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WHOIS Information & Domain Privacy

Domains name registrations are considered similar to registering a company because you are required to provide valid and accurate contact information about the domain's owner. You can choose to make information about the owner public or private; however, you must provide accurate publicly visible contact information. The publicly visible WHOIS directory lists all domain registrations and contact information.

This article will discuss the following topics:


What is WHOIS?

WHOIS is a widely-used directory that houses all domain names and their information, including domain registration and expiration dates, domain owners (registrants), and name servers. The WHOIS records may also publicly show the registrant's technical and administrative contact details unless you make it private by using Domain Privacy.

Updating your domain's contact information 

According to ICANN regulations, valid and accurate contact information must be submitted whenever a domain is registered. This is to make sure you are your domain owner and the only one with full control over your domain. You must keep your WHOIS contact information up-to-date to receive important notices about your domain, such as expiration reminders. It also determines who legally and contractually has control over the domain.

It is important to note that you will be required to verify your WHOIS information via email after the domain purchase and when changes are made to the registrant's contact information. If no validation is done within 15 days, the domain name will be suspended. In cases of domain transfer, if no validation is done, the transfer will be interrupted.

Here are some helpful guides about domain validation.

  • Domain Order Validation -This is a great read for new HostGator domain registration.
  • Domain Transfer Validation - Transferring domains to another register also requires validation. Please visit this article if you are interested in transferring your domain TO and AWAY from HostGator.
  • WHOIS Update Validation - If you wish to update your domain contact details, please visit this article.
Pro Tip!
We recommend you use an email address different from the domain you are registering since you need immediate access to this email address to verify your WHOIS information.

For more information about why it's important to update your WHOIS important, please visit the following article.

GDPR domain masking

While European customers' contact information will be masked publicly by default due to GDPR, this means that you will not know instantly when someone is looking to contact the domain in question. Keeping Domain Privacy on your domain will allow any inquiries to be forwarded to you.

Domain Privacy adds a layer of protection on top for those that are protected through GDPR law. Further details regarding this service can be found in our Domain Registration Agreement.


What is domain privacy?

Domain privacy allows you to keep your contact information private from prying eyes, such as your name, address, email, and phone number, while still fulfilling that you list valid contact information for your domain. You are still listed as the domain owner; however, the public does not see your name or contact information. We will be the buffer between you and the public WHOIS Directory listing. If someone wants to reach out to you as the domain owner, they will use our domain privacy contact information, and in turn, we’ll pass their request to you.

Do I need domain privacy?

That’s a loaded question. How important is your personal or business contact information? If you are to lose your domain or someone uses your contact information for the wrong reasons, how would you feel about that? One big concern with listing your contact information publicly is that, sadly, there are people who monitor the WHOIS Directory for the sole purpose of snagging your domain’s contact information. Their intentions are not always pure and holy. Another concern is the potential for identity theft and fraud.

As a domain owner, you have control over how much of your personal or business information is being publicly shared while ensuring you provide accurate WHOIS information for your domain. Be smart - secure your contact details by purchasing Domain Privacy when you order your domain. You'll thank us later when you're not getting spammed or sent a bunch of junk mail.

Interested in getting privacy protection for your domain? Make sure to put a checkmark on the Domain Privacy addon when you register your domain in our front-of-site https://www.hostgator.com/domains!

Can I have domain privacy for all my domains?

Not all domain extensions (TLDs) are allowed to have private WHOIS. Each .com, .net, etc., sets its own rules regarding this. Most ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) do not actually allow domain privacy protection.

In March 2005, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said that all owners of .us domains would not have the option of keeping their information private and that it must be made public.

You may visit the following pages for more information about all the registration services we offer for your domain type.