What is RDAP?

Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) is the successor to the ageing WHOIS protocol, like WHOIS, RDAP provides access to information about internet resources: domain names, autonomous systems and IP addresses, although does so using a fundamentally different approach in order to account for the shortcomings of the traditional WHOIS protocol.

RDAP is used for querying resource registration data from Domain Name Registries (DNRs) like DNS and Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). RDAP’s “bootstrap” functionality enables a query to go beyond a singular searches of registry operators and enables a search of all registration data in the RDAP service. This rules out the possibility of a query returning as “not available” and instead re-route to the authoritative server in order to retrieve the relevant data. This enables broader searches while at the same time minimising the amount of data that is routinely transferred from one entity to another.

Why is RDAP being implemented?

It’s implementation aims to change and standardise data access and query response formats and has several advantages over the WHOIS protocol, including:

  • A machine-readable representation of registration data;
  • Differentiated access;
  • Structured request and response semantics;
  • Internationalisation;
  • Extensibility.

How DNS is making use of the RDAP Protocol

The initial implementation phase of RDAP into our systems went smoothly. However, authenticated access is nowhere near as standardised as the rest of the RDAP and development for this stage is currently in progress.

RDAP is currently in place for all ZACR (Registry Africa) TLDs. We were part of the early testing phase of RDAP for the RyCE domains and, following this, RDAP is now in place for all RyCE TLDs. Our next project involves implementing RDAP to the second level domains on all of our systems.

By using the RDAP protocol on our systems, we expect to improve overall functionality service efficiency and delivery on our platforms.

Plans for the future of RDAP at DNS

Further development on authenticated access is still in progress and we plan to extend this development as the community standardises. We are now working on developing RDAP for second level domains, including co.za for ZACR, a Registry client of DNS. We intend to use RDAP as the long-term replacement for WHOIS, however, for the time-being, we plan to use both protocols in simultaneously until development of RDAP on all domains has been completed.

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