A Wall Against the Barbarians: Maintaining Your Privacy When Registering Your Domain Name
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
Congratulations on registering your domain name! You’re now a visible presence on the Internet, able to easily publicize your business, hobbies, articles, stores or products as much as CNN or Amazon does. What they don’t tell you until after you’ve paid your money and signed up is that your name, phone number and email address is now also up for the world to see as part of the WHOIS directory.
This directory lists the owners of all domain names. This is generally a good thing if you’re a business, since it displays your work information to those who are interested. However, this can be a nightmare if you’re an individual because a horde of spammers, junk mailers and telephone solicitors now have a new victim within their sites.
Fortunately, you can follow some easy procedures to keep your privacy intact.
- Check to see who is listed under the owner of your domain name through the search box offered by Network Solutions. You may discover that your domain name registrar automatically puts its name in the directory at no extra charge to you. This freebie is getting rarer.
- If the directory lists your name and address, you can generally change it through your registrar’s control panel, or you may need to contact them via a form or email. Put in your business address, phone number and email instead. Be careful that you have permission from your employer to do that. They may prefer their privacy as much as you do.
- Buy the privacy option from your registrar. This puts your registrar’s name in the WHOIS directory for a small annual fee. This is your best and most convenient option if you just have one domain.
- If you own several domains, then the privacy option can quickly get expensive because you have to buy the option for each name. You can save money as follows:
- Rent a P.O. Box at the post office. You can then enter this address into the WHOIS directory. You’ll need to decide whether the six-month cost of one box is cheaper than paying the annual privacy fees for several domains.
- Sign-up for a free phone number at Google Voice. This free service creates a number in any area code you desire, which you can then use in the WHOIS directory. People calling that number are automatically transferred to a phone number you specify, such as your home and cell. Your actual home or cell number is never revealed.
Many thanks to Bendo13 for cluing me into the fourth method, just before I registered for my own domain name. Click his name to visit his profile. He has a lot of useful advice about the online world.
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