When registering a domain name you will likely be given the option to include Whois Privacy or Domain Name Privacy protection.
The exact name of the service and cost will depend on the domain name registrar but it does the same thing – keep your personal details private.
Why Would You Need It?
Part of the domain name registration process requires the registrant to provide their details including: name, address, email and telephone number – as you would expect.
But what you might not realise is that these details are then accessible to anyone on the Internet.
That’s not going to be an issue for a business using the business’ address and details, but as a person registering a domain name for personal use, would you really want your details accessible to anybody?
Most people wouldn’t even publicize these details on their social networking profile which is accessible only to their friends and co-workers!
How Are Your Details Accessible?
The domain registration entity responsible for a specific domain extension will provide a Whois service. A Whois lookup can be made with them and they will respond by providing the registrant details.
Whois lookups against a domain registrar can be made by anybody through websites that do the requests for you. For example: https://who.is.
It’s possible for spammers and scammers to anonymously harvest these records through automated scripts. Either piggybacking off other websites’ Whois access or getting their own access. A less than ideal situation.
What Does Whois Protection Do?
A company offering Whois protection (domain privacy) will act as a proxy for the legal registrant. Meaning their details are returned instead of the actual domain registrant.
If anyone has a legitimate reason to contact the domain registrant, they can still do so but have to go via the domain privacy provider (which can be as simple as automatic email forwarding to you).
So your details are never publicly exposed and legitimate people can still get in contact with you.
Whois protection is available with most domain registrations. Namecheap for example offer WhoisGuard which is included free for the first year of a domain registration (less than $3 per year to renew).
Click here to compare domain name registrars and see what domain privacy options they provide.