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Domain Registration, the WHOIS Directory, and Your Privacy

July 1, 2015

Sometimes, staying out of the spotlight is a good thing

By Jesse Wilson

Staying Out of the SpotlightSo you’ve taken your first step towards getting your business online by registering a domain name. Congratulations are in order! You’ve now stepped onto a virtual stage that has the potential to exponentially expand your audience. However, you need to be prepared to deal with the paparazzi waiting just outside the door. Here’s what you should know about registering domain names, the WHOIS database, and your privacy.

WHOIS: Don’t worry, it’s not another acronym

In 1982, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF for short) published a protocol that was used to create a directory of users on the ARPANET, which was the predecessor to our beloved Internet. That directory contained the contact information for anyone who requested to send data over the network.

Today, the WHOIS system is in place to ask the question, “Who is responsible for this domain name or IP address?” Every domain name that’s registered must have a record of the person or organization who registered it (i.e. the registrant). That record must be publicly available and includes (among other things) the name, address, telephone number and email address of the domain’s registrant.  (more…)