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 HostGator.com, 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 HostGator.com 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.