Skip to content

Private vs Public Domain Registration: What’s the Difference?

So, you know that securing your online presence in today’s digital age is very important. You also understand that registering a domain can be one of the first steps towards establishing this online identity. But when it comes to domain registration, there’s an important debate to consider: private vs public domain registration.

In this article, we’ll help to shed more light on the debate of private vs public domains. By the end, you should have a good understanding of which choice can be the right one for you and your needs.

What is private domain registration?

Private domain registration is when you register a domain name (e.g., and your personal information (e.g., your name, address, email, phone number, etc.) is hidden from the public.

This means that if someone heads to the WHOIS database (a database that stores domain registration information), they won’t be able to find your personal information. Instead, they’ll see your domain registrar’s details.

Private domain registration is accomplished by purchasing WHOIS privacy protection with your domain. Some domain registrars offer this as a built-in service, while others require you to purchase it as an add-on.

What is public domain registration?

As the name suggests, public domain registrations are all about registering your domain and allowing your personal information to be public.

This personal information is stored in the WHOIS database, and if anyone wants to access it, they can easily head to the website, search for your domain and get your details.

Public domain registration is the default option for many registrars. However, some companies like Namecheap enable private domain registration/domain protection by default, so if you want a public registration you’ll have to disable that feature.

Private vs public domain registration: key differences

Now that we’re on the same page about what private and public domain registrations are, it’s time to discuss their key differences.

👇 Below, we get into the four main differences between private vs public domain registration. Understanding this will help you determine which is best for you.

Privacy 🔒️

Hands typing on laptop, deciding between private vs public domain registration.

As discussed, a private domain registration allows you to keep your personal information confidential.

When anyone heads to the WHOIS database and searches for your domain name, they’ll find your domain registrar’s information instead of yours. This can help to keep your online identity private and reduce the potential of receiving spam emails, experiencing identity theft, and other cyber threats.

On the other hand, with a public domain registration, your personal information is openly available and accessible to the public through the WHOIS database. This means that anyone can head to the website, search for your domain name, and find your name, address, email, and more.

Unfortunately, exposing personal information publicly can lead to privacy risks such as unsolicited marketing emails, spam, and even targeted attacks from malicious individuals. This is one of the most important factors to consider in the debate of private vs public domain registration.

Security 👮

Dark laptop with green matrix-like content.

Choosing a private domain registration can enhance your security and reduce your exposure to cybercriminals. This is because this route shields your personal information from the public.

With a public domain registration, you can be more exposed to security risks because your personal information is readily accessible. Cybercriminals can exploit this information for different things like phishing attacks, malware-based attacks, or identity theft.

It’s important to highlight that private domain registration is just the first step toward domain security. There are other essential things you’ll need to do, like maintaining strong passwords, regularly updating software, and implementing strong security on your website.

One of the main challenges of private domain registrations is how challenging it can be for the owner to take accountability.

For example, if there are legal or intellectual property disputes, it makes it harder to easily identify you in legal matters. In some cases, legal authorities might need to go through your registrar to access your details.

On the other hand, with a public domain registration, your personal information will be publicly accessible, making you more visible and easier to identify in legal matters relating to your domain.

So, public domain registration makes your information easily available, while private registration keeps it confidential.

⚠️ Disclaimer: Please be advised that DomainWheel isn’t a legal advice blog. If you’re concerned about any legal implications of getting a private or public domain, please reach out to your lawyer for advice.

Domain selling 💸

Buying and selling domains can be a very lucrative business or side hustle. But when you have a private or public domain, how exactly does this impact you?

With a private domain registration, your contact information is shielded, and you can maintain your privacy. However, this makes it challenging for people who are interested in purchasing your domain to easily contact you.

Public domains make life a lot easier because any potential buyer can easily reach out to you. But, you can experience spam because your contact details are so readily available to anyone.

So, the best way to approach selling your public domain is to use a PO box for registration to avoid sharing your physical address. You can also open a separate business email address so that anyone interested in contacting you won’t have access to your personal email.

Private vs public domain registration: which is the better option?

The choice between private vs public domain registration starts with understanding the key differences between these options.

As highlighted, the main downside of public domain registration is that it will expose your personal details to the public. This can affect your online privacy and security. On the other side, it can make it easier for potential buyers to purchase your domain.

A private domain registration will shield your personal information from the public and enhance your privacy. It can also reduce risks like spam, phishing, identity theft, and other cyber threats.

Given the above points, we’re leaning more towards private domain registrations. Considering how prevalent cyber attacks have become over the past few decades, keeping yourself as safe as possible online has become increasingly important.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to choose a private domain registration over a public one, check out our guide to domain protection.