FAQ: About the RIPE Database

Show or Hide answer What is the RIPE Database?

The RIPE Database contains information about:

  • Allocations and assignments of IP address space;
  • Routing Registry Information;
  • Reverse DNS Delegations;
  • Related objects.

The data is entered into the RIPE Database mainly by operators of IP networks within the RIPE NCC service region. These are the maintainers of the data. The RIPE NCC supports the operation of the RIPE Database. The maintainers are primarily responsible for the data but the RIPE NCC also has some responsibility as a Database Controller. The responsibilities are explained in more detail in the RIPE Database Terms and Conditions.

The data is accessible by a whois query (whois.ripe.net) and through a web interface, subject to the RIPE Database Terms and Conditions.

Show or Hide answer What is acceptable use of the RIPE Database?

The purpose and use of the RIPE Database is defined in the RIPE Database Terms and Conditions The purpose of the RIPE Database is to assist the operation of the Internet in the RIPE region. Use of information from the RIPE Database for activities such as marketing, advertising and distributing Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE) is covered by Terms and Conditions.

Show or Hide answer What is a netname?

A netname is a mandatory attribute of an inetnum object which contains a short but meaningful name of the IP allocation or assignment. Two or more inetnum objects can have the same netname. The netname attribute is a look-up key, one can query the RIPE Database supplying the netname as an argument. The result of the query will show all inetnum objects with that netname.

Show or Hide answer What is a nic-hdl?

A "nic-handle" is a unique identifier that references RIPE Database objects containing contact details for a specific person or role. Other RIPE Database objects list contact details by their nic-handle. This is a more reliable identifier than an email address or a person's name (which may not be unique).

Show or Hide answer Can I use a nic-handle from another Regional Internet Registry in the RIPE Database?

Yes, but you must create a person/role object in the RIPE Database to ensure referential integrity. There is no existing distributed database of person/role objects (i.e. contact information) as proposed in "rps-dist" (RFC-2769).

Please note that updating an object in one database does not mean the object will be updated in any other database.

Show or Hide answer What is a tech-c and what is an admin-c?

"admin-c" (administrative contact) and "tech-c" (technical contact) are network contacts, required to be listed by their nic-handles in certain RIPE Database objects. This is done for operational correspondence such as Network troubleshooting. The admin-c must be physically located at the site of the network. The tech-c does not need to be physically located at the site of the network. You can have multiple admin-c, tech-c and zone-c attributes in an object, each of them referencing different person or role objects.

Show or Hide answer Can I register a domain name in the RIPE Database?

No, the RIPE NCC does not register domain names. Currently, the RIPE Database contains non-authoritative information about some domain names but this information will be moved to the databases of the national country-code domain registries. A decision was made by the RIPE community to remove all forward domain names from the RIPE Database.

Show or Hide answer How do I register a PERSON or ROLE object in the RIPE Database?

There are three ways of registering an object in the RIPE Database:

If you do not yet have a mntner object, you can create both mntner and person objects in the RIPE Database using the New User Start-up Form.

If you already have a mntner object, you can use the on-line updating service. This service makes it possible to add, edit or delete existing objects via a web interface. It also includes online help about the RIPE Database.

A third way of adding a person or role object is to obtain a copy of the appropriate template from the RIPE Database. You can do this through a normal query, using either a client or the RIPE Database web interface:

person template
role template

Complete the details in this template and send it to: auto-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net.

Note that in order to create a role object, you need to refer to at least one person object registered in the RIPE Database. The logical order is to create person objects before you create a role object.

Please refer to the Database Reference Manual or the RIPE Database User Manual: Getting Started if you need help.

The RIPE Database is not a "white-pages" service; person objects registered in the RIPE Database should be referenced from other objects in the RIPE Database, either directly or through a role object. Unreferenced person objects may be deleted from time to time. Please see the News Archive of the Database section on the website for more information.

Show or Hide answer Someone has created a person object with my personal details in the RIPE Database. Why did they do this?

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) put information about their customers in the RIPE Database. This is usually because you have signed an agreement with the ISP to obtain Internet services from them and given your consent to publish your personal details in the RIPE Database. If you are unhappy with this, please contact your ISP. If you cannot resolve this issue with your ISP, the RIPE NCC has a procedure to handle the Removal of Personal Data from the RIPE Database.

Show or Hide answer My information in the RIPE Database is not correct, can you please update my object(s)?

The RIPE Database Terms and Conditions detail who is responsible for maintaining data in the RIPE Database. We suggest you contact the maintainer of the data that is incorrect and ask them to change it. If it is personal data that is incorrect and you are not satisfied with the response from the maintainer, the RIPE NCC has a procedure to handle Removal of Personal Data from the RIPE Database.

Show or Hide answer How do I delete an object from the RIPE Database?

There are two ways of deleting an object in the RIPE Database:

  1. For your convenience the RIPE NCC has developed an on-line updating service. This service makes it possible to add, edit or delete existing objects via a web interface. It also includes online help about the RIPE Database.

  2. A second way of deleting an existing object is to obtain a copy of the object as it appears in the RIPE Database. You can do this through a normal query, either using a client or the RIPE Database web interface.

Copy and Paste the object in an editor and append a new line to the object which will read:

 "delete: <reason>"

For example "delete: Not needed anymore" (without the quotes) and send it to: auto-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net. Note that you must not change anything in the object, nor add or delete anything else. This also applies to "changed:" attributes. A new "changed:" attribute should not be added.

Please keep in mind that most objects have to pass a check with the "mnt-by:" attribute to clear authorisation for editing or deleting. Please see the RIPE Database documentation for more information about maintainers.

Show or Hide answer My update failed. Please explain why it failed.

There are many reasons why an update could fail. Usually, the failure reasons listed in the acknowledgement message you received are self-explanatory. The errors and warnings are contained in the "***ERROR:" and "***WARNING:" lines attached to the object which failed. Please read these lines carefully. Often the errors are simple syntax errors in the object. Check your object for typing mistakes.

Another common mistake is to query the RIPE Database for an object without using the "-B" query flag, then submit the returned object in an update. This results in submitting a filtered object, indicated by the line 'source: RIPE # Filtered' in the query response.

Sometimes, your update fails with this error message: "***Error: Authorisation failed". This means that you haven't supplied the correct credentials to satisfy the authorisation needed for the maintainer that protects the object. The maintainer is notified of a failed attempt to update this object.

Please note that if you send several objects in one message and at least one of them fails, the subject of the acknowledgment message will start with "FAILED:". This does not mean that the whole update failed, only that some updates were unsuccessful. Please check the message carefully to see which objects were not updated.

RIPE Database: reading dbupdate acknowledgments.

Show or Hide answer What are the authorisation rules for route object creation?

There are three phases of authentication checks when creating a route object:

  • a check with the relevant aut-num object,
  • a check with the "IP space"
  • a check with the "mnt-by:" attribute of the route object itself.

All of these three phases must be passed individually. If any of them fails, the route object creation is rejected. Take a look at the graphical presentation of this process.

You cannot create a route object if the origin AS refers to an aut-num object that does not exist in the RIPE Database. Therefore, before creating the route object, the aut-num object must be created in the RIPE Database, even if the AS number is registered in another whois database. If you are the party that has been assigned this AS number, please create the corresponding aut-num object by using the aut-num template. If the AS number is assigned to another party, please contact them to create the aut-num object.

Show or Hide answer How to create a route object when the matching IP range is not allocated or assigned from the RIPE NCC?

Before creating the route object, the "origin" AS number object must be created in the RIPE Database, even if the AS number is registered in another whois database. If you are the party that has been assigned this AS number, please create the corresponding aut-num object by using the aut-num template. If the AS number is assigned to another party, please contact them to create the aut-num object.

To authenticate successfully for the IP space, you need to include the password for RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT, along with the passwords for the maintainer of the aut-num and actual route object.

The RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT clear text password is mentioned in the object itself:

mntner:     RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT
descr: This maintainer may be used to create objects to represent
descr: routing policy in the RIPE Database for number resources not
descr: allocated or assigned from the RIPE NCC.
<snip>
remarks: *******************************************************
remarks: * The password for this object is 'RPSL', without the *
remarks: * quotes. Do NOT use this maintainer as 'mnt-by'. *
remarks: *******************************************************
<snip>

The mnt-by: attribute of the route object should refer to your own maintainer object. Do *not* use RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT as the maintainer of the route object; the route object will not be protected with this public maintainer.

Show or Hide answer I received a message with the subject "Notification of RIPE Database changes", but I didn't do anything and don't understand the message. What is it?

The message you received has been automatically sent to you from the RIPE Database software. The purpose of this notification is to inform you that some objects have been changed in the RIPE Database. You received the message because you were either listed in a "notify:" attribute of the object itself, or in a "mnt-nfy:" attribute of the mntner that protects the object.

If you did not create or update the object yourself, then someone else did this. The e-mail address from which the update came is usually mentioned in the notification message. Please contact that e-mail address for questions and clarifications about the update.

Show or Hide answer Can I download the RIPE Database software?

Yes, you can find links to download both the server and client software at:
http://www.ripe.net/db/tools/index.html.

Show or Hide answer Can I download the RIPE Database?

You cannot download the RIPE Database in the way you can download software from the Internet. This is because the database is dynamic and is constantly being updated. It is also subject to European Data Protection Laws.

We produce daily snapshots which are available to the public. You can find these files at our FTP site at: ftp://ftp.ripe.net/ripe/dbase/ripe.db.gz
or split by object type at: ftp://ftp.ripe.net/ripe/dbase/split

These daily snapshots exclude the object types: person, role, organisation and mntner. For data protection reasons, personal data is not available in bulk format.


Another way to "download" the RIPE Database is to become a Near-Real-Time Mirror (NRTM). This means that you run a copy of the database at your site that keeps up-to-date with the master server by regularly downloading the most recent updates. All personal data is excluded from the NRTM download and updates. You must be authorised to become a NRTM.

If you are interested, please contact ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net explaining why you want to become a NRTM.

Show or Hide answer I cannot find any information about a network in the RIPE Database. Can I look somewhere else?

Yes; try http://www.ripe.net/db/whois-free.html. This is a full text search.

Show or Hide answer When one uses the RIPE NCC whois client, is it necessary to specify"-h whois.ripe.net" or is that pre-set by default?

You can configure the RIPE NCC whois client to look at any server by default. You should define the 'NICHOST' variable in the source code. By default, it is defined as "whois.ripe.net".

Show or Hide answer How do I register reverse-delegations in the RIPE Database?

To register reverse-delegations in the RIPE Database, see the Reverse Delegations FAQ

Show or Hide answer I want to have an IP to country conversion table; can I get it?

The inetnum object represents IP address space in the RIPE Database; this object has a 'country' attribute. However, you should not rely on this information to be 100% accurate. Please contact ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net to discuss your application for this data.

Show or Hide answer I want to peer with an Autonomous System (AS). How do I do this?

Once an AS number has been assigned to you, you are responsible for keeping it up to date. It is important that your aut-num object in the RIPE Database reflects reality. If you have new peers and/or stop peering with one or more Autonomous Systems, please update your aut-num object. You update this object in the same way as any other object in the RIPE Database.

Show or Hide answer Can I enter several contacts in one RIPE Database object?

Yes. You can have multiple admin-c, tech-c and zone-c attributes in an object, each of them referencing different contact record, person or role objects.

Show or Hide answer How do I update an object in the RIPE Database?

There are two ways of updating an object in the RIPE Database:

  1. For your convenience the RIPE NCC has developed an on-line updating service. This service makes it possible to add, edit or delete existing objects via a web interface. It also includes online help about the RIPE Database.

  2. A second way of updating an existing object is to obtain a copy of the object as it appears in the RIPE Database. You can do this through a normal query, either using a client or the RIPE Database web interface.
    Copy and paste the object in an editor and change the attributes to their new values. You cannot change the key attributes, e.g. person name or nic-hdl values, since these are the unique identifiers of an object.
    Finally, send the object as a plain-text e-mail to <auto-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net>. If the object is maintained (that is, if it has one or more "mnt-by:" attributes), then you must meet the authentication specified by one of the maintainers. Please see the Database documentation for more information about maintainers.

Show or Hide answer Is the "changed:" attribute updated automatically?

No. You must add these yourself when required on an update. It is recommended that you keep the previous "changed:" attributes. If there are many "changed:" attributes, keep at least the first (the oldest) and the last (the newest) one.

Show or Hide answer Which date should be used in a "changed:" attribute in a RIPE Database object?

The date in the "changed:" attribute should be the date you submit the object to the RIPE Database. Make sure your new object has at least one "changed:" attribute. If you edit an existing object, it is recommended you do not delete previous "changed:" attributes. Add a new "changed:" attribute at the end of the existing ones so the history of the object remains visible.

Show or Hide answer Can I use a nic-handle from another database?

Yes, but you must create a person/role object in the RIPE Database to ensure referential integrity.  There is no existing distributed database of person/role objects (i.e. contact information) as proposed in "rps-dist" (RFC-2769).

Please note that updating an object in one database does not mean the object will be updated in any other database.

Show or Hide answer Where can i find more information about the RIPE Database?

More information about the RIPE Database is available at: http://www.ripe.net/db/.
Additional information can be found in the Routing Registry Training Course and LIR Training Course material.
If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net.

Show or Hide answer Why did I receive an Error 201: Access Denied?

There are several cases when this might occur. Please see below for the one which applies to your situation:

  • You (or your application) performed too many queries that returned contact information (e.g. person or role objects) from the RIPE Database. There is a daily limit on the amount of personal data returned as described in the Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Even if you queried for other types of objects, the associated contact information is returned by default. To avoid this situation please use the "-r" flag to prevent any associated contact information from being returned.
  • You used a proxy server to access the RIPE Database (such as a third-party web query  interface). In this case, it is likely that the proxy itself was denied access to the database. Please contact then administrators of the server you were using and discuss this situation with them. They may need to contact the RIPE Database administration [ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net] team to request further access.
  • If none of the above describes your situation, please contact the RIPE Database administration team [ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net] to discuss the problem further.

To learn more about access control in the RIPE Database please see RIPE Database Reference Manual.

Show or Hide answer Where are the RIR Databases, and what do they contain?

There are five RIRs, each maintains a database holding details of IP address registrations in their regions. The RIR databases are located at:

  • AFRINIC (Africa)
  • ARIN (North America)
  • APNIC (Asia Pacific region)
  • LACNIC (Southern and Central America and Carribean)
  • RIPE NCC (Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia)

For historical reasons, the ARIN Database is generally the starting point for searches. If an address is outside the ARIN region, that database will provide a reference to one of the other databases.

Unfortunately, many people misinterpret this referral to mean that either AFRINIC, APNIC, LACNIC, or the RIPE NCC is the network from where the problem arose. In fact, AFRINIC, APNIC, LACNIC, and the RIPE NCC perform the same function as ARIN. To get more specific information you must follow the referral and search the appropriate database.

Show or Hide answer Why has my 'as-name:' not been accepted?

The 'as-name:' should be a short name associated with the Autonomous System (AS). We recommend that the name reflects the name of the organisation that will use the AS Number. The name should be made up of letters, digits, the character underscore "_", and the character hyphen "-"; the first character of a name must be a letter, and the last character of a name must be a letter or a digit. The following words are reserved by RPSL, and they can not be used as names:
any, as-any, rs-any, peers, and, or, not, atomic, from, to, at, action, accept, announce, except, refine, networks, into, inbound, outbound

Names starting with certain prefixes are reserved for certain object types. Names starting with "as-" are reserved for as set names. Names starting with "rs-" are reserved for route set names. Names starting with "rtrs-" are reserved for router set names. Names starting with "fltr-" are reserved for filter set names. Names starting with "prng-" are reserved for peering set names. Names starting with "irt-" are reserved for irt names.