Many people, are seemingly unaware that when they register a domain name, their contact information will appear in a publicly available WHOIS database, accessible via websites such as whois.com and others. But why is this information freely available to the public? That is because ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), requires domain name registrant information to be public.
What is ICANN?
ICANN is a non-profit organization, whose headquarters is based in Los Angeles, California, and is responsible for managing the Internet’s domain name system. They also have 4 “regional” offices worldwide, in Singapore, Turkey, Belgium and Uruguay.
Your Domain Registrant Information is Public Information, So What?
Making the domain name registrant’s information easy for anyone to find out can result in unwanted solicitations from scammers and other persons. Upon discovering this fact, some people would rather their domain registration information be hidden from public view. That leads us to a solution to this issue called domain privacy.
What is domain privacy?
Domain privacy is a paid, add-on service offered by domain registrars that enable you to hide your personal details as the domain registrant. This is accomplished by masking a domain registrant’s contact information with that of the domain privacy service.
Exactly What Information Does Privacy Protection Hide?
Domain privacy protection hides personal information such as your name, address, phone number and email address.
How much does domain privacy cost?
The cost of domain privacy varies from domain registrar to domain registrar. That said, the cost, as of this writing, is usually somewhere between $10-30 per year, per domain name.
3 Reasons You May Want to Get Domain Privacy
As you can imagine, there are a few good reasons, some of which we touched on earlier, why you may want to get domain privacy. Here are three of them.
Ensures Your Privacy
Paying for domain privacy hides your personal contact information from public view. This means that others (strangers and/or weirdos) will not be able to find out that you are the registrant of the privacy protected domain name. So, if you value your privacy on the internet, this is one thing you can do to help keep your personal contact information private.
Can Reduce Solicitations From Spammers
Let’s face it, no one wants to be targeted by internet scammers and spammers. So, when you implement domain privacy, this can cut down on spammers’ attempts to contact and scam you, since they won’t be able to get your contact information from a WHOIS lookup.
Hides Your Information from Competitors
Sometimes businesses who might compete against you, will try to find out the identities of their competitors in order to dig up damaging information or at least, give them a better idea of what you might be doing. Domain privacy can stop your competitors from knowing you operate a particular website that competes against theirs.
Does Anyone Truly Need Domain Privacy?
It depends. If you are uncomfortable with your name and contact information, as it pertains to your domain registration, being publicly accessible to all, then it may be a good idea to pay the additional cost necessary to obtain domain privacy.
The other major concern, as mentioned earlier, is that by having your domain registration contact information publicly available in the WHOIS database, you open yourself up to spammers and other potentially questionable persons who might attempt to sell you overpriced services or otherwise scam you.