Thanks to recent encroachment of government agencies and large corporations, the protection of privacy has become a hot topic lately. The internet has become a place where information can be accidentally leaked for all to see and the ability to find out personal details about someone is incredibly easy. In an effort to make your life just a little more private I am going to share with you how you can make sure that your personal residence is not listed in the ICANN database for all to see.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), for the purpose of this discussion, is the global authority when it comes to assigning ownership to domain names. They are the ones who ultimately register your name in association with a domain name. If you own a business call Bill’s Widgets and you register the domain name billswidgets.com, your registration goes from your registrar (think companies like GoDaddy) to the ICANN. The ICANN then adds Bill’s name to a database that tracks the ownership of domain names. All this information is public.
That’s all great but why should I care?
OK, I will get to the point. If you have ever registered a domain name and listed your home address during the registration process, there is a chance your home address is publicly available. Some people may not care about this at all. Others, however, may not want that information available.
Many business owners start out small and run their business from home. During their domain registration process they put down their home address. Years later that business has grown to employee hundreds of people and there is a good chance that business owner doesn’t want his home address tied to the domain name and publicly available.
How do I know if my information is public?
Luckily you can perform an easy search to find out what information is publicly tied to your domain name. To do so head on over to http://whois.domaintools.com/ and enter the domain name you want to lookup into the field and click “Lookup”. The results will show you the registration information publicly tied to the domain. If it only shows your registrar (the company you bought the domain name from) congratulations! If it shows your personal information you may want to consider private registration.
When you register a domain name you usually have the option to do it privately. This means that none of your personal registration information will be available publicly. If you registrar does not offer a private registration option or if they try to charge you for it try registering your domain somewhere else.
If you want your current domain to no longer display your personal information contact your registrar and ask them how to change your domain name registration to private.