When I first got into building websites I never paid for privacy because I didn’t see the big deal but after a while I have come to appreciate the importance of having it. Do I need domain privacy protection?
Probably not, but the following points will talk about why I now use it and why you may want to consider it too.
#1 Protecting Your Anonymity
The majority of people pay the extra money for privacy for well… privacy. Whenever you register a domain name (with every company I am aware of) you are required to pay an additional fee in order to keep your details safe. After the registration process the registrar (domain company you go with) automatically registers your details on the WHOIS database.
If you don’t get privacy protection then your full name, address, email and phone number are displayed on that database for the world to see.
For example if you go to www.whois.net you can look up any website at all and find out the name of the person and the company they registered their domain with. From that point you can find the exact ‘Whois database’ that the person is listed on. If the domain was registered on GoDaddy for example, then the specific Whois database to find all of that persons information would be ‘whois.godaddy.com’.
I guess it depends on how much you like keeping your info private but it can be a good thing overall. The following points go into more detail about some of the specific reasons you may want to keep your details private.
#2 Annoying Spam
Some of my domains are still public (I’ll be transferring them before they renew) so I get a ton of annoying spam emails about just about anything you could think of including web design, SEO services, logo design, make money online and on and on. After a while this gets pretty annoying, but it gets more intrusive than just email as you’ll see.
#3 Unwanted Calls & Text Messages
If anyone knows about annoying phone calls and text messages (from only having a couple of publicly listed websites) it’s me. On average I get about 1 phone call or text every single day from people trying to sell me something or get me to click through on a text about some crappy offer.
Email is one thing but when they target your phone believe me it can get SUPER annoying! I’ve had calls from all over the world including Cyprus, India, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Nigeria to name a few. The text messages always come from a new number so it’s impossible to block and pointless to try and follow up.
#4 Scam Offers
This is where things start getting worse than just annoying, a lot of people have been tricked over the years with totally bogus offers. These scammers have your details and the company you are hosted with so they can pretend to be the same company and offer to renew your domain when in fact they are just scammers.
They offer people website packages and SEO services that have no value for a premium price. There’s a ton of scam offers these people will try and flog to you believe me.
With the information they have they may even try and pass themselves off as someone that works with a company you deal with to try and get your credit card details or more information. They may claim there’s been a problem with your account that needs to be acted on right away to trick you. For example saying your account has been hacked and they need you to give them your personal information (like DOB and account information) to ‘verify who you are and restore your account’. In reality they are trying to get your credit card details to make purchases and login to your domain account for other malicious purposes.
The avenues these scammers use are endless but the point is they are actively scamming people and it’s important to be aware of these things to protect yourself.
#5 Identity Theft
Even worse than falling victim to a a dodgy scam offer is the very real and increasing threat of identity theft. There are many ways this can happen to a person and just having domain privacy won’t completely stop this risk, but it can help.
If someone gains access to enough information and rips off your identity the sky is the limit to the damage they can do to you financially, in some cases it can even become dangerous. There are millions of people each year falling victim to identity theft in the US alone and that number is increasing.
I am not saying that domain protection is the answer to this complex issue, but in my opinion it certainly helps keep you out of the firing line. The less personal information you have openly displayed on the Internet the better.
#6 Domain Theft
Also known as domain hijacking, this is where a person essentially steals your domain property for their own benefit. One of the ways this is done is through the person imitating you and convincing the registrar to transfer your domain name to another provider, one which they have full control over.
Having domain privacy doesn’t eliminate this threat entirely but it does make it a lot harder for people to do this to you.
I don’t know about you but after working really hard on my websites the last thing I want is to lose them to some ‘hijacker’ when it could have been avoided. I think this becomes especially important as you start to earn an income from your websites and/ or they are part of a brand you are working hard to build.
What Are The Downsides?
One drawback is the extra cost involved in getting privacy protection enabled but I guess it really depends on which company you go with.
Also some people may actually want to have their name displayed, like a company website for example. The information listed may be more of a business nature than a personal one so it doesn’t really present the same level of risk.
There’s a lot of different options when it comes to domain name registration but to give you some idea on price I thought I’d grab two of the most well known companies and one that is fairly new in the domain world that I am now using.
I’m using an example of registering a random .com website (TimsExampleWebsite.com) and I did not include any email accounts. I also did this example pricing for a 2 year period to show you the difference because some companies really make the first year sound great, until it comes to renewal time. The 2 year mark is a more accurate overall comparison.
GoDaddy.com– It surprised me that these guys were the most expensive at $57.46 for 2 years because they come across as the cheapest option, at least that’s how they get people in. The thing with this company is that they get people in with $0.99 domains if you are a new customer and then up sell you as you go through the purchasing process. This isn’t to mention the annual renewal cost is much higher. I started out using this company but am moving my sites over in due course.
NameCheap.com– This was in the middle and not an overall bad deal, Ive never bought a domain with these guys though. This come in at $33.74 for 2 years.
WealthyAffiliate.com– I am a member of this platform and they recently released the option to buy domains through them. It is a training platform for people wanting to learn Internet marketing and has a website builder, hosting, a huge community of help and a bunch of other cool stuff.
In terms of the domain service it automatically comes with free privacy protection and the price doesn’t go up each year. It came just under NameCheap at $27.98 for 2 years. Its less than half the price of GoDaddy.
If you decide to try this option here’s the exact steps you’ll need to follow to set this up:
Step 1- Click on the blue ‘Wealthy Affiliate’ link above.
Step 2- Create a free account (you don’t need a credit card to do this)
Step 3- Navigate to ‘Site Domains’ and follow the prompts. It’s that easy and there’s no annoying up sells either.
Whatever company you choose I think it’s important to be aware of the importance of privacy protection for your domain name and at least consider getting it.
It’s not absolutely necessary though and you might be fine without it, personally I think it’s worth the small amount of money to invest in and all of my domains will have this moving forward.