Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
Should You Register Your Domain Names Privately?
Ready, set, blog! Wait! Have you registered your domain name yet? Of course, you have to register that domain name but before you do, there is one question you have to deal with: to private or to go public? As required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the domain owners must make their e-mail address, mailing address and phone numbers available on WHOIS directories.
Yes, you read it right: all those data that are supposed to be private have to be listed on WHOIS Web sites. This way, if someone wants to know who owns a Web site, all they to do is run a quick WHOIS search, type the domain name and voila, they have access to the website registration details.
This is one reason why you should register your domain name privately. Imagine what could happen if spammers, identity thieves, direct marketers and even stalkers get hold of your telephone number and mailing address. The least that could happen is you get an influx of marketing letters in your mailbox; the worst that could happen is someone stealing your identity. And if you had someone obsessed with your Web site or you get someone peeved with your Web site content, you may have someone stalking you from the virtual world to the real world.
Scary, you might say.
But these things do happen and can happen to anyone, including you and me. In the virtual world, we all are vulnerable to becoming a prey to predators lurking on the internet. So, if you do not want your registration details being put up on those WHOIS registries, you might as well opt to register your domain name privately.
So, have you made up your mind yet? I say you opt for privacy. And if you still do not know how to do it, there are many domain servers out there that offer you such option. Although it would mean paying an extra, about $10 or so, for a year, I think it is the best way to keep your details secured. Think of the cost that you have to shoulder should your domain registration details fall into the wrong hands. Check with your domain registrar.
If you opt register your domain name in private, your details will be blocked by your domain registrar. When people check on your domain registration on any WHOIS registry, they will not see your name, e-mail address, home address, and phone number. They will see the name of your domain host as the registrar and not your name. Is that a good idea or not? You get to keep your private details for an additional but affordable cost.
Keep in mind that there are domain extensions that would let you keep your details private and there are some domain extensions that would not allow you. If you choose .us as your domain extension that you will not have the option to keep your registration details private. Why is this so? This is because the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requires all domain names with such .us extension must keep their registration details available to public. On the other hand, domain names with .ca extensions are assured that their registration details are keep in private as the Canadian Internet Registration Authority has stopped posting individual registrar’s details. Domain extensions like .co.uk, .me.uk, and .org.uk give you the option to keep your details private. And there are other companies online that will give you the option to register your domain name in private for an additional charge.
Beware though of some domain registrars or companies offering domain registration privacy. Do not be fooled by what you read on their advertisement pages or on what these domain registrars are promising. Make a lot of researches before you decide on which company you will register your domain names. There are many forums online (my fav: Web Hosting Talk and Webmaster World) that will give you an idea whether on company can be trusted or is able to deliver their promises. Also, check out my hosting reviews here – some of the hosting providers (WebHostingHub and InMotion Hosting, for example) do provide such registration services.
There are also news article online chronicling the experiences of individuals who have opted to register their domain name privately with domain registrars and ended up disappointed. The key in domain name registration privacy is to do it with a reputable company that has a good reputation in keeping registrar’s details private. Some companies will promise you everything but will give in to pressure. One domain name registration company allegedly gave the private details of one of its clients after receiving a phone call requesting for it. This and other related incidence should be avoided and prevented from happening. In the end, if you do opt for private registration, make sure that your blog will not earn annoy or displease people who would do everything and anything possible to track you down.
Some related links before I end this article: For newbies, you might also want to check out my articles on the domain name topic, including What Is A Domain Name, Difference Between Web Hosting And Domain Name, as well as My Tips On How To Select The Right Domain Name. Also, despite spammers and hackers, it is equally important To Protect Yourself From A Bad Hosting Company.
Have fun reading! ;)