Hosting Tutorial & Guide

The Pros and Cons of Using Domain Privacy Registration

updated on Dec 12, 2017
The Pros and Cons of Using Domain Privacy Registration As an online identification, domain names play an essential role in the success of businesses. When building an online presence, the first thing you should do is to register a domain name with a reliable domain registrar or web host. The registration process is always easy to handle, but you might be confused whether to purchase the recommended add-on feature which is called Domain Privacy or Domain WHOIS Privacy. Do you know what the service really is?

Domain privacy registration is a service offered by most domain registrars (like eNom and GoDaddy) and leading web hosting providers (like BlueHost andHostGator) to enable you to register your domain privately. As is known, when you register a domain, you need to provide your private information which is normally public and easily accessible by anyone on the web. The privacy service, then, hides all of the private information – name, address, email, phone, etc. – from others.

Now we have a look at the pros and cons of domain privacy registration.

What is domain privacy?

In fact, this is a security service concerning to domain name that is offered by hosting companies or domain name registrars. With it, webmasters can have their personal information masked and replaced with the information of the service provider. This can decrease the chances of sensitive and important information leaking significantly, and lead to a more safe and secure environment for the website running.

How does it work?

Generally, when you purchase a domain name, the registration process requires you to provide a series of personal information including your name, country, city, street address, e-mail address, and phone number for convenient future contact and purchasing information receiving.

After your domain name is successfully registered, all of the information will be stored at the WHOIS database immediately. However, this database is totally public and can be viewed, accessed, and utilized by any people, meaning that the opportunity of your personal information to be exposed on the Internet is large. In this case, the service of domain privacy can be useful.

If you purchase this protection service, then the information showcased in the public WHOIS database will be that of your web host or domain provider, but not yours.

Pros of using domain privacy registration

There are indeed reasons why to use domain privacy for your domain. The service helps keep your domain safe mainly in the following ways.
  • Personal Information Protection
Currently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) broadly requires the domain owners' private information (including mailing address, phone number and email address) as well as the nameservers and some other simple details about the domain registration (including registration, renewal and expiration dates) to be publicly available. Anyone can access all the information from various WHOIS search engines.

As a result, some spammers, direct marketers, identity thieves, hackers and other attackers are able to search for the information for malicious use.

Private registration, however, hides your personal information from the public WHOIS database by creating a proxy record showing the details of the private registration service rather than your own information. Your information as the owner of the domain name is therefore private and only known to the private domain registration service you use. Using the service, the risk of being disturbed by malicious people is reduced, and that is the main reason why people opt to purchase the service.
  • Domain Hijacking Prevention
Besides the safety of the private information, private registration service also helps prevent domain hijacking. If your domain is publicly registered, it can be easily transferred – even by attackers. However, the add-on service adds some difficulties in the domain transfer process, protecting your domain from a mistaken transfer.

When private registration is enabled, the authorization email for domain transfer is always sent to the dummy email address provided by the registrar instead of your own real email address. Then the transfer will fail because it cannot be authorized. Most dummy email addresses never forward to your own email address.

Cons of using domain privacy registration

Domain privacy registration service contributes much to the security of both your domain itself and your personal information. But at the same time, it also has the following drawbacks.
  • Money
Privacy registration is not free of charge. The price depends on the registrar, reseller or web host you are going with, but as we reviewed, most large companies offer the service at about $10 per year. Besides, you should know that the service, in most cases, is non-refundable, which means you can never get the money back even if you have only used for several days.
  • Not SEO-friendly

Sometimes the service could have a negative impact on SEO or even get your domain blacklisted. Privately registering your domain would not directly lower your ranking on Google, but it raises a red flag that your domain may be a spammer or black-hat SEO practitioner, then you can be labeled as a troublemaker. Moreover, some human-reviewed web directories might also be cautious in adding your domain registered privately.
  • Domain Locked
Domain transfer cannot be accomplished when privacy protection is enabled. To transfer your domain, you need to be authorized, but as your email address is hidden by the service, the authorization email cannot reach your email address. What you need to do then is to disable the service using a domain manager.
  • Legal Declamation
If someone has registered a domain privately which encroaches on your copyright or trademark, it could be a little bit hard for you to send a cease order to the owner of the domain. Besides, the ownership of the privately registered domains is also an issue. In the case that a registrar goes bankrupt and stops operations, it is quite difficult for the domain owners to regain control over their domains.

Special notes of domain privacy

Although the domain privacy can promise you great benefits, it still has some drawbacks. This service is not free of charge, and the price varies differently based on the service providers. In addition, if you purchase it when you sign up with a hosting package, then it is non-refundable, meaning that you cannot get the money paid in connection to it back to you after you cancel the hosting account. However, as we have researched, the domain privacy service is not expensive. The average price is around $10 every year, which can be afforded easily by the majority of webmasters.

Another drawback is that it may cause the inconvenience when you transfer your domain name. After all, the authorization cannot be sent to your email as the email address is masked. In this case, you need to disable the service in the very beginning, and then start transferring.

Is domain privacy worth purchasing?

Domain privacy registration is not a necessity, especially in the event that you expect to transfer your domain in a short time. And if you are running a business website, transparency of your information could help people contact you and build their confidence in your service and products. But the privacy protection can certainly be considered if you need strong anonymity online.