If you’re looking to register a new domain or have done so in the past then you’ve most likely felt a little anxious about your address, phone, and email information out there for anyone to look up in the WHOIS very public records listing.
Publishing this information online can compromise your online privacy and possibly make you an easy target for cybercriminals and hackers. This is because anyone with an internet connection can look up the information and find you.
Keep reading to find out how you can protect your information in the WHOIS database and the consequences of leaving yourself vulnerable.
Why is Domain Privacy Important?
With free access to all kinds of information on the internet, today preserving your privacy has become increasingly difficult.
We all enter sensitive data to websites daily and when you registered your branded domain name with your registrar you gave away your information.
Keeping this personal information from the eyes of a stranger is a challenge and one you want to have increased vigilance about.
As a website owner, there is a great possibility that your sensitive information is readily available to anyone who cares to look for it—that’s unless you’ve made the smart decision to invest in domain privacy.
To learn about more important steps to take before launching your website go here.
WHOIS and ICANN Listing
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and WHOIS is a phrase that represents “Who is”. They both govern and maintain the registration data for domain names.
They require that companies that register domains provide the mailing address, first and last name, phone number and email address of people, who have purchased a domain and the information of the administrator be readily available online via WHOIS Directory.
This mandate by ICANN leaves your domain and website vulnerable to Spammers, direct marketers, identity thieves and hackers—enabling them to use the directory to exploit your sensitive information.
In recent years ICANN has been working on changing the policy for WHOIS and to enact tighter privacy measures, however major stakeholders have not reached a joint consensus about what type of change should be made.
Not to worry, Domain Privacy can be purchased from many registrars, therefore some of the risk involving your sensitive information being viable to anyone has been mitigated.
What is Domain Privacy?
Domain Privacy or more commonly WHOIS Privacy is a service which enables your information to be kept private while the registrar uses a mask by a proxy server that gives the information of a forwarding service. WHOIS added privacy ensures that your sensitive information is kept safe from the prying eyes of cybercriminals, scammers, identity thieves and direct marketers.
Domain Privacy can be purchased from several registrars. While most big Corporations don’t feel the need to enable Domain Privacy, small business owners, bloggers and freelancers with websites may feel differently about their sensitive information available to anyone.
3 Reasons Domain Privacy is Worth Every Cent
1. It Protects your Sensitive Information
How comfortable are you with having your information available to anyone with an internet connection as a small business owner or blogger? Most likely you aren’t. Not to mention you don’t want it to make it easier for cybercriminals, spammers and direct marketers to target you and your website.
What’s probably worse is the threat of identity theft. Every bit of information you provide can be used to help steal your identity. Purchasing WHOIS Privacy guarantees that your information is kept out of the wrong hands. Data breaches do happen all the time on the internet. Therefore any resource at your disposal should be used to protect you, your website, business, and your private information.
With WHOIS privacy activated your personal information stays private.
2. It Reduces Spam
Spam litters and floods us daily at almost every level. In fact, we receive random calls from telemarketers trying to sell us services, upgrades or products we would never seek out for ourselves. We receive spam in our physical mailboxes from free catalogs to various advertisements; email spam bloats our Spam folders or sometimes our inboxes daily and the list goes on.
With the purchase of domain privacy, you receive protection against spam clogging your inbox and even your website.
3. Protects you against Cybercriminals, Hackers and Scammers
Internet scams have been around as long as we’ve been connected online. Cybercriminals have also been around from the advent of the internet. If you leave your information readily available to them, it makes you susceptible to cyber-attacks or a phishing scams.
For example, a scammer armed with information that should be kept private can try to scam you by posing as a domain registrar company if they see that your domain is about to expire and charge you for renewal. If you fall prey to the scam, not only will they have your money but they gain access to your credit card information as well.
[p]Cybercriminals can also carry out domain hijacking.
They do this by posing as your hosting or domain registration company. Then, they request that you give them information, i.e. the keys to your domain. Even though your actual domain registrar or host has measures in place to prevent this kind of attack, cybercriminals can be crafty. In fact, the more information they have about you and your domain registration, the more likely they are to scam you.
WHOIS privacy enables protection and erases the vulnerability and susceptibility to a cyber-attack or scammer.
For more strategies to protect your domain read this article.
Other Perks of Domain or WHOIS Privacy
There are a few more perks included with domain privacy:
- The ability to hide your website from your competition’s marketing research.
- Prevents Companies and Firms from taking your information and reselling it to others; for example, the selling of email lists.
- Helps you avoid fraudsters and stalkers
- You control your sensitive information and ensures it remains private
Which Domain Names Support Domain Privacy?
Domain Privacy is readily available for most top-level TLD-extensions as an add-on at checkout. This includes popular domain extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info, .app and many more.
How do you get Domain Privacy?
You can get Domain Privacy at any time. There are two options to choose from:
1. Get it when you purchase your domain
This comes highly recommended. Once you key in your information at the time of purchase of your domain it is protected from the beginning. When making a purchase you should have an option to add it to your cart. If not, simply call your host and have them add WHOIS privacy to your domain during purchase.
2. Order Domain Privacy after Purchasing your Domain
If you’ve had your domain for some time and you just became aware of WHOIS privacy don’t worry. You can add it now. It is never too late to add domain privacy. Just note that your information has already been indexed in the WHOIS Directory for public viewing.
However, it is possible for that information may be removed when the database clears its caches.
Note that for optimum privacy and security opting for Domain Privacy at the purchase of your domain ensures the highest level of protection.