Concerned about domain privacy?

Did you know that it is a requirement for all domain name registrations that contact details for the Registrant (e.g. you) be made available via a WHOIS lookup?

This means that your private contact information could be published on the internet for anyone to lookup.

Some examples of the types of information contained within WHOIS records include:

  • Your Name
  • Company Name
  • Postal Address
  • Phone Number
  • Fax Number
  • Email Address

What is WHOIS and what is its purpose?

WHOIS (pronounced as the phrase who is) is a global database that contains registered contact information for a wide variety of resources on the internet, namely domain name registrations. When ever a domain name is registered, contact details must be nominated, and these are uploaded into the WHOIS database by the domain registrar.

How do I hide my private information in WHOIS records?

The answer to that question depends on what type of domain name you have:

Privacy Protection for .com domains (and other TLD’s)

The main TLD domains (e.g. .com, .net etc) have fairly relaxed rules when it comes to allowing you to hide your private contact information. For these domains, the best option is to purchase Privacy Protection for your domain, which will hide all of this information from WHOIS lookups. Host Geek can provide this service for all eligible domains for just $5.50 (inc. GST) per year. This is a cheap investment to protect your privacy! To get started, simply tick the box to enable privacy protection when you register your domain or transfer it to Host Geek. If your domain is already registered with Host Geek, log into the Client Portal, click to manage your domain, and order Privacy Protection.

Privacy Protection for domains (and other Australian domains)

Unfortunately due to some strict auDA policies enabling Privacy Protection is not so straight forward. In short, the reason for this is that whoever is listed in the WHOIS database as the Registrant Contact for a .au domain is the legal owner of the domain. The practice is also expressly prohibited in the auDA’s (the body overseeing the .au name space) WHOIS Policy (2014-07) and Registrant Contact Information Policy (2010-07). Therefore if you were able to enable privacy protection for a .au domain in the same manner as you can for a .com domain, it would essentially mean you are passing ownership of the domain onto the privacy protection provider!

Thankfully, there are a few simple things that you can do to help protect your private information with a .au domain, such as:

  • Use a separate email address for the domain, rather then your personal email address
  • Use a PO box for the contact postal address rather then your physical street address