Many domain registrars offer free or inexpensive whois privacy features when you purchase a domain from them. Whois privacy effectively provides you with domain ID protection. It hides the domain contact details within whois records that can be found by members of the public.
When you register a domain, you are legally required to give proper contact details of the domain registrar (either a private individual or company). Some domain registrars will require you to validate this identity as well. When you register a new domain, these contact details form part of the publicly visible whois data. In many cases, it can be preferable to have this data hidden. Especially for domains that contain adult content, so that a member of the public cannot see your personal details attached to an adult site.
As an example, for an unprotected site, part of the whois data would look like this:
However, for a protected domain, the whois data is returned differently. It would look something like this:
Provider of Whois Privacy
PO BOX 999
This, of course, is much more private and is not exposing your personal data to the public.
Not All TLD Allow Whois Protection
Unfortunately, UK domains such as co.uk do not allow whois privacy to be enabled. Currently, only a limited number of TLD allow whois privacy. The good news is, that TLD such as .net, .org, .com and .info all allow whois privacy to be enabled.
How Does Domain ID Protection Help?
Whois privacy will prevent spammers from finding your real email address when they do a whois lookup for your domain name. And as mentioned above, as the owner and operator of an adult content website, you may not wish to have your own or the name of your company exposed to the public.
How Do People Contact the Real Domain Owner?
In some cases, the provider of the whois privacy service will divulge details of the registered owner. For example, if the police need to find out who owns a specific domain. Additionally, if the registrar receives snail mail for the domain owner, if it seems to be from an official source, it will usually be scanned and emailed to the domain owners email address.
If you need to prove that you own a domain, you will need to switch off domain ID protection to do so. Also, if you purchase or sell a domain that has whois privacy in place, it will be disabled when the registered domain owner changes.
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