If you’ve had a chance to buy or sell a domain name, then you have probably noticed that a lot of registrars and website hosts offer something called domain privacy protection as an additional feature, so to speak.
And if you’ve thought about how you probably don’t need it, then we encourage you to reconsider.
You see, when you buy and register a domain name, you also need to provide valid contact information that will be stored on the WHOIS public database, meaning that your contact details (email address, phone number, name, etc.), as well as domain registration info (registration date, registrar name, expiry date and more) are all available to anyone who searches on the web.
So, while domain privacy protection is not a necessity (no one can make you get it), it’s definitely something you should look into, especially if you’d rather avoid getting spammed constantly or potentially have someone out there hack your website.
In short: domain privacy keeps your domain contact information private and away from prying eyes.
However, if you need a bit more detail about why domain privacy protection is necessary, then make sure to read on.
5 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Skip Out on Domain Privacy
1. Avoid Getting Hacked/Identity Theft
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As we’ve already mentioned, the main goal of getting domain protection is to avoid just about anyone having access to the domain contact information you’d rather keep to yourself. After all, how comfortable are you knowing that random strangers might have your phone number and could call you anytime they want?
In addition to being plain uncomfortable with your information out there, skipping out on domain privacy carries another massive risk with it—getting hacked and having your identity stolen. Hackers often try to target public WHOIS information to reverse socially engineer access to a registrant’s account or they will target the registrant with phishing attacks pretending to be the registrar.
And if you’ve thought about just providing fake information, we hate to inform you that ICANN requires the contact info on a domain name to be legitimate, meaning that there’s really no way around it. If you enter fake information, you could lose your domain name if you miss the yearly WHOIS confirmation emails that registrars are required to send, as that will constitute a violation of terms and conditions.
In case domain protection doesn’t go far enough for you, there are also plenty of ways you could make your website more secure.
2. Keep Your Data from Being Sold
Sadly, someone hijacking your identity is not the only thing that can happen in case your information remains available to everyone on the world wide web.
Have you heard of the term “data scraping”? Also known as web scraping, data scraping is the process of gathering information from publicly available sources into a local file or spreadsheet, and saving it to be used for various purposes. In most cases, these “purposes” mean selling the data to third parties.
Believe it or not, with more and more companies engaging in data scraping , your unprotected domain and personal information could be on those lists.
As this is (obviously) something no one wants happening to them, signing up for domain privacy protection and paying a bit more attention to your cybersecurity is highly recommended.
3. Reduce the Number of Spam Emails
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Over the years, we’ve got so used to receiving spam emails that it’s become easy to ignore them once they find their way into our inboxes. Still, with your email address at everyone’s disposal, you’ll probably be facing an influx of spam emails that may not get caught by all your spam filters.
Email is generally the easiest way to reach someone nowadays, and companies who want to promote or sell something know that. With your contact information publicly available, they will be quick to use it to their advantage and spam you with their offers. With domain protection in place, your public contact email will remain hidden, and you can control if you want the e-mails delivered to your inbox.
4. Stop Unwanted Sales Calls
As is the case with emails, with your phone number available for everyone to see, companies and marketers alike will be quick to use it and try to sell something to you. Ultimately, what you will end up with is your phone constantly ringing, and you trying to explain why you don’t want to buy a new set of cooking pots.
With domain privacy protection in place, however, your data will be hidden from unwanted solicitors and you will be able to avoid receiving annoying sales calls day and night. Plus, you won’t have to worry about prank calls or complete strangers using your phone number anytime they see fit.
5. Hide Your Information from Competitors
Whether you’re a small or medium-sized business, you’re bound to have some competitors—competitors who’d like to find out exactly who you are, where you are, and how to get in touch with you.
Let’s face it, everyone stalks their competition in one way or another, but having your information available publicly on websites such as WHOIS makes it easier to do so. And if you’re a small business owner trying to make ends meet, any information leak could prove to be extremely costly for you.
Domain privacy protection is there to help you lower the risk of your competition stealing your contract information, and using it for their own business strategies.
How Can You Get Domain Privacy Protection?
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Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you should enable privacy protection for your domain, let’s talk about where you can get it and at what price.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, domain privacy protection is usually available to you during the process of registering a new domain name, although that doesn’t mean that you can’t get it down the road, if you change your mind. More often than not, domain registrars and web hosting companies offer domain protection as an extra feature, which is available for a certain fee (usually between $2 and $20 per year).
However, because we value and understand the need for privacy, NameSilo offers domain privacy protection of your information completely free of charge, while still complying with ICANN requirements.
In partnership with PrivacyGuardian.org, we’ve made sure that instead of your data being available to everyone, all your contact information that can be found on WHOIS is replaced with our Privacy Guardian defaults, including an anonymized custom email address for your domain (that will look something like this: [email protected]). And we give you control over whether you want emails sent to your custom anonymized address forwarded to your real address. That way, you can rest assured that no one will be able to take advantage of your contract information.
A couple of reasons why you may not choose to protect your domain name...
At this point, domain privacy protection probably seems like a no-brainer, so why is it that so many domain owners do not automatically turn it on? Well aside from the lack of education or potential costs associated depending on your registrar, protecting your domain also means less transparency. Which also means that your potential customers, business partners or people who wish to buy your domain name will have a harder time getting in contact with you.
Having your information out there shows your customers or potential business partners your contact info, in case they decide to dig deeper and head over to WHOIS to find it. A good workaround here is to ensure that your contact information is always displayed on your website (as an image), including at the footer of your pages and in a ‘Contact Us’ page. Alternatively, if you have your domain name registered at NameSilo, you can control whether you want emails sent to the anonymized address forwarded to you.
Of course, in most cases, the benefits of domain name privacy will outweigh the transparency issue. But if you’re trying to decide whether protecting your domain is worth it, then you should definitely take both arguments into consideration and solve for the potential limitations as much as possible.
It’s very hard to have 100% safety in today’s online world, but there are definitely steps you can take to protect yourself, your domains and your websites. Domain privacy protection is one such step.
Enabling it will not only lower the chances of your domain getting hacked, but also protect you from unsolicited sales emails and calls. Not to mention that you won’t have to worry about your competitors finding info about you and potentially using it against you.
With all said, we strongly believe that it’s better and safer to opt in for domain privacy protection and solve for the potential missed business opportunities in other ways.