If we are having some troubles with our current web hosting company and we are thinking to migrate to a new service or simply we want to discover what is the hosting company behind any competitor’s website, then we can rely on some online free tools that will bring this information to us.
A common way to grab this information is running a reverse DNS lookup for an existing domain name. The reverse DNS lookup will bring information associated to the DNS behind the domain name in question. This information includes the NS entries that contain the nameservers used for that domain. From the nameserver information, someone can infer the hosting company behind, unless a proxy is used (like CloudFlare for instance).
In this article, we will explore a few ways to identify which hosting company is serving a particular website.
Identify the Web Hosting Company Behind Any Website
1. Identify the hosting company using command line tools
Either in Windows or Linux, it is possible to use a command line tool to perform a reverse NS lookup.
In Windows, we can use
nslookup <domainname> to get this information.
In Linux, we can use dig tool,
dig <domainname>. We can go further and add some additional parameters to this command, like NS +noall +answer to only retrieve the information that concerns the nameservers.
For instance, we wanted to run a query to determine where a popular inspirational blog like fourhourworkweek.com (by Tim Ferriss) is hosted. So, we open the Terminal and then write the following command line.
dig Fourhourworkweek.com NS +noall +answer
The output is shown below:
; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> Fourhourworkweek.com NS +noall +answer
;; global options: +cmd
Fourhourworkweek.com. 86400 IN NS ns2.wordpress.com.
Fourhourworkweek.com. 86400 IN NS ns1.wordpress.com.
Fourhourworkweek.com. 86400 IN NS ns3.wordpress.com.
Based on this response, we can infer the site is hosted in WordPress.com, offering a WordPress premium hosting service (if you are curious, here you can learn more about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com).
2. Use HostingPilot.com, a free online service to grab the hosting company name for any website.
HostingPilot.com is a free online service that will gather some information about a domain name or website address and show it to you in a pretty way. As soon as we run a query in this website, we will get the IP address associated with the website, the location, the name server information and a guess about the hosting company behind that website.
At the time of preparing this article, we ran a query for one of the top 500 Alexa domain names and found that iPage has been used as the hosting company (iPage has been among the top hosting companies for many years, providing hosting services for small businesses, see iPage hosting review here).
Other sites like HostingPilot are available online but internally most of them work in the same way, grab the information from publicly available data like the DNS.
Finding the hosting company behind any website is possible and there are multiple approaches to get this information. If you ever wondered what is the hosting provider behind a particular website, popular or not, now you know how to do it.
Learn more here: https://hostingpilot.com