored in the internet registry.

If I then go to ICANN and enter cnn.com in the Whois page, it will tell me that the registrar is CSC Global and that the owner of the domain is Turner Broadcasting System.

If I enter the IP address at http://www.iplocation.net;, it indicates that the server is in Atlanta, Georgia.  Because some intranets cover multiple locations, this information may be inaccurate.