Did you know that as a domain owner, your personal information is available in a public database called WHOIS? That means people with malicious intent can access this information and cause trouble for you. Investing effort in protecting your personal information means you’re protecting your domain and your website. But how exactly do you do that?
With the domain privacy protection feature from your host provider, you won’t have to worry about exposed information. In this article, we’ll explain what domain privacy protection is and why you should use it. Read on!
The WHOIS database, what is it?
The WHOIS database is one of several databases for holding internet registrant data. These databases are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN is a nonprofit organization that maintains and coordinates IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and the Domain Name System (DNS). It also makes sure that every entity on the internet has a unique identifier that can be accessed by computers everywhere in the world.
Why you need to know about the WHOIS database
To register a domain, you must provide the domain registrar (or your web host, if you’re registering a domain through it) with basic contact information. That includes your legal name, address, phone number, and email address. All this information confirms that you are indeed the domain owner. And it’s also entered into the WHOIS database.
Here’s the catch though. Since WHOIS is a public database, anyone can access it. That means your personal information is vulnerable to threats from scammers, hackers, and identity thieves. Not to mention it also makes it easy for anyone to find and contact you – the owner of the domain.
It’s pretty safe to say that if you’ve purchased a domain name, your contact information is probably available to the public. Go run a WHOIS search for your domain right now and see what’s out there!
What is Domain Privacy Protection?
Some people may want their contact information available to the public. For instance, some businesses may prefer that their WHOIS information is available to anyone, as it provides them with another point of contact for their customers. But for most of us, we just don’t want anyone to have access to our personal information. We’d rather that it remains private. That’s where domain privacy protection comes in.
Domain privacy protection is an add-on service that host providers provide for clients who decide they don’t want that information to be accessible. It masks any personal information displayed on the ICANN directory with generic contact information.
When you add Bluehost’s domain privacy protection to your domain registration, the only information listed in the WHOIS will be Bluehost.com. You will still be the owner of the domain name, and anyone wanting to contact you from the information on your domain name will have to talk to Bluehost first.
Bluehost will let you know if there are any malicious attempts to purchase, re-register, or move your domain. And you can decide what critical actions you want to be notified about.
To enable domain privacy protection on any of your domains, simply log into your Bluehost control panel. Click on “Marketplace,” and then “Add-ons.” You should see the “domain privacy protection” option in the list of add-ons. The great thing is that it only costs as low as $1.25/month to protect your personal information!
6 reasons why you need to sign up for Domain Privacy Protection
Domain privacy protection is more than just hiding your personal information. It protects your identity, prevents undesirable scenarios and gives you some sense of security as a domain owner. The following are 6 benefits you’ll get if you use domain privacy protection.
1. Protection against identity theft
Domain privacy protection helps to ensure that your company address, phone numbers, email addresses and other data are not available through the WHOIS database. This prevents hackers from retrieving this information and using it in malicious ways.
For instance, scammers might take your personal or company information and build a fake identity out of that. They might use that fake identity to scam other businesses, giving you a bad reputation.
2. Prevent scams and spam emails
Spam emails are not only annoying but also very harmful to your business. By hiding your email information, you will be less prone to spam and email attacks like phishing – a very common scam technique.
Email phishing is when hackers pose as a legitimate company, or as someone in your company. They will try to get your employees to open fake emails and download malicious files containing malware. They will even send emails with a link that leads to a fake company page and ask your employee to log in with their credentials so they can steal that information. You definitely don’t want these scenarios to happen and compromise your company’s data.
3. Prevent unwanted calls
It’s the same situation as with email, getting unwanted calls is not pleasant. If your personal information is readily available to the public, there’s nothing stopping people from getting hold of it. Pushy marketers may retrieve your phone number and bother you with their annoying telemarketing. Scammers may try to call and scam you into buying things you don’t need.
4. Protection against fraudulent domain transfer
Domain privacy protection helps to protect you against fraudulent domain transfers. It’s a type of scam in which a fraudulent company pretends to be a registrar and asks domain owners like yourself to renew their domains as soon as possible. They may send you a renewal notice and tell you to pay for the renewal as soon as possible.
But the problem is, the company you’re dealing with is a fraud. So you’re basically paying for a domain transfer, not a renewal. A domain transfer usually costs more money than a renewal. Or worse, you might lose all that money for nothing. Even though you can’t hide your domain’s expiration date, you can still hide your contact information to prevent this kind of situation.
5. Prevent the selling of personal information
Without domain privacy protection, someone can just gather all your personal information and sell it for profit. There are many companies that buy this kind of data and sell it to others. Because of that, you might get unwanted emails and phone calls and wonder why you are receiving those. Don’t let these people benefit from you!
6. Prevent your competitors from gaining insights
If anyone can access your company information, that means your competitors can do the same thing. They can use your information to help them gain insights into your business. They can learn about how your business operates and which domains you own, all to gain competitive edges over you and capture your market share.
As a domain owner, the domain privacy protection add-on is something you should really consider using. And you definitely won’t break your wallet by purchasing this feature. For as low as $1.25/month, you can protect your identity and prevents undesirable scenarios from ever happening. That’s a reasonable cost when you think about the risks it mitigates. So get started today and secure your domain with Bluehost!
If you have any questions about add-ons like domain privacy protection, our support team is always ready to help.