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What is WHOIS Privacy Protection? (And Why You Should Care)

When you register your website domain, you’re asked to supply essential information such as your name and email address. This is published online in databases such as WHOIS and is used as contact information, just like a traditional phonebook.

With your information remaining in public access, this brings up plenty of complications

Luckily, you can “purchase” privacy controls that remove your information from public view and keep your contact info private.

Not everyone understands the value of keeping your information private but that’s why we’re here to tell you why you’d want to utilize privacy on your domain.

What Is WHOIS?

WHOIS is basically a public database that collects data about a domain that third parties may have access to. The record on their database with your domain includes general information such as the domain name, the owner’s contact information, and the domain owner.

When you register a domain, the registrar is required to pass these details on to WHOIS.

What kind of information does a WHOIS record store?

A WHOIS record will include the domain status, domain expiration date, domain registration, name of the domain registrar, and the name of the servers currently associated with the domain name.

Additionally, it also includes information about the registrant or domain owner.

Things such as their:

  1. Name
  2. Phone number
  3. Email
  4. Street address

What Is Domain Privacy?

With their personal information being available to the public, domain owners are at risk of multiple complications such as identity theft and identity fraud. That’s why a lot of domain hosts offer domain privacy protection.

This service essentially aims to protect your sensitive personal information on the WHOIS database. When people make use of domain privacy, their personal information on the database stays secret.

How does it work?

As we’ve said, for you to own a domain name, you’ll need to be registered in the WHOIS directory. ICANN or The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers requires you to input information such as your mailing address, phone number, and email address of the owners or administrators of the domain.

All this sensitive information has to be made publicly available in the WHOIS directory so that people can contact you and instances where you need to verify your information. Additionally, you can only register with correct information.

While it has some upsides – namely, winning some trust and respect of your audience – making these details public could also leave room for malicious intent.

With domain privacy, you don’t have to worry about any of that.

A domain privacy protection service allows domain owners and administrators to hide their sensitive information in the public directory.

For instance, instead of showing their registered name and email address, domain privacy protection services show a forwarding email address that changes regularly. This makes your identity consistently protected.

Why Do I Need Domain Privacy Protection?

Aside from keeping your sensitive information protected, there are more benefits to using a domain privacy protection service. Below are some reasons you’d want to utilize privacy on your domain.

1. Reduces your chances of getting spam

When your information is visible in the WHOIS database, you are vulnerable to a great deal of spam. A lot of marketers will use your information to develop lists of people they can send mass emails to. While some of these come from legitimate companies, unsolicited messages can be annoying.

You’d also find that spam messages could include scams, fake alerts, and much more.

2. Hides your physical location

Having your physical location open to the public can be scary for a lot of people. Giving them access to this information can put you and those in your home in danger. They could show up at your house directly and not everyone needs to know where you live.

Adding privacy to your domain removes your physical location from public view, keeping you safe from those with malicious intent.

3. Have more control of contact information

The last thing you want to happen is someone calling your number at 2 am when you’re trying to sleep. A privacy domain protection service helps re-enforce visitors to use your specific contact information. You get to have control over what information is being displayed on your domain.

4. Personal views vs. Professional information

Not a lot of people understand the value of keeping their professional and personal lifestyles separate. It can bring a great deal of problems when there isn’t a boundary between the two.

For instance, let’s say you said something controversial through a social media platform. Without a domain privacy protection service hiding your identity, people might find your name if your website is linked to that comment.

Some people can even go as far as getting every bit of information about you because they simply disagree with what you said in a blog post.

Hiding your identity can help keep your personal and professional lifestyles apart, protecting you from those with malicious intent.

5. Reduces identity theft

Not everyone trying to steal your information is looking to steal your credit card information. A lot of people will use your information to not only gain control of your site but also create accounts in your team. They can spread false information which can negatively affect your image and credibility.

A domain privacy protection service essentially reduces the risks of identity theft, keeping you safe from plenty of problems.

6. Hides website ownership or designing party

Not everyone who registers their website to the WHOIS database is directly tied to the domain. Most of the time, designers and web hosting services register domains on behalf of their customers.

Whatever the reason may be, some of these customers would rather not have their personal data connected to the website.

Because of this, the designer’s information is registered instead of the customers, even if they have nothing to do with the website afterward.

A domain privacy protection service protects not only the owners of the website but also the designing party as well.

How Much Does WHOIS Protection Cost?

A WHOIS protection service would depend on what you’re trying to protect and who you’re trying to protect it from.

Some domain registration services and web hosts like NameCheap and Hostinger, offer domain privacy for free when you purchase a domain from them. In some cases, all you have to do is pay for their hosting service, and they’ll throw in a free domain (usually for the first year) and WHOIS privacy protection to boot.

In other cases, you may need to pay a little extra.

However, you’d find that keeping your information private isn’t all that expensive in the grand scheme of things. Most domain owners usually only have to pay less than $10 per year, which is less than a dollar per month.

Having peace of mind and reducing the risks we mentioned previously at an inexpensive price, is a pretty great deal.

How Do I Get Domain Privacy?

When registering a domain

After you’ve found a domain name to your liking, domain privacy is often added as default for most hosting services. If you want to remove it, you’ll receive a pop-up warning. This indicates that your information would be made public and proceeding with it would give explicit consent.

Add to an existing domain

While most hosting services give you domain privacy by default, you can find that you can add one at a later date. You can add domain privacy to an existing domain and the process would depend on each domain hosting service.

For instance, some hosting services only allow you to add domain privacy during checkout and some allow you to add it whenever you want to.

Regardless, you should enable domain privacy whenever you can. This prevents you from the problems mentioned earlier and keeps your sensitive information safe.

Note

If you want to know more about your hosting service and domain privacy service, it’s best to email them and contact them for any concerns.

How Much Does Domain Privacy Protection Protect Site Owners?

With domain privacy, you don’t have to worry about people stealing your sensitive information. It’s a great addition to your domain to protect you from things such as reduced spam and identity theft.

However, you shouldn’t be too reliant on domain privacy as it’s not the only way to protect your website. You should also take into account a secure web hosting service.

Learn more about web hosting security features.

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