Whois and Domain Privacy
As an experienced webmaster, I always sign up for private domain name registration for my domain names. This is an option that every domain registrar offers, though they usually charge a few dollars extra for it. What this does is keep your name, address and email out of the Whois directory. Instead, the registrar’s information is listed.
Your domain, then, is still listed under Whois, but no one will be able to contact you by using this information. At least one major domain registrar, Namecheap, includes domain privacy without any additional charges when you register a domain. This is something you might consider when buying a domain name! Check out this awesome article on domain privacy on 100Webhosting.com if you fancy some further reading on how to protect your website and domain name. 100Webhosting.com is a great website on website building topics.
You can find whois information on almost all web hosting sites including GoDaddy and Namecheap, but the one that I always use is the whois search on 100Webhosting.com. This search feature is very fast and returns a lot of related info which is pretty useful. Don’t believe me? Check it out at 100webhosting.com/whois/
Pro and Con of Domain Privacy
There are pro and con arguments regarding domain privacy. On the positive side, you won’t have to deal with spam or fraudulent offers appearing in your inbox. The downside, however, is that some people may find it suspicious if they can’t find information about you under Whois. It is sometimes considered the mark of a shady business to opt for domain privacy.
This is really a personal decision. For personal websites and most small businesses, domain privacy is usually a good thing. It’s mainly larger companies that have to worry about maintaining a high profile reputation that includes a Whois listing with their contact info.
If you decide against domain privacy, you can always get a special email address for that domain. That way you will at least be able to filter your emails and easily spot spam that comes your way. You should also think carefully about what address to use.
Some small businesses get a PO box to use as their official business address. There are also reasonable online services that provide official mailing addresses if you want to keep your home address private.
Like it or not, the Whois database is part of the reality of owning domains and websites. It’s just a matter of how you want to deal with it. You should either opt for domain privacy when registering a domain or take other steps to safeguard your personal information.
The important thing to know about Whois is that it exists and that it will have some record of your website. Some inexperienced website owners don’t even realize that their home address and main email address are public information. There are several ways to avoid this once you are aware of the situation.