Every website starts with a name. Before you get to have some fun building a website, you’ll first need to find the perfect domain name for it, or something as close to perfect as circumstances (availability and price) allow. When you purchase the name from a domain registrar, you’re asked to register using your personal information.
Normally, once a domain is registered, the information of the owner – your information – is listed in the WHOIS database. However, not everyone likes to have their information available to the public, as this can have some downsides – like receiving spam, or in the worst-case scenario, even identity theft (although the latter isn’t very likely). That’s why some people choose to get private domain registration, as it allows you to protect your personal details from the public.
But what exactly is private domain registration, and do you really need domain privacy? We’ll go over the differences between private and public domain registration so that you can decide for yourself if domain privacy is worth it. We’ll also cover how you can try to find out who owns a private domain, even if the information provided in the WHOIS database is limited.
Private domain registration is a service offered by domain registrars that hides your personal information, such as name, email, phone number, and physical address, and inputs a proxy’s information instead of your own. Usually, domain registrar services offer the WHOIS privacy protection to list generic versions of these details.
The most common “dangers” of public domain registration is that you can get sales calls, spam mail, and spam email from people who’ve taken your information off the WHOIS database.
Private domain registration is offered for a fee at some registrars – GoDaddy charges as much as $9.95 additionally every year. At Hostgeber, on the other hand, we offer it for $4.50.
So if you register your domain as private, when someone enters your domain into WHOIS lookup, they’ll see information that belongs to a proxy. Don’t worry, though – you’ll still maintain full control of your domain and what you want to do with it.
One piece of information that remains public even with a private domain registration are the domain name servers. Furthermore, if it’s required by law, your registrar may have to disclose your personal information to the authorities.
Let’s go over how a private domain registration looks different from a public one.
When you look up a domain in the WHOIS database, you get information on several fields, such as:
Keep in mind that privacy providers, such as PrivacyGuardian, don’t work with individual domain owners, but rather with domain registrars. That means that your private domain registration would need to go through your domain name company.
Whether you need domain privacy kind of depends on the purpose of your website, among other things. For instance, if you’re a domain reseller, using private domain registration may make it difficult for some customers to get in touch with you, as it loses you one point of contact.
On the other hand, if it’s a personal website you’re running, using private domain registration can help keep personal information private, protect you from spam mail, prevent undesired solicitation, and thwart the stubborn efforts of people trying to purchase your domain. The recently instituted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has improved the data protection of internet users and website owners, but it’s not rare that people would be able to find your details through your domain, anyway.
As you can see, it all kind of depends on what you need and what you’re going for. Domain privacy isn’t something you need in terms of absolute necessity, but it may prove quite useful in helping you avoid unpleasant contacts from reaching you.
Overall, we would say that domain privacy isn’t a necessity for the average website owner (not that you are average ???? ) unless you have specific privacy concerns or simply like to stay as far from the public eye as possible.
To answer this question, we need to first go over the main perks of using domain privacy.
Here’s a quick overview of the pros of using private domain registration before we delve further into each of them.
As we’ve already mentioned, though, domain privacy isn’t a necessity for most people, especially with the recently improved laws surrounding data privacy. On the other hand, if domain privacy is offered for free, it won’t cost you anything to get it, either. And that makes it worth it.
If you want to find out who owns a private domain, there are a couple of methods you can try.
In the end, whether domain privacy is worth it kind of depends on you and the state of your domain information following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018. The data protection law is intended for EU citizens, but as the internet is global, this regulation covers people from all over the world. So you may be a US-based US citizen, and still enjoy the benefits of the increased privacy regulations.
On the other hand, your domain information may still be public. Are you getting calls from telemarketers? Spam from all sorts of websites? Or do you dread experiencing such a scenario? If that’s the case, then you probably should consider getting domain privacy, especially if you can get it for free. There’s not much to lose, especially since clients will always be able to reach you through the contact information you provide on your website.