What Is Private Domain Registration? (Pros & Cons Explained)

what is private domain registration

Do you want to know about private domain name registration and whether you need it?

Domain privacy can protect critical information that’s personal, business, and website related.

In this easy guide, we’ll walk you through what domain registration privacy is and how to enable it for your domain name.

What is Private Domain Name Registration?

Private domain name registration or domain privacy protection hides your personal name and contact information from bring displayed publicly in the WHOIS records.

When you register a domain name, you need to enter your name, address, phone number, email, and other information like your business name and state/country.

Most of the information that you give is added to the WHOIS database. This is a public record maintained by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It lets anyone check who owns a domain name so that they can get in touch regarding domain disputes, trademark infringements, and so on.

whois registration contact information

Want to try it for yourself? Head over to Domain.com WHOIS Tool.

While there are pros to this database, with your personal information being made public, it also opens you up to spam/fraud emails and phone calls. Hackers can also use this information to guess admin or usernames and passwords.

There’s a lot that can go wrong.

This is where domain name privacy protection comes in.

domain privacy example

When you enable this on your domain, all of this information will be hidden. Instead, your domain registrar will display their own company information.

Even with these drawbacks, the WHOIS database serves important purposes.

Why We Need the WHOIS Database

ICANN WHOis lookup

The WHOIS database keeps a record of who owns a domain name. You’ll find details such as the registration and expiration date of any domain.

This database makes it possible for network admins and authorities to identify and fix problems related to domain names. It can also help settle disputes and serve other legal purposes.

It holds people who operate and own domains accountable for their actions. If the site is being used for illegal purposes or to defraud people, authorities can track down who the domain is registered to.

It also makes it easy to inform domain owners if they are infringing on copyrights and trademarks. This makes finding resolutions faster and smoother.

Domain privacy makes all of this impossible. So there are pros and cons to private domain registration. Let’s dig into that a bit more.

Pros of Private Domain Registration

domain privacy compared with WHOIS

Prevent Spam

With your personal contact details on full display, spammers can easily send you promotional emails and messages. Your details can also be sold to many cold callers.

If you’ve added your business information, spammers can misuse it and disrupt your day-to-day communications.

Prevent Fraud

There are certain words that are commonly used as usernames and passwords. Website users tend to use their own names and personal details as passwords.

Hackers and bots can easily pick up this information from the WHOIS database and try to break into your website.

So having your information in the WHOIS database can expose you to such dangers and threats out there.

Hide Your Information from Competitors

Businesses are always researching their competitors. So if you want to hide critical business information from them, you need private domain registration.

So for instance, this would be helpful if you’re building a website with a new concept or product that isn’t out on the market yet or if you’re acquiring a new domain name that you don’t want anyone to know about yet.

Hide Your Location

Many legitimate businesses may be registered in one place and operate from different locations.

This may be to cater to local markets all over the world. Or they may be located in Canada but their target audience is in the United Kingdom.

This is true for all sorts of companies including agencies, eCommerce, and software companies.

Unfortunately, when people see different locations, they may peg you as a scammer.

Domain privacy will help you hide your registered location so that you don’t have to worry about these issues.

Block Domain Flippers

There is an industry called domain flipping where people buy and sell domains and are constantly on the lookout for in-demand domain names.

The WHOIS database lets them find your contact information so that they can make you an offer to sell your domain.

By hiding your details, you can prevent persistent offers on your domain when you’re not interested in selling.

Learn more about this: Domain Flipping: How to Start and Make a Profit.

Cons of Private Domain Registration

You won’t be able to get in touch with other domain owners

If everyone enables domain privacy, it will be very hard to get in touch with the domain owner about important issues such as copyright infringement, fraudulent domain transfers, and so on.

Blocks justice

If a domain is being used for fraudulent activity, private registration prevents authorities from easily finding out who owns a domain. That said, there are other ways to track down domain owners especially if you have governmental authority.

It can be expensive

Domain registrars may charge a hefty fee for replacing your data with their own in the WHOIS database. It can cost between $10 to $24 per year.

So do you need to invest in domain privacy? We discuss that next.

Do You Need Domain Name Privacy Protection

Over the last decade, data privacy has become increasingly important. People have demanded data privacy and governments have started to listen.

Many countries have passed laws where people’s private information cannot be up for grabs. So ICANN had to retract or hide the personal data of many domain registrants in the database.

domain info redacted

You’ll want to check if your country’s laws make it necessary for your data to be protected.

If your data isn’t protected, then you’ll want to buy domain privacy from your domain registrar. Some registrars offer it for free.

Below, we’ll share how to get domain privacy with the most popular domain registrars.

How to Get Domain Name Privacy Protection

Every domain registrar lets you buy domain privacy when you register your domain name. You can even buy and enable it after you’ve registered your domain.

Now most registrars automatically add it to your cart or prompt you to buy it before you check out. We recommend buying it before you register a domain so that personal info is never made public in the WHOIS database.

buy domain privacy

However, if you have already registered a domain and want to hide your information now, it’s never too late to buy privacy protection.

Once you enable domain privacy, it can take up to 48 hours for the WHOIS database to refresh. Then you’ll see that your information is replaced with generic details of your domain registrar.

Keep in mind that the domain registration and expiry dates will always be visible.

domain expiration date in whois

Here are a few domain registrars we recommend that offer privacy protection at affordable rates. These rates may vary depending on the value of your domain name.

1. Bluehost : $11.88 per year with every domain. If you buy a hosting plan (Choice Plus and Pro), domain privacy is included in the package for free. Read the full review » Bluehost Review

2. Domain.com: Add privacy protection to new and transferred domains at $8.99 per year. Read the full review » Domain.com Review

3. SiteGround : $12 for the first year, after which it is $24 per year.

4. Dreamhost: One of the only hosting providers that offers domain name privacy for free. It’s automatically added to every domain registered with them.

5. HostGator $14.95 per year. Read the full review » HostGator Review

6. Network Solutions: Free for the first month. It costs $9.99 per year after that. Read the full review » Network Solutions Review

7. GreenGeeks: $9.95 a year.

8. GoDaddy : $10 to $15 per year.

To sum up, Dreamhost offers domain privacy for free, and with other platforms, you’ll need to pay between $8.99 to $24 per year.

Can I Use Fake Information to Register My Domain?

No. You’ll need to use the correct email address because ICANN will periodically ask you to verify the validity of that email address to keep your website live. When you register a domain, it’s similar to registering an asset like real estate with the governing authority.

Here’s a sample of the email that ICANN sends out regularly to domain owners.

review icann information email

And it clearly states that if you provide false information, they can cancel your domain registration.

That’s all we have for you. We hope you found this guide on private domain registration helpful.

Up next, you’ll also want to learn more on:

These guides will help you protect your domain name with a trademark and SSL certificate. The last guide will help you check what a domain name was used for before you buy it.

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