A quick Google search (or, preferably, DuckDuckGo) for domain privacy protection can lead to some questionable resources. Most of the articles combine accurate information with biased sales pitches written by domain registrars looking to sell their services. You can’t blame them, it’s content marketing for their business. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can make it hard to trust the info. Here, I provide a simple and unbiased explanation of domain privacy without ties, links, or referrals to any particular services.
- What is Domain Privacy Protection?
- Does Domain Privacy Protection Really Keep Me Private or Anonymous?
- Do I Need Domain Privacy Protection?
- Is Domain Privacy Protection Free?
- Are Domain Privacy, Domain Privacy Protection, and WHOIS Privacy Protection Different?
What is Domain Privacy Protection?
Domain privacy protection is an additional service offered by most domain name registrars designed to mask the true domain owners personal information. Instead of the WHOIS database showing the true owner’s personal email or postal address, it shows the information provided by the forwarding service.
Does Domain Privacy Protection Really Keep Me Private or Anonymous?
No. Domain privacy protection is only as private as the company providing the service wants it to be. Any information the provider has about the person who created the domain is stored by them. Historically, it has not been difficult to convince these providers to release this information.
Even if the provider refused to release the information there is a chance it still exists. If the domain was initially registered using the true owners information, then privacy protection was added after, that original registration page could be stored by something like Wayback Machine or another archival platform.
Do I Need Domain Privacy Protection?
Domain privacy protection should be considered a nice-to-have, not a necessity. It will make it a bit more difficult to find the true owner of a domain which is useful for reducing spam and other unwanted solicitation. It does not, though, completely prevent the true domain owner’s information from being found by someone with the time and motivation.
Is Domain Privacy Protection Free?
That is completely up to the domain provider registering the domain. Some offer domain privacy protection completely free of charge, some include it in the domain registration cost, and others offer it as a separate service. To remain unbiased I’ll refrain from making recommendations and simply ask you to do your own research.
Are Domain Privacy, Domain Privacy Protection, and Whois Privacy Protection Different?
No, they all mean the same thing.
It’s better to have domain privacy enabled than to not, provided you recognize the limitations. It does not make you anonymous. Any group or person with enough time and motivation can find the information hidden behind a domain privacy setting. It does, however, make the info a bit harder to find which will reduce spam and unwanted solicitation.