At a blogging group recently, I mentioned the importance of privacy protecting your domain names. Assuming everyone knew what this was, I was astounded as several of the smart, educated, beautiful women around the table looked back at me with confused faces. It’s the moment when several of them learned that their home addresses were out there on the internet, for the world to see.
WHAT IS WHOIS?
When you register a domain name, you are required to list your name and address. You are the “registrant”. WHOIS data is like the phone book of the internet. If you don’t make your number unlisted (or in this case, your domain name), it can be easily found by the public.
When registering your domain name, your registrar will request this information. At this time, you’ll often be offered to pay an additional $6-10 (usually $8) for privacy protection.
Honestly, it looks like they’re trying to sell you something you don’t really need. It’s almost doubling the price of your domain name! But unless you want your address out there, you need it.
CHECK YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Take a minute and go to here. Type in your domain name. What pops up? If you bought privacy protection, it should look something like this:
HOW TO FIX IT
If your full name and home address pop up, log in to your registrar’s site and go to the area where you manage domain names. You should have the option to add privacy protection. If you can’t find it easily, begin a support session chat or give your registrar a call. It’s an easy fix.
BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU RENEW
Many registrars set domain names to auto-renew. That means that when your domain name is going to expire, they charge your credit card and you get the domain name for another year.
From personal experience, keep any eye on your domain name and WHOIS around this time. My domain name once auto-renewed and the privacy protection did not renew with it, meaning that my address was out there for the world to find.
It’s important to take precautions to stay safe in the online world. Privacy protection on your domain names is one of the simplest ways to do that.