Last Updated on October 8, 2022
Private registration for domain names is the process of registering a domain with your personal information hidden by the domain registrar. When your domain is not privately registered it means that anyone can look up your personal and contact information in a WHOIS directory.
Privacy is an additional service offered by registrars. It separates the domain's information from your protected personally identifiable information (PII) when displayed in a public WHOIS database (like Whois.com).
It can cost you typically between $5 to $15 per domain, per year, depending on the domain registrar you choose. However, more and more registrars are adding domain privacy for free.
Private registration offers many benefits including increased privacy and security, as well as improved spam and malware protection. It's not an essential feature when you register a domain but does provide an added layer of protection for your or your company's private information and data.
Private domain registration can be a great option for businesses or individuals who want to protect their identities or remain anonymous. But is domain privacy protection worth it?
We take a deeper dive into this somewhat confusing topic to better understand the pros and cons and when to add domain privacy and when not to.
Stat: 90% of security pros believe their personal data is at risk. source
The Start of Domain Privacy Protection
Domain privacy has been around for quite a while, and it has gained quite a bit of traction over the years as privacy and security have become paramount online. Almost every domain registrar service provides the option of adding private registration.
Domain name privacy for all started with WHOIS and ICANN back in 1982, when the Internet Engineering Task Force published a protocol for a directory service for ARPANET users. Initially, the directory simply listed the contact information that was requested of anyone transmitting data across the ARPANET.
Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) WHOIS (pronounced “who is”) lookup tool provides an additional resource for accessing the WHOIS database in addition to the access provided by registrars and registries.
It's the registrars who sell the domain names to you and WHOIS is the database that we all use to look up a domain name to see if it is available.
Domain Privacy Protection – Must Know Elements
What personal information is protected?
By getting domain privacy you can keep your essential contact details like your email id, phone number, and your address safe. This can save you from getting unwanted promotional emails and sales calls from service providers trying to sell your something.
Domain Privacy protection also keeps your personal data safe which is otherwise easily available in the WHOIS directory. Hackers are always on the lookout to collect personal data from websites like WHOIS to hack your domains.
By not protecting your contact details and personal data you are making yourself more vulnerable to domain hacking and identity theft. The more personal information a hacker can find about you, the easier it is to hack your domain name.
When does domain privacy protection end?
Typically, private registration ends when the registration expires for the domain itself.
What does private registration for a domain name mean?
Domain privacy is a service registrars offer as an add-on to domain registration. The cost varies as does the forwarding service location and information.
You buy privacy from the registrar, and they replace the WHOIS database information with a forwarding service. This service is designed to keep your personal information out of public view to protect it from identity theft.
Each provider prices the add-on service independently as they do for domain names. This means if you buy multiple domains you have to pay for the private registration of each separately.
5 Reasons To Register Your Domain Name Privately?
The general data protection regulation doesn't save your data from falling into the wrong hands without purchasing a privacy service. Many website owners also purchase domain privacy protection when they register a domain.
It is clear that by getting domain a privacy service you are keeping your personal and contact information safe. But, is it necessary even to keep your personal data safe by spending an extra $10-$15?
The cost of domain privacy protection typically outweighs the risk of not protecting your personal information. We will talk about 5 reasons why getting domain privacy protection is a profitable investment.
1) Saves you from getting hacked
The most obvious reason to get private registration for a domain is to not get hacked. There are many ways a hacker can use your personal data to try to hack you. The most common way is to send spam emails to your mailing address with a malicious attachment or link.
By using your personal information, they can also try to access your domain registrar and hack your website. Having your personal data makes it easy for hackers to get full control of your website.
2) Prevents irritating phone calls
If you don't have domain privacy protection, companies can access both your personal data and contact information. Many companies collect phone numbers from the WHOIS data library and call the domain registrant to sell their service.
Site owners are often the target of service providers and sketchy companies who tries to sell their software and service that are often useless at an outrageous price. WHOIS privacy would seem like a good idea for a website owner who keeps getting those annoying sales calls and emails.
3) Saves you from getting scammed
You can also get spam calls from people who would try to get confidential information from you like your credit card number, pin codes, and other sensitive information which can cost you all the money in your bank account.
It becomes easier for scammers to gain your trust as they already know many of your personal data is available for public display in the WHOIS data library. Domain privacy protection would only cost you a fraction of the money compared to what you can lose if you get scammed.
4) Prevents competitors from obtaining information
Secrecy is an important element of running a successful online business. If you don't have domain privacy protection you are just one WHOIS lookup away from your competitors to find out authentic information about you.
If you have a unique plan for your business that privacy protection is very important for you. Privacy protections save your personal information from getting into the wrong hands like your competitors.
5) Protects your personal information from being sold
Your domain registration information is available for free to everyone without WHOIS protection. There are many bots that scrap contact and personal information from a registered domain that doesn't have privacy protection.
The bots collect all the contact details attached and compile them to a list. The information is then sold to advertisers on the internet which increases your chances of getting unwanted emails and calls.
To protect your domain information, it is a good idea to pay the WHOIS protection cost. Having domain name privacy not only protects you from unwanted calls but also reduces the chances of getting hacked.
There is a chance that some bots sell your information to hackers as well. With your personal information falling into wrong hands, you might end up getting hacked.
Can I use private registration for all my domains?
No. While most TLDs (top-level domains) allow you to add domain privacy, some are restricted from this service. In 2005, the NTIA restricted all .us domains from being privately registered.
Other domain extensions are also on the list of restricted domains. You can review the lists on Google's TLD reference support article or Wikipedia. Or you can contact your registrar for more information and pricing.
Is domain privacy protection worth it?
This is the question most asked when it comes to domain privacy. When you weigh the pros and cons and benefits and risks, private registration for domain names makes sense. The added protection of private information is invaluable in today's world.
Is domain privacy required?
Domain privacy, or private registration for domain names, is an optional service offered by registrars. Whether or not you need privacy protection is up to you. Some people find it helpful, while others do not. It's completely optional, so you can choose whether or not to use it.
Can you get domain privacy for free?
Yes, some registrars offer this service for free with your domain registration purchase. There are great options like Namecheap, Domain.com, NameSilo, and Google Domains.
“At Google Domains, we understand that many users want to keep their personal contact information private. Google Domains provides privacy-protection options at no charge for most domain endings that allow you to make some, or all, of your information private.”
Domain Privacy Pros
- Private registration for domain names offers many benefits including increased privacy and security, as well as improved spam and malware protection.
- The cost of private domain name registration typically outweighs the risk of not protecting your identity.
- Domain privacy is optional so private registration for a domain name is up to you but it's recommended by registrars and typically worth it.
Domain Privacy Cons
- The cost of private registration for domain names can be expensive.
- Private registration does not always protect your identity from being revealed.
- Some private registration services do not offer good protection or forwarding services.
Stat: 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber attack. source
Top Domain Registrars for Domain Privacy Protection
Some of the best registrars offer domain privacy as well as access to the over 1,500 different domain extensions available globally. Align with your current provider or transfer your domain to a registrar that offers these services.
Here are some of the best options, including Namecheap and Porkbun, which offer this service for free.
How To Purchase Private Registration from a Domain Registrar?
To protect your internet registrant data, it is a good idea to choose a registrar and hosting provider that provides private domain registration for free. The next best thing is to buy data protection even though it costs a bit.
The first thing you need to do to register a domain is to locate the search bar on the domain registrar's official website. You can find out if the domain is available by typing the name you want. If it is available proceed to buy the domain name.
When you proceed, you might find that privacy protection is already added to your purchase list. In case it is not added, add it from the checklist and proceed forward with the payment.
Domain Privacy Wrap-Up
Private registration for domain names is an option that should be considered by anyone who wants to protect his or her private information. Though private domain name registration can be expensive, it does offer a lot of benefits including increased privacy and security as well as improved spam and malware protection.
Domain privacy protection can not be overlooked in an age where data breaches seem to happen routinely. Privacy protection of business information and your website is a critical component of umbrella security.
Whether you have an existing domain or are looking to purchase a new web hosting domain, enable domain privacy today to reduce downstream issues and risk.