Domain privacy (which is also known as domain privacy protection or WHOIS privacy) is a service that domain registrars offer that replaces your contact information with their information in the public WHOIS directory. This protects all businesses by ensuring contact information is less accessible to spammers, hackers, and solicitors. The good news is that domain privacy is usually inexpensive to add, and in some cases is even included for free.
How Domain Privacy Works
When you buy a domain name, your information is automatically collected and added to a database that tracks all internet domains. This database is available to the public, and many spammers and hackers scrape this database for contacts. To prevent this, you can purchase domain privacy when you register your domain; this replaces your contact information with that of your registrar, protecting your sensitive information.
Domain Privacy Costs & Top Domain Registrars
Domain name privacy is typically purchased as an add-on during the normal domain name registration process. While domain privacy is available for free with some domain name registrars, most charge an extra $8 to $12 per year for the service. Those that come with free domain privacy are generally those that charge a slightly higher price for the domain name, so it’s worth looking into which registrar best suits your overall needs.
- GoDaddy: Domains come standard with basic privacy protection and domains, on average, cost around $12 per year.
- Namecheap: As the name suggests, Namecheap is one of the cheapest ways to purchase domains online; the average price of a .com is around $9 per year, which includes free domain privacy.
- Hover: While Hover domains cost slightly more than other domain registrars at around $12.99 per year, all domains come standard with free domain privacy, making it a good value.
- Bluehost: While Bluehost web hosting plans come with a free domain, you can also purchase an individual domain for around $12 per year. To get domain privacy, you will have to pay an additional $11.88 per year.
- DreamHost: Buying a domain from DreamHost will only cost you around $8 to $12 per year—including domain privacy. For an even better deal, its web hosting plans come with a free domain name (which also includes domain privacy).
Not sure which one to use? Get the complete breakdown of the best domain registrars.
Benefits of Domain Privacy Protection
Domain privacy prevents your contact information—like your name, email address, phone number, and address—from being published in public domain databases. This means that hackers, spammers, solicitors, and thieves won’t be able to easily find all of your contact information from your domain name registrar.
Here are three ways domain privacy protects your business:
- Eliminates spam: No one likes spam, so to help reduce the amount you receive, register your domain privately to keep your information from being listed in the WHOIS database, thereby adding a layer of protection for your business.
- Avoids solicitors: Some of those who scrape the WHOIS database for contact information are looking to sell you something. Avoid the relentless phone calls and obnoxious messages by keeping your information private.
- Prevents domain theft: Domain privacy adds an extra layer of protection against those who may try to use your contact information to hack into your account and unlock your domain to transfer it without permission. Likewise, it keeps hackers from using that information to try to gain back-end access to your website.
Wondering why anyone wouldn’t opt for domain privacy? Well, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for businesses that already include all of their contact information on their site, as many—particularly brick-and-mortar—businesses do.
How to Register a Private Domain Name in 3 Steps
It’s easy to register a domain with privacy. First, choose a domain name registrar, then search for and select the domain name you wish to purchase. In the checkout process, you will be given the option to add domain privacy to your order. Select this option and complete the checkout process.
Here’s how to set up domain privacy in three steps:
1. Navigate to the Domain Registrar of Your Choice
To begin, go to the domain name registrar you wish to use, such as GoDaddy or Hover. If you’re building your site with WordPress, it’s worth considering signing up for a web hosting plan that includes a free domain, such as Bluehost or DreamHost. If you’re planning to build a site with an all-in-one site builder, such as Squarespace or Wix, you will likely get a free domain name with your plan.
2. Find & Select a Domain
If you’re not sure what to include in your domain name, learn more about how to choose a domain name, and if you’re not sure which extension to use, learn more about the best domain name extensions for business.
Alternatively, you can use the domain name search bar below:
After finding a domain name, add it to your cart to begin the registration process.
3. Select Domain Privacy at Checkout & Complete Purchase
On the following screen, complete all of the fields to register your domain. You will be given the option to add domain privacy to your registration. Make sure you opt in to the domain privacy, and continue the prompts to complete your purchase.
After registering your domain, you will then be able to manage your domain from your domain registrar. This is where you will update name servers to connect your domain to your site. Not sure how to do that? Get all the information you need on how to build your small business website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is domain privacy?
By law, when a domain is registered, the domain registrar must provide the owner’s contact information to the ICANN WHOIS directory, which then publicly publishes the domain and its contact information. When you buy domain privacy, the contact information is changed to that of the company from which you bought your domain. This keeps your information from being accessed by spammers, hackers, and other individuals with nefarious intent.
Is domain privacy necessary for GDPR?
When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted into law by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union in April 2016, ICANN issued a requirement that domain registrars remove public access to their registrant’s personal data.
Is domain privacy worth it?
Yes, domain privacy is worth it for those who want to avoid spam, solicitors, and hackers. What’s more, domain privacy doesn’t have to come at an added cost. Many domain registrars include basic domain privacy for free, such as DreamHost, Namecheap, and Hover, so it’s worth taking the time to choose a provider that offers you the most protection at the best value.
Domain privacy ensures your personal information—including your name, email, phone number, and address—is hidden in the public WHOIS domain directory. If you’re like most, you will find this well worth the small investment of domain privacy.
Not only can you skip paying extra for domain privacy by opting for a domain registrar that includes domain privacy for free, but you most likely can get a domain name for free through a provider you’re already using, such as a web hosting plan with Bluehost or a professional plan with providers such as Squarespace and Wix.