Is domain protection worth it? Or is it just an unnecessary add-on that domain registrars upsell to website owners? 🤔
Domain registration itself supposedly comes with security privileges that’ll lock the domain name to you. So, why exactly would you need additional domain protection?
In this in-depth guide, we’ll answer those queries while clarifying the costs, benefits, and procedures involved in acquiring domain privacy protection. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have figured out if you really need to buy domain protection for your site.
What is domain protection?
Domain protection, also widely known as domain privacy or domain privacy protection, shields the personal information registered to your domain. The service is provided by domain registrars, and it’s meant to hide your contact information from the public eye.
Imagine, for instance, that you’re a home-based business owner seeking to establish a digital footprint. At some point, you’ll have to register a website domain by submitting your contact details to a domain registrar.
Now, that’s where things begin to get interesting. Without domain protection, the information you provided – your name, email, home address, and phone number – becomes part of the WHOIS public directory. This means that any individual could run a simple WHOIS lookup and retrieve all those confidential details, including your personal address.
A pretty daunting prospect, right? 🙁
This is the very issue that domain protection seeks to address. It stealthily substitutes your private details with generic information supplied by the domain registrar.
Let’s take a popular fitness website like bodybuilding.com as an example. If you try to conduct a WHOIS lookup of its domain, this is what you’ll be met with:
As you can see, the registrant’s name, address, phone number, and email are completely under wraps, safe from all prying eyes. The only way to attempt to contact the website owner is through the special link provided. This will then be screened by the domain privacy provider to determine if it should be forwarded onward as a legitimate request.
That’s the beauty of domain protection. By obscuring your details, it preserves your privacy and protects you from unsolicited contact or, worse, identity theft.
Do I need domain protection?
- To keep your personal details private
- To prevent domain hijacking
- To stay invisible from competitor spies
- To avoid spam
1. To keep your personal details private
Your exposed personal details are a goldmine for cybercriminals. It provides them with a foundation for committing identity theft, a crime that affected 40 million US adults in 2022 alone .
But, it’s not just cybercriminals you need to worry about. Some companies also practice “data scraping”, an activity that entails extracting personal data from publicly accessible sources like WHOIS. The information is then sold to third parties, who could use it for anything from targeted advertising to more malicious activities.
The risks are even greater for home-based businesses. With your address details publicly accessible on WHOIS, stalkers, burglars, abductors, and other criminals would be able to pinpoint your physical location.
Domain privacy protection serves as a shield against all these threats. By replacing personal details with generic information, it ensures that your specifics stay private and confidential.
2. To prevent domain hijacking
Another reason to invest in domain protection is to prevent domain hijacking.
Domain hijackers often employ a deceptive strategy where they leverage the personal information of the legitimate domain owner to feign their identity. They may impersonate you and then convince the domain registrar to alter your registration details or transfer the domain to a different entity. That would give the hijackers full control of your domain, upon which they could sell or exploit it for their own gain.
According to a report by ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee, such hijackings typically disrupt operations through site defacement, phishing, and denial of electronic mail services .
Domain privacy protection mitigates these risks by keeping your personal information out of the hands of potential hijackers. With your details hidden, criminals have one less avenue to exploit in their attempts to hijack your domain.
3. To stay invisible from competitor spies
Is domain protection worth it to protect yourself from criminals? Absolutely, but that’s not the only reason to invest in this service.
In the cutthroat world of business where knowledge is power, competitors will always snoop on your WHOIS public directory for any intel that they could use to gain a competitive edge. They hope that by digging through your personal details, they’ll find insights into your business strategies, partnerships, and even the clientele.
One way to effectively seal that leakage is domain protection. It’ll keep the business information confidential, affording you a sense of security and strategic advantage.
4. To avoid spam
Spammers nowadays use automated programs to scan the web for contact details listed in the WHOIS database. The discovered registrants are then targeted with a flood of unsolicited emails, SMS texts, phone calls, and even physical mail from marketers, salespeople, and scammers.
So widespread is the problem, in fact, that spam messages now account for 49% of the global email traffic .
Domain privacy protection saves you from bearing the brunt of it by hiding your email, phone number, and mailing address from the public. That means fewer distractions, less time wasted on irrelevant emails, and more energy dedicated to what truly matters: growing the business.
Buying domain privacy protection
While the reasons provided above are all pretty solid, they are not enough to sufficiently answer the question, is domain protection worth it? You still have to consider the process and cost of buying domain privacy protection.
Here’s a breakdown of where to get domain protection, how to buy domain privacy protection, and how much it’ll all cost you.
Where to buy domain protection
Domain name privacy protection is usually offered as an option by domain name registrars and web hosting providers.
👉 You could, for instance, get yours from:
- GoDaddy: As one of the biggest names in the game, GoDaddy provides domain privacy protection as a supplementary service during the domain registration process. You get to choose between three tiers of protection – Domain Ownership Protection, Full Domain Protection, and Ultimate Domain Protection.
- Namecheap: With every purchase of an eligible domain name, Namecheap offers free domain privacy protection. The site even simplifies the process by clearly indicating which of your domains have privacy protection enabled.
- Cloudflare Registrar: Similarly, Cloudflare Registrar delivers domain privacy protection at zero additional cost. You don’t need to enable it manually, as the feature extends automatically to all eligible domains.
You can also check with your hosting provider to see if they offer this form of protection. Quite a number have included domain registration in their web packages, and the service often comes with domain privacy as an optional add-on.
How to get domain privacy protection
Having affirmatively answered the question “is domain protection worth it”, you may proceed as follows to acquire your privacy:
1. Pick your domain registrar: Start by selecting a domain registrar that offers privacy protection. Some of the renowned are GoDaddy, Namecheap, Google Domains, and Cloudflare Registrar.
2. Register your domain: When registering the domain, you’ll be prompted to provide your personal details. You can go ahead and type in your name, address, email, plus phone number.
3. Opt for domain privacy: During the registration process, look for an option to add domain privacy. This is often presented as an additional service, sometimes for an extra fee. You should make the selection before finalizing your domain registration.
4. Complete your domain name registration: After selecting domain privacy, complete the registration process as directed by the registrar. Once your registration is complete, your personal information should be securely shielded within the WHOIS directory.
Cost of domain privacy protection
So, is domain protection worth it? Well, we think so, but it’s important to talk about the cost so you can make a decision for yourself.
Domain privacy protection costs are influenced by a wide range of factors, all of which must be considered when examining is domain protection worth it.
Generally, though, you can expect to pay anything between zero and $15 per year. The final amount largely depends on the registrar selected, the number of domains involved, plus the attached security features.
Take Namecheap as an example. It generously offers domain privacy free of charge for the entire duration of your domain registration. Cloudflare Registrar is another example of a domain registrar that provides this service at no additional cost to you.
GoDaddy also offers free privacy protection, but the company also offers Full Domain Protection for an annual charge of at $10 per year per domain name. This adds an extra layer of protection against hackers.
You can also take things up a notch with GoDaddy’s Ultimate Domain Protection service, which will run you $19.99 per year. The extra charge supplements your domain privacy with advanced security benefits like automatic malware scans and continuous security monitoring. These features are typically not offered with free domain protection plans.
Verdict: is domain protection worth it? 🏁
At this point we’ve duly examined the concept of domain protection, along with its benefits, and costs. This means we can now circle back to answer the million-dollar question: is domain protection worth it?
Given the facts at hand, the answer is a firm yes. 👍
By safeguarding your personal and business data, domain protection has indeed proven to be a reliable shield against privacy threats that may develop from your WHOIS profile. It considerably reduces the risk of identity theft, domain hijacking, competitor spying, incessant spamming, etc.
All that comes at the cost of $0 – $15 a year, a small price to pay for the peace of mind that domain privacy protection brings. You’ll also find that the process of acquiring domain protection is straightforward and can be done at the time of domain registration.