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WHOIS Privacy

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

What is WHOIS?  WHOIS, in a literal sense, is a protocol used to query databases that store registration information relative to Internet resources.  Sounds complicated, but for our purposes at this time, WHOIS is simply a means of finding out who owns a given domain name.  There are countless websites that allow you to run a WHOIS search; any domain registrar, for starters.  You can essentially choose at random from a quick Google search for WHOIS.

When you do perform a WHOIS search on a domain, you find all sorts of information about the registrant of the given domain.  In a nutshell, you’ll see all of the publicly available information relative to the given domain.  Here’s the truncated results from a WHOIS search for, which is a perfect example:

We see when the domain was created and when the current registration period expires.  We also see the nameservers to which the domain is pointed.  The most important piece though is the name, address and phone number of the registrant.  The information shown here for is essentially all publicly available information already, so it’s really a no harm and no foul situation.

However, when any given citizen registers a domain name they are putting their full name, address and phone number out there and attaching it to the various domain names they may have registered.  If you are unaware of this circumstance and have currently registered domains, you might want to WHOIS your domains and see what you see.  Do you necessarily want your personal contact information out there, attached to your domains and viewable by anyone?



It may occur to you to use false or otherwise incomplete information when registering a domain in order to maintain your privacy, however the WHOIS information legally and contractually determines who has control of the domain.  For more information regarding this, please see this helpful link from our KnowledgeBase.

So, here is the situation most of us find ourselves in: we must use valid information on our domain registrations, but we don’t want that information freely available to the public?  This is where domain privacy, or WHOIS protection comes in.

HostGator offers WHOIS protection on any domain we register.  Domains registered via eNom utilize a service called ID Protect, while LaunchPad registered domains use Privacy Protection.  The functionality for both is the same; protecting your personal information from being displayed publically within WHOIS searches.

Any time you register a domain via HostGator, you have the option of enabling WHOIS privacy.  Conversely, if you have purchased domains in the past, you can contact us at any time to have this service added to your domains.  Privacy is serious business in today’s world and we are happy to be able to offer this service.  HostGator recommends WHOIS privacy for all of your domains.

Posted in

Tips and Tricks, Web and Hosting Tips

9 Responses to WHOIS Privacy

  1. Paradise Web Design says:

    Cost to protect existing domains? Done through customer service? For tech saavy, possible to do on our own?

    • HostGator says:

      Yes, you can protect existing domains at any time, but it is not possible to enable this yourself. We’re happy to assist you with any domain registered with us, please join us in LiveChat for full details.

  2. I completely agree with have domain protection, i register all my clients domains under my own business (as in there contract when the hire me) but the amount of emails i get for people offering web design just because they whois a site and send a email to the registered email is amazing, i would recommend any one to protect that info Avoid the spam (and the Rip-off designers)

  3. veetubes says:

    what is the security implication of not having a whois privacy for my domain

    • HostGator says:

      Simply that your WHOIS information is freely available to the public via a quick WHOIS search.

      • veetubes says:

        i thought sometimes site users may like to find out more about a site they are using or submitting their information to because of phishing. so using privacy will it not make a user uncomfortable with the site. please can you throw more light on this

        • HostGator says:

          Regrettably, I do not fully understand your question. WHOIS privacy should have no bearing on an end users experience or comfort level in regards to a website, it’s is simply a choice of the domain registrant whether or not they want their personally identifying information to be easily obtainable by the general public or not.

  4. Thanks for the nice and interesting post..

  5. Quite interesting post thanks for share……………