Domain protection has become a very common purchase for many investors or webmasters and it isn’t hard to see why. When contact information on a domain name is public, it’s only a matter of time before the spam emails start rolling in.
While some domain registrars now include domain protection automatically, or at least some form of privacy protection, a full domain protection is often an optional add-on for all domains.
Is domain protection necessary? Is it worth it if privacy is included with the domain?
What Is Domain Ownership Protection?
Most of the time domain protection focuses on two main goals: hiding your contact information for privacy’s sake, and protecting you from threats of domain theft.
While many protections are in place to prevent domain hijacking, there are situations where if an account is hacked and the domain owner hasn’t set up proper protection, there could be issues. While there are many layers of protection in place to help prevent this, it can happen in some circumstances.
The idea behind domain ownership protection is to add even more layers to make this extremely unlikely whether loss happens from negligence or from a bad actor.
What Does Domain Protection Do?
Domain protection is there to protect the owner of a domain name. This uses a proxy registrar address so your personal address, email address, and other contact info is not public.
Domain protection does three very important things:
- Hides your contact details
- Prevents domain theft
- Controls & blocks spam messages
These work in combination to help not only protect the privacy of the domain owner but also to protect the domain owner from common phishing or spamming techniques.
1. Hides Your Contact Details
Webmasters and investors who have been in the website game for a while remember when no registrars gave free privacy. If you didn’t pay for it, the mass spam emails were sure to follow.
Hiding the contact details stops this, which also limits the phishing emails. This can be turned off for those selling domain names, but most other webmasters are better served by the privacy which also makes them harder to target.
2. Prevents Domain Theft
Having the email used to register a domain would tell hackers or bad actors what email was associated with an account. If they could hack that and the account, this would give them all they needed to steal the domain.
Many website owners use a contact email for the site and a different one for the registration. Since that registration one is hidden this helps prevent domain theft.
Some of the domain protection plans include adding two-factor authentication, holding expired domains for more time, and other safety features to help secure domain names for their owners.
3. Controls & Blocks Spam Messages
Without all the contact information right out there for spammers to scrape, it’s going to be harder to get your contact info and spam. This is a major benefit of domain protection: it saves you the headache of having to deal with all that junk.
This also limits phishing emails or other spam attempts to gain your passwords or control of your accounts via email.
How To Get Domain Privacy Protection
Multiple registrars give domain privacy protection for free as long as you have a domain that was registered through that company, and as long as the TLD of that website supports privacy (here’s the list of those that don’t) then it comes automatically with the domain.
If the domain name is purchased through a registrar that doesn’t automatically give privacy protection, then it will need to be purchased. Prices tend to fall in the $10-15 a year range per domain.
For many that price is well worth the benefit.
Domain Privacy Protection Costs by Registrar
Domain privacy protection will vary from registrar to registrar, though they are generally in the same ballpark.
GoDaddy splits up protection a little bit. Their privacy protection is now free with any domain purchase. This wasn’t always the case, but they put the registrar’s contact information out on WhoIs instead of your personal information.
They also offer Full Domain Protection and Ultimate Domain Protection packages that add more steps like two-step authentication and holding after domain expiration to give an owner more time to reclaim an expired domain.
- The Full Domain Protection Plan is $10/year
- The Ultimate Domain Protection Plan is $15/year (source)
The only difference is that the Ultimate package holds an expired domain an extra 60 days to give a domain name owner two more months to renew an expired domain.
Namecheap is among the registrars who have followed the recent trend to free Whois protection. If you purchase a domain with Namecheap the privacy protection is added free of charge.
This protection stays as long as you own the domain, including renewals.
Hover focuses on WhoIs privacy when they talk about domain protection. As a registrar they provide free WhoIs privacy to every domain that is bought, and the automatic settings have those on in the account.
This also gives domain sellers the option to turn it off if they want to be contacted for domain names they have.
Bluehost is a major registrar, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they offer a domain privacy plan. Similar to GoDaddy, they offer a Domain Privacy + Protection plan, but it isn’t free.
The Domain Privacy + Protection plan starts at $1.25 a month, which comes out to $15 a year.
Dreamhost is a registrar that offers WhoIs domain privacy free of charge for each domain registered through them.
That means there is no cost for privacy protection and there is no added fee for “extra” protection.
Is Domain Privacy Protection Worth It?
This might vary depending on what’s fully offered. I would say for the majority of people domain privacy is worth paying for if it doesn’t come with the domains you’re buying.
Endless spam messages offering questionable SEO, dropshippers from overseas, or other spammy services are annoying to parse through. A good privacy protection policy can help take care of that.
If I want to build a website and put it up for sale, it will eventually end up at a marketplace. The active website built on a domain will have the contact information where I want any inquiries.
Having the name and personal contact information removed from the WhoIs is good for privacy and safety, and ideal for most online investors.