When you register a domain name, you’re required to provide contact details including your name, physical address, e-mail address and telephone number. The information is then collected by ICANN and displayed in a public directory.
Domain privacy: Why you need it & where to find it
The directory’s primary purpose is to provide accountability in case of technical or legal issues. More often, though, it acts as a vast repository of convenient contacts for spammers, scammers and legit but annoying marketers. You cool with that?
Yeah, me neither.
Because there’s a legitimate need for the contact information, you can’t get out of providing it. But you also don’t have to leave your name, address and phone number hanging out on the internet waiting for just the right Nigerian scammer to come along.
Thanks to proxy registration and domain privacy, you can trust your contact info to a service who’ll keep them private. In the event someone has a bona-fide need to contact you, they’ll go through the proxy whose information is listed in your record.
Even if someone has an actual product or service to sell, cold-calling contacts found in the WhoIs database is pretty much the internet equivalent of door-to-door sales. Before private registration was available I got those e-mails and calls all…the…TIME.
For years I’ve bought domain names only from registrars that offer private registration. Since moving to private registration, to my knowledge I have never been contacted by someone who found my info using a WhoIs directory search.
Namecheap is good. Hover is better.
Both Hover and Namecheap provide excellent service as well as domain privacy. I give Hover the edge, though. That’s because Namecheap – for some unfathomable reason – splits their privacy protection off into a separate service.
It’s a small – yet annoying – distinction.
The first time you register a domain with Namecheap they’ll give you the privacy protection for free, so you don’t really have to think about it. After that, you have to pay.
The money isn’t the big deal; the cost is next to nothing ($3, I believe) and the total for the registration isn’t usually more than if you purchased a domain at Hover. But the domain and private registration service involve two separate renewals. When you have a lot going on (or you don’t mess around with domain names much) it can be confusing.
One client almost let her domain registration lapse because she thought she’d renewed it. She had in fact only paid for the privacy protection. Eek. More than one other person has contacted me after receiving renewal e-mails from Namecheap, confused about the “extra” thing the company wanted to charge them for.
It’s silly to confuse people like this. Hover doesn’t. I got tired of having to explain the whole thing and started recommending Hover. They don’t confuse people any more than they’re likely to get confused by plain old domain registration. Which is sometimes plenty, right?
Because I’m a good friend
I like Namecheap enough that I felt like kind of a jerk for never telling them how they could be a better friend to me and the people I help. The opportunity recently arose to do just that.
In redirecting my former domain name (thesimplerweb.com) to my new name, I absentmindedly deleted my mail records, prompting me to get in touch with Namecheap’s customer service.
Oh, yeah – I f**k things up every now and then just like everyone else.
The Namecheap rep was great, and helped me get the issue sorted in a jiffy. The company followed up with a survey asking me to rate the CSR and optionally provide any other helpful feedback. I gave the CSR five stars, and in the spot for feedback I wrote something like this:
For the love of Pete, guys – will you PLEASE combine domain privacy with registration so we can sign up and renew only ONCE?
I haven’t heard anything back yet.
Private registration + good service from either; simpler renewals from Hover
Hover, like Namecheap, has awesome customer service reps who’ll help you out if you screw anything up, or even if you’re just afraid you’ll screw something up.
I got tired of having stressed-out and/or confused clients who didn’t understand why they were billed twice (they thought) by Namecheap. I was personally annoyed that I got twice the e-mails at renewal time.
I don’t care if sometimes Hover is $1 more to renew than Namecheap. They don’t make me crazy. At renewal time I get one e-mail per domain, not two. The Hover website makes managing domain names simple.
I’m a fan of simpler things 😉
There are other registrars that offer domain privacy. Hover and Namecheap are two I use and recommend, and have for years. Choose whichever you prefer, but be aware of Namecheap’s separate domain privacy.
Yes, it’s a little thing. But like a pebble in the shoe, a dripping faucet or a repetitive beeping noise, sometimes it’s the little things that test or save one’s sanity.