What is WHOIS privacy?
Whois privacy or domain privacy is a free or paid service offered by most domain name registrars and web hosting providers.
When you register a domain name, ICANN requires registrars to provide them with your contact information (such as name, email, address, and phone number). This is then added to the Whois database.
This database lists the owners of every domain name online, and it can be searched by anyone on the Internet including spammers, marketing firms, and online fraudsters.
Whois privacy is a service which hides this information by replacing it with generic contact information.
Privacy by default
Some top-level domains are private by default:
- .al, .de, .gr, .ovh: All information is private by default.
- .at, .co.at, .or.at: Phone numbers and the e-mail address are hidden.
- .eu: For individuals, only the e-mail address is public.
- .ca, .fi: For individuals, all information is private.
- .is: The address and the phone number can be private.
- .nl: The postal addresse is private by default.
- .uk: For individuals, all data except the full name can be hidden.
Some top-level domains can't have private info:
- .us, in, it: All information has to be public.
- .li, .ch: The full name and the postal address have to be public.
Domain name registrars with free Whois privacy
Namecheap, Porkbun, and Google Domains always include free Whois privacy.
Web hosting services with free Whois privacy
DreamHost includes free Whois privacy with its domain names, and free domain names with annual plans.