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Public survey on the access and publication of the AFNIC database

Home > Observatory and resources > News > Public survey on the access and publication of the AFNIC database


As a registry, the AFNIC manages a database that can be accessed by everybody through different channels (DNS, Whois…).
For any domain name, this access allows to find the details concerning the holder, the creation and anniversary dates, the details of the
administrative and technical contacts and the servers on which it is installed.
This is what is commonly called the “Whois”. Using this database can also help knowing if a .fr domain name is available.

As the .fr registry, the AFNIC’s mission is to maintain this database. The AFNIC defines the terms and conditions for its access.


Until now, the data from the “Whois” can be accessed free of charge by anyone on a simple request (for a domain name) through the
AFNIC’s website ( or through the registrars that offer this feature. The registrars members of the AFNIC have access to specific features to answer their needs in terms of .fr domain portfolio handling.

Created for technical and administrative purposes, the Whois database is used more and more for judicial, administrative or commercial puposes.

The ways to handle and publish Whois data are very different from one TLD to the other (.com, .org, .de, .uk…). Some registries publish detailed information when others have a more restrictive policy to protect personal data of domain holders and contacts. The current tendency within the European Union is to find a balance between local laws and the confidence of users in the supervised publishing of grant the access to the data only to some specific actors (registrars…) and according to specific terms and conditions.

Evolution reflections

The AFNIC wishes to update and formalise its data access and publication policy by supervising juridically, when necessary, the data utilization by third parties. It seems important for the AFNIC to associate to its reflection a large range of users and experts that can express different needs and enrich the service brought to the Internet community.

Your time to speak!

You are an Internet user, a domain name holder, a registrar, an intellectual property law office, or other, don’t hesitate, you can help us in our reflection.
You can participate by answering our questionnaire, even partially, and send your contribution between February 27th and March 20th, 2007, 5pm.
Update on March 23rd 2007: you can send your contributions until March 26th 2007, 5pm.

Download the questionnaire in PDF
(326 Ko) (in French only!)

You can send us your answers:

by filling out directly the writable PDF document and attaching it to an e-mail, on (please note you must have the complete version of Acrobat and not only a PDF reader such as Acrobat Reader);
by giving your answers directly in the body of an e-mail (with the number or the title of each question) on;
by Post after printing and filling out the document. The letter can be sent with the following mention: “Réponse à la consultation publique sur la publication et l’accès aux données de la base AFNIC” at the following address: AFNIC, Immeuble International, 78181 Saint Quentin en Yvelines Cedex.

The AFNIC may publish totally or partially the answers received, unless their author explicitly mentions their refusal. In this case, we strongly advise the author to seperate in an appendix the elements considered as confidential.

The AFNIC will make a synthesis that will be published. The trends that the AFNIC should follow will be published before summer 2007.

About the AFNIC

(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération)

Non-profit organization, the AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
The AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives
from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service
Further information

About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.