What happens when you look up your domain name? Is your information public? Can I see your full name, address, email address, and phone number? Did you know that your personal info could be made public after you register a domain? If that makes you a little bit uncomfortable, you should know that there’s something called domain privacy protection that will protect all your personal information.
Here’s everything you should know about domain privacy protection:
What is domain privacy protection?
When you purchase a domain name, you are registering it with ICANN or the top level domain provider in your country. You are required to give out your info, such as name, address, and email address. Your personal info, along with information about your registrar and the expiry date, is then stored in the WHOIS database.
This database is similar to a phone book of the Internet. Everyone can use it to see who owns the domain and when it expires. This means your info will be available to scammers and spammers. So you will end up receiving a lot of spam emails and even phone calls. Having your info private will also help prevent domain hijacking.
Is your domain private?
If you don’t know if your info is private or public, you can use a site such as the WHOIS database or one of the hundreds of alternatives. Just enter your domain name and press Lookup. You should also be able to find this info on your invoice because it usually costs extra.
How to protect your info when purchasing a domain
If you’ve purchased your domain from WordPress.com or Google/Blogger, you don’t have to worry about domain privacy. You are already protected.
If you want to purchase a new domain name, add the domain to your cart and add the privacy protection before you check out. This is available for .com or .net domains, but it might not be available for less popular domain extensions.
Some domain registrars call it domain privacy protection, others call it WhoisGuard, Whois protection, or private domain registration.
How to protect a domain you already own
If your data is already public, you can purchase domain privacy protection from your registrar. Just log into your account and manage your domain. Most companies have a very simple way of adding this feature. Although, you should know that your info might still be accessible via caching and archived data.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending on the registrar, but it shouldn’t cost more than $15 per year. GoDaddy offers domain privacy protection starting at $8/year. My favorite registrar, NameCheap, offers the first year for free and $2.88/year after that.
Who owns the domain?
The only downside to using domain privacy protection is that it’s not clear who owns the domain. ICANN and other domain authorities define who owns the domain by what is listed on WHOIS. That means that the organization listed as the registrant is technically the legal owner of the domain.
For most people, this will never cause a problem, especially if you use a reputable registrar, but it’s something you should consider before using a private domain.
Is it really worth it?
I use domain privacy with all my domains and I think it’s worth it. Domain privacy protection is not very expensive and it can protect you from many spammy and scammy phone calls and emails. Although, if you have a very small budget and don’t want to spend a lot of money on your blog, this is definitely not a must. You can wait until you make more money from your blog to purchase it or use a PO box and a second email address.
Do you use domain privacy protection?