Domain WHOIS Privacy Service

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Overview

When a domain is registered, ICANN requires that the registrant’s contact information is listed in a public database. This database can be viewed by anyone using the WHOIS protocol, and there are many internet websites that you can use to view domain registrant information listed in this database.

Why is domain registrant information publicly available?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) broadly requires that the mailing address, phone number, and email address of those owning or administering a domain name are made publicly available through the WHOIS database. ICANN is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the Internet's global domain name system, and registrars (like DreamHost) must comply by their regulations in order to remain accredited.

You can read more about ICANN here.

Even though this contact information is publicly available, it is illegal for anyone to use this public contact information for marketing purposes. Unfortunately, spammers don’t really abide by the rules which means that when you register a domain you may start receiving spam from marketers in the form of email, paper junk mail, or even telephone calls.

Can I protect my contact details from being listed publicly?

Yes. When you register a domain name through DreamHost, you have the ability to use private contact details in the public WHOIS database for most domain types. If you choose this option when registering a domain with DreamHost:

  • all paper mail will be sent to DreamHost’s P.O. box where it is immediately shredded.
  • all emails are automatically forwarded to your registrant address without revealing your true email address to the public.
  • the telephone number listed forwards to an automated recording which notes that in order to contact the domain owner, the caller should do so via email to the proxy email address on the domain.

Is domain WHOIS privacy available for every domain type?

Unfortunately, not all registries allow WHOIS privacy to be used. This is because each registry sets their own requirements for domain owners and some do not allow domain owners to list anything but their own contact details. For example, at this time, popular domain extensions like .ca, .de, .eu, and .us domains do not allow WHOIS privacy masking to be used.

  • If privacy is available for a domain, you will see this checkbox listed when registering a new domain:
01 whois privacy svc.fw.png
  • If the checkbox option is not listed, privacy is not available for that specific domain type.