IRRd query overview

There are three ways to query data from IRRd:

  • GraphQL queries over HTTPS

  • Whois queries over HTTPS

  • Whois queries over plain TCP sockets

The three methods are documented in detail on their own pages.

GraphQL over HTTPS

GraphQL over HTTPS is the newest and most flexible query option. It supports complex RPSL queries that can combine any set of criteria and supports related object queries, where you can explore the graph of IRR data. RPSL attributes are returned in a structured format, which means you do not need to parse RPSL objects in most cases.

GraphQL is a small query language on top of HTTPS. You will benefit from using a specific GraphQL client library, but any HTTPS client library will work. The query language is similar to JSON, the output is JSON. For reduced latency you can make multiple queries with one request. GraphQL is also where new expansions are most likely to be added.

If you are new to querying IRR data, this is the simplest place to start. As queries are served over HTTPS, transport is encrypted and authenticated.

Whois queries over HTTPS

Whois queries, in the form of !iAS-EXAMPLE,1 or -i mnt-by DEMO-MNT, can be executed over a very small HTTPS API. This API offers exactly the same query functionality as whois queries over plain TCP sockets, at a small performance cost. However, clients can use any standard HTTPS client library.

The output can be RPSL object text, or space separated lists of items. To extract RPSL attributes, you need to use your own RPSL parser. As queries are served over HTTPS, transport is encrypted and authenticated.

Whois queries over plain TCP sockets

Whois queries can also be executed over plain TCP sockets, typically on port 43. This is the most well known and traditional whois query method, and it is used by many existing tools.

This method has the highest performance, as raw TCP sockets have less overhead. However, it provides no authentication or encryption, i.e. there is no way to verify the server connection or the data, and clients are more complex than for other methods.

The output can be RPSL object text, or space separated lists of items. There are two different output formats, RIPE and IRRd, which both have different ways of detecting the end of a response. As these are raw TCP sockets, you will have to write your own client that handles the two different output formats. To extract RPSL attributes, you need to use your own RPSL parser.