You probably know that you need to register domain name information before you can make a website available to the public. Your domain is what uniquely identifies your particular website, distinguishing it from every other website. What you may not know is that the personal information you need to supply when you register a domain will become public by default. If you want to keep that information hidden from everybody, you have the option of doing a private domain registration.
What is private domain registration?
You may think that a private domain registration means that your domain name will remain private, which defeats the purpose of having a website in the first place. You will want to attract visitors to your website, and that means letting as many people as possible know about it. Since your domain name and your website name are essentially the same thing, you will be keen to publicize your domain name.
All domains have to be registered, and some of the information you supply when going through the registration process will be made public by default. Don’t worry, that does not include information like your credit card details. What it does include is your name, your address, and your contact email. When you choose to make your domain registration details private, these details, and not your actual domain name, are hidden from the general public.
How does it work?
It is really quite simple. Instead of your personal details being associated with your domain name, we use a domains by proxy registration service.
Proxy details are now visible to anybody who looks up the domain registrant details. They will see the email and contact details of the proxy service, rather your own personal proxy and contact details.
Is it legal?
Under ICANN regulations, and legislation in various jurisdictions, it is a requirement that domain name owners must provide details like their address.
At present, there is no system in place to actually verify addresses, but the email provided has to be accurate, since that is how a domain registrar, such as wild west domains, will contact the domain owner.
When you opt for private domain registration, you are still complying with ICANN regulations and with the law. Your personal contact details will still be provided to the domain registration service, but they will be marked as private. The registrar will publish the proxy’s details, rather than the actual owner’s details.
Why bother with private domain registration?
At the outset, let us point out that if you already have your personal contact information published on your own website, then there is no point in doing a private domain registration, as your information is already available to anybody. If you are working from home, you may be publishing your home address, so domain privacy may not benefit you.
However, very few people will actually publish this personal information on their websites (although they may publish it on other websites), and they may not want people to be able to make the connection between their websites and who they are or where they live.
There are quite a few reasons why you should seriously consider keeping your personal details out of the public’s reach.
1. Privacy is a key issue when you run any business. This has long been recognized in jurisdictions around the world. Just because you become a shareholder in a business, there is no obligation on that business to let the world at large know that this has happened. If you open a local store, you are not required to let all the customers who visit the store know where you live.
The same thing applies when you register a domain. Imagine a situation where you have a dissatisfied customer who has bought a product or service through your website, and the customer is now unhappy for some reason. We are assuming you are running a legitimate business and will do all in your power to resolve the issue.
If the customer is unhappy with your efforts to resolve the matter, you will want all communications to remain between the customer and your business, rather than between the customer and you personally. You do not want the customer writing or, worse still, calling to your home.
2. When your contact email is in the public domain, you are opening your email address to floods of spam emails.
From the earliest days of the Internet, there were programs available that could follow links from one website to the next, and automatically read the information they found on each website. These are often referred to as web crawlers or robots. That is how search engines get their information.
Web crawlers are not exclusive to search engines, and anybody can easily buy one and use it for any purpose. Since email addresses have a specific format, it is easy for spammers to get data using web crawlers and then extract the email addresses from any of the content found.
Domain registrars try to protect the publicly available data from being accessed by “bad” web crawlers, but they cannot offer 100% protection of the public data they store. When your email address is associated with your domain, you are vulnerable to having it harvested for spamming purposes.
3. You decrease your chances of being a target of fraudsters when your contact details are private. When you register a domain, you have exclusive use of that name. However, unless you explicitly register variations, such as different TLDs like .com, .net, and .org, these alternative TLDs can be registered by others.
You may receive an email from a business claiming to be a domain registration service telling you that a bulk customer is attempting to register new domains similar to yours. You will be offered the opportunity, for a fee, to stop this happening. This is always a fraud, but you may fall for it because the email came to your personal email address. Other fraudulent schemes may appear credible to you for the same reason.
5. Private domain registration can protect you from identity theft. We have already referred to how you will try to promote your website by publicizing your domain name. If somebody types your domain name into a search engine, they will eventually see many different results.
Suppose you use a popular social network to communicate with your friends and you let them know about your website. Your post may be indexed by a search engine. Now, when somebody searches for your website, they will be able to associate your social network page with your site. They can then combine the personal information from your social network profile, which could include things like your date of birth, with other information like your address and phone number that they get from your domain registration record.
While private domain registration is not a requirement, there are many advantages to registering your domains using this option. It is very easy to activate private domain registration, and it costs very little extra. In fact, the amount of time you will save by not having to trawl through numerous spam emails to your account will easily make up for your outlay on making your domain name private. Private registration can also protect you from fraud. Here at webdevel.com, you can register domains privately with just an additional mouse click. Go to our Register Domains page to get started.