When you register a domain name, ICANN requires that you provide your accurate contact information to the registrar, which is the company you buy your domain name from.
This information includes your name, address, phone number, and email address. Once the domain is registered under your name, the provided information is then available to the public through a simple free internet search.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was formed in 1998 and is a not-for-profit partnership of people all over the world.
They are tasked with maintaining and supplying IP addresses and handling the DNS (domain name system). In short, ICANN helps provide consistency and stability for the internet.
Domain privacy, also known as Whois privacy, is a service that helps to protect your personal information by masking it from the public. Your contact information will still be stored within ICANN's databases; however, it will no longer be available through a domain search.
When domain privacy is enabled, an ICANN search will show the information has been hidden.
It is important to note that ICANN requires registrars to provide certain people access to your information even without a subpoena, as long as they have a "legitimate purpose for accessing it."
Using ICANN's lookup tool you can search for information on any domain name or IP address.
Simply go to the website and enter any domain or IP address into the search box. Try entering a website you visit often.
You will be provided with the current owner's registration data for that domain, unless they have domain privacy enabled.
If you own a domain, look it up and see if your information is available to the public. Spammers and scammers can obtain your personal information through this simple search.
If you have already have a domain and are unsure if you have domain privacy enabled, the easiest way to check is doing a quick search with ICANN's lookup tool. If you see your personal information, then you know you need to set it up.
If you are choosing a company to purchase a domain from, be sure to read through all of the features and services that are included, domain privacy may be included with the price of the domain name. However, many companies charge an additional price for this protection.
Enabling domain privacy will vary depending on the service you are using. If you purchased your domain name through a popular CMS (content management system) like WordPress or Wix the process is straightforward.
Domain privacy will help protect your personal information. Start by searching your domain name and determine if you are protected or not. If you are not, look into what options are available from your current registrar. If you are unsure of where to begin, reach out to a web expert for some guidance.