What is the “WHOIS database”?
For global Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .net, .info and others need to accompany valid and accurate address and contact details respective to the owner of the domain name, and this information is publicly accessible via the “WHOIS database”. In fact, anyone can access the WHOIS record for a domain name registered and active.
Why does the WHOIS database exist? Isn’t this a privacy concern?
It is a privacy concern for many people, yes, but it exists because of existing rules set by ICANN (Internet Corportation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which requires that gTLD’s registered must have valid, accurate and available WHOIS information regarding the domain registrant. If you do not have valid and accurate WHOIS information you face having your domain name suspended or terminated for not having valid, correct and accurate WHOIS information.
The WHOIS database is useful for genuine reasons, such as contacting a domain owner in relation to copyright infringement or to send a cease-and-desist notice to the web site owner in the case where a web site owner has content or material that infringes on someone else’s content, material or work that is copyrighted under the law. However, the WHOIS database can be used for spam and marketing purposes and which may also be a privacy concern to domain owners.
How can I protect my privacy?
If you are concerned about your privacy or safety you can purchase Domain ID Protection with your domain name (and if you already have a domain name with us). You can purchase Domain ID protection at the time you purchase web hosting with us. When you buy web hosting you also have the option to register a new domain name and add Domain ID Protection onto the domain name.
How much does Domain ID Protection cost?
Domain ID Protection costs £5 per year per domain name.
Domain ID Protection is not available for .UK domains: if you’re an individual you can choose to opt-out of public WHOIS information but if you’re using .UK domains for business purposes (or if the domain is owned by a business) then public WHOIS information is mandatory.
Disadvantages of WHOIS Domain ID Protection.
Using Domain ID Protection transfers legal ownership of your domain.
If you use Domain ID Protection, the legal ownership of the domain is with the ID Protection provider, and so the domain name is merely being leased to you while the Domain ID Protection service is active. It’s something to take into consideration.
It’s important to note that in WHOIS records the way people would contact you is either by:
- The anonymous e-mail address which is forwarded to your e-mail address on record. Note that if you respond to any e-mail forwarded to you by the WHOIS Privacy Protection Service the person that sent the e-mail will know what your personal e-mail address is.
- Writing to the WHOIS Privacy Protection Service which would then be mailed to your address on record.
- Fax the WHOIS Privacy Protection Service which would then be forwarded to you or mailed to your address on record.
If you would like Domain ID Protection on your domain, you can do so when you register a domain name. For more information about WHOIS protection, please read our Domain ID Protection information page.