When you register a domain name, your name, address, phone number and email address become public record. Anyone who wants to find out who owns a domain name can run a whois search to grab information about you in just a few seconds. Did you know that you can hide that information? That’s what domain privacy is.

When you sign up for home telephone service, your name and address are listed in the phone book. For those who wish to keep their info out of the public directory, the phone company will offer to have your information unlisted for an additional fee. Domain privacy works the same way.

Do you use domain privacy?Nearly every domain registrar offers a feature to hide your personal information from domain name whois searches. Domain privacy (sometimes called whois protection) is a service which when used, replaces your personal information with the name, phone number, address, and email contact of the domain privacy service.

This can help protect your identity from prying eyes, spammers, scammers, and other annoyances that you wouldn’t want to have your info. Best of all, this service is usually inexpensive, and some will offer domain privacy for free for the first year.

Important things to remember about domain privacy services

  • If you add the privacy service after you have already registered your domain, your information may still be available. Whois search engines may not update instantly, while some services may choose to include it in a history of ownership list.
  • Some websites exist solely to provide information about websites, including the domain owner’s information. This data will remain available until the website providing it decides to remove it.
  • Domain registrars must adhere to the law. Don’t think that using domain privacy will allow you to anonymously break the law. After all, the domain registrar has your information and they will provide it to law enforcement if required.
  • When using domain privacy, you are no longer listed as the owner of the domain name. While there isn’t usually anything to worry about, there have been times in the past when domain ownership issues have occurred between the person who purchased the domain and the privacy company entrusted to hide your identity.
  • You may need to renew your domain privacy individually. Some domain registrars will include an option to set auto-renew for domain privacy just as you can do for the domain name itself.

It’s Your Choice

Most people choose domain privacy to keep spammers, scammers, and floods of marketing from showing up in their emails, voicemails, and mailboxes. This is quite understandable. At $4 or less per year, it’s also an affordable option to hide your domain’s ownership information.