If you’ve ever registered a website, your details probably appear in an online database known as WHOIS. Maintaining this global resource is a legal requirement of every domain registry – the companies assigned to sell and manage websites with specific top level domains, like .com or .info. The WHOIS database provides a searchable index of ownership details, holding irresponsible website owners to account and informing the public who is behind a particular site’s contents.
So far, so good. But what if you don’t want to be included in a worldwide database that can be anonymously searched? What if you’d rather strangers weren’t able to look up your home address or track down your cell number within a matter of seconds? There are many reasons why a lack of anonymity might be problematic, from identity theft to identifying whistleblowers. People are increasingly protective of their personal information, and with good reason.
Domain privacy is the obvious solution to such concerns. Most domain registries allow private citizens to request anonymity on the WHOIS database, providing their website isn’t financially motivated. An anonymous blog could be cloaked without issue, whereas a trader in vintage band T-shirts clearly shouldn’t expect anonymity. Neither can registered companies, for whom a listing on WHOIS is one of several legislative requirements.
If your site is non-corporate and non-financial, you can request that proxy details be displayed beside the record pertaining to any domain names you’ve purchased. This proxy will typically represent lots of other clients as well, and any inquiries intended for you will be fed through them. After all, if Midphase wanted to get in touch, we’d already have your details on file! Cloaked database entries don’t suggest a website’s owner has anything to hide, but they do stop issues like data scraping. This is the process of harvesting online information and adding it to low-rent databases of contacts, usually sold to scammers and other disreputable organizations.
A small price to pay
If you’re thinking about purchasing a new domain name from Midphase, requesting domain privacy is as easy as adding it to your shopping cart. For a limited time, Midphase is offering domain privacy for free with the purchase of a new domain. It’s also possible to retrospectively add this to an existing domain through your control panel. Because the internet is regularly archived, people could conceivably still locate your data from before they were cloaked. However, it’ll be far more difficult if they can’t use the standard database search tool…
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