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What is private domain registration?

Private domain registration, also commonly known as Whois privacy protection or domain privacy, is a service designed to shield your personal contact information from public view in the Whois database. 

The Whois is a publicly accessible database that stores information about all registered domain names and their owners - including the domain owner's name, organization, contact information, registration and expiration dates, and domain name servers. This data helps identify and contact domain owners, which can be useful for compliance and transparency. However, publicly showing your data in the Whois can also raise privacy concerns, as it exposes your personal information to the public and can lead to receiving spam and unsolicited emails.

This is where private domain registration comes in. Unlike public domain registration, private domain registration replaces your details in the Whois with generic contact details provided by your registrar, ensuring your privacy and reducing the risk of spam, identity theft, and unsolicited marketing.

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What is the difference between private domain registration and public domain registration?

Public domain registration exposes your personal information, including name, address, email, and phone number, in the Whois database, making it accessible to anyone who performs a Whois lookup on your domain. Private domain registration hides this information from public view, replacing it with generic contact details provided by your domain registrar. With Whois privacy protection turned on, your contact information will instead look somewhat like this:

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All contact details are redacted for privacy, while the email address lists the standard contact form of your registrar - in this case, Openprovider.

What is a Whois lookup?

A Whois lookup refers to the action of looking up a particular domain name in the Whois database. There are many different ways to access the Whois database, such as through ICANN’s official lookup tool, or through Who.is. Most domain registrars also offer a Whois lookup tool on their websites, including Openprovider.

Performing a Whos lookup allows you to search for and access the registration details of a domain, including the owner's personal information. With private domain registration, your personal and contact details are hidden in the Whois. All fields are either redacted for privacy or show generic details from your registrar instead.

Why do I need private domain registration?

Private domain registration offers several key benefits. Firstly, it protects your personal information. If your contact details are publicly available in the Whois, this strongly increases your chances of falling victim to identity theft, fraud, and spam. Secondly, it helps maintain a clutter-free inbox by minimizing unwanted emails, such as marketing agencies messaging you with unsolicited offers. Lastly, it gives you peace of mind and control over your online presence, ensuring your privacy and security in the digital world.

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Benefits of private domain registration 

Private domain registration protects your personal information, reduces spam and unsolicited marketing, prevents identity theft and fraud, and provides you with peace of mind and control over your online presence or digital identity.

  • Enhanced privacy: Whois privacy protection protects your personal contact information from public view in the Whois database, including details such as name, address, email, and phone number. By masking this information with generic contact details provided by the registrar, Whois privacy protection helps maintain your privacy and anonymity. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who wish to keep their personal information private or businesses that want to safeguard their employees' identities.

  • Reduced spam: Spammers, phishers, and other malicious actors often harvest available Whois data to send unsolicited emails, phone calls, or physical mail. With privacy protection enabled, you can minimize the risk of receiving spam and unsolicited marketing messages, as well as maintain a clutter-free inbox and reduce the annoyance and inconvenience caused by these unwanted messages.

  • Protection against identity theft: Exposing your personal contact information in the Whois database increases the risk of identity theft and fraud. Malicious individuals or organizations may exploit this information to impersonate you, perpetrate phishing attacks, engage in domain hijacking (unauthorized domain transfers), or other fraudulent activities. Domain privacy protection decreases your risk of falling victim to this by concealing your personal information, making it more difficult for malicious actors to get access to and misuse personal data.

  • Peace of mind: By enabling Whois privacy protection, you can enhance their overall online security and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your personal information is safe from unauthorized access and exploitation. This added layer of security reduces the risk of identity theft, fraud, and other cyber threats, helping individuals and businesses maintain control over their online identity and reputation and fostering trust and credibility.

How to get private domain registration 

Getting private domain registration is simple - although the exact process will vary slightly depending on the registrar you are registering your domain with. You can usually select Whois privacy protection as an add-on when registering a new domain, or navigate to your registrar’s control panel to turn it on for an existing domain. Some registrars offer this service for free, while others charge a yearly fee.

At Openprovider, you can select Whois Privacy Protection as an add-on during the registration process of your new domain name. Once you finish the registration, the domain privacy service will immediately be active.

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For an existing domain name at Openprovider, you can navigate to “Domains overview” in the control panel, select the domain name you want to enable the service for, and turn it on with just a click.

How to check if Whois Privacy Protection is enabled for your domain?

To check if Whois privacy protection is enabled for your domain, simply perform a Whois lookup for your domain name using any Whois lookup service. If your personal information is hidden or replaced with generic contact details, it means that you have Whois privacy protection enabled for your domain. You can also log in to your registrar’s control panel and check here if you have domain privacy services turned on.

What is the effect of GDPR on private domain registration?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enacted by the European Union in May 2018, imposes stricter rules on the collection and processing of personal data within the EU. This includes the information stored in the Whois database for all domain names, even if you do not live in Europe or your domain is not connected to a European registry.

Since the GDPR is enforced, the contact data of domain owners in the Whois are limited to company name, state/province, and country code. The Whois now includes an anonymized email address or a link to a contact form, rather than a personal email address. For these domain names, it means that there is no longer a relation between a domain name and an email address. Nobody can find the domain holder’s e-mail address from the Whois data of the respective domain name. Some technical information about a registered site itself, such as the date of registration, domain expiration date, and the sponsoring registrar, can also still be viewed publicly. If you want to hide all of your information, enabling Whois Privacy Protection services is your best bet.

The implementation of GDPR has also raised concerns about balancing privacy rights with the need for transparency and accountability in the domain registration process. Discussions are ongoing within the domain industry and regulatory bodies to find solutions that satisfy GDPR requirements while addressing legitimate concerns about data access and transparency - such as cases related to cybercriminality. If you are interested, you can read more about these concerns in this article by Cisco.

How much does private domain registration cost?

The cost of private domain registration varies depending on your registrar and the domain extension of your domain name. Typically, it ranges from a few dollars to around $20 per year. Some registrars also offer domain Privacy Protection to their customers for free.

At Openprovider, Members benefit from free domain privacy services for all domains (excluding those that do not allow for privacy protection). You can learn more about being a Member here.

If you want to purchase a domain immediately and add privacy protection to it, create an account and buy your first domain through our control panel.

Is private domain registration available for every domain? 

Private domain registration is available for most domain extensions, but not for all of them - as registries are allowed to set their own policies for this. This is mostly the case for ccTLDs, geoTLDs, and a few new gTLDs. The following domain extensions do not support domain Privacy Protection:

  • .abogado

  • .ac

  • .ae

  • .aero

  • .af

  • .africa

  • .ag

  • .ai

  • .alsace

  • .am

  • .ar

  • .ar.com

  • .asia

  • .at

  • .au

  • .auto

  • .barcelona

  • .bayern

  • .be

  • .berlin

  • .br

  • .br.com

  • .brussels

  • .bzh

  • .ca

  • .cat

  • .cd

  • .ch

  • .cl

  • .cm

  • .cn.com

  • .cologne

  • .coop

  • .corsica

  • .cx

  • .cz

  • .de

  • .dk

  • .ec

  • .es

  • .eu

  • .eu.com

  • .feedback

  • .fi

  • .film

  • .fm

  • .fr

  • .frl

  • .gd

  • .gg

  • .gl

  • .gr

  • .gs

  • .gy

  • .hamburg

  • .hk

  • .hm

  • .hn

  • .hr

  • .ht

  • .hu

  • .il

  • .im

  • .in

  • .io

  • .is

  • .it

  • .jobs

  • .jp

  • .kg

  • .kr

  • .la

  • .law

  • .lc

  • .li

  • .lt

  • .lu

  • .lv

  • .ly

  • .ma

  • .md

  • .melbourne

  • .mn

  • .ms

  • .mu

  • .mx

  • .my

  • .ngo

  • .nl

  • .no

  • .nrw

  • .nu

  • .nyc

  • .nz

  • .ong

  • .paris

  • .pe

  • .ph

  • .pl

  • .pm

  • .pr

  • .pro

  • .qa

  • .quebec

  • .re

  • .rich

  • .rio

  • .ro

  • .ru

  • .ruhr

  • .sa.com

  • .sb

  • .sc

  • .scot

  • .se

  • .sg

  • .sh

  • .si

  • .so

  • .sport

  • .sr

  • .srl

  • .st

  • .sx

  • .sydney

  • .tc

  • .tel

  • .tf

  • .tk

  • .tl

  • .tm 

  • .to

  • .top

  • .travel

  • .ua

  • .uk

  • .uk.com

  • .us

  • .us.com

  • .uy

  • .vc

  • .ve

  • .vg

  • .vlaanderen

  • .vote

  • .voto

  • .wien

  • .wf

  • .ws

  • .yt

  • .za

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