An increasing amount of people are creating their own websites these days. But not everyone is aware of the personal information about them which is available to the world.
It’s cheap and easy to buy a domain name. Once you’ve bought one, you can divert it to any other website you like, or your own hosted website.
Usually, you need to register with a domain registrar and provide them with all of your personal information, which may include your full name, you email address, your telephone number and your home address.
Once your domain name is registered, this personal information is available to anyone who performs a WHOIS search. Try it yourself and enter a domain name at www.WHOIS.sc*.
In the UK, you can opt-out of your details being available on a WHOIS search if your domain name ends with .uk for no charge.
With any other domain names, you can usually opt-in to a privacy service which is offered by your domain registrar, although a fee is generally charged for this.
In both of the above scenarios, your full name will still be visible to those who perform a WHOIS search on your domain name.
I don’t see why your personal details should be revealed to the world. I agree that there should be contact details available so that someone can report your website for offensive material, but why would complete strangers need to know your home address?
I sent some tweets to a few people on Twitter whom I found links to their websites for, just to ask if they knew their personal details could be found. I also sent emails to the email addresses found on a WHOIS search for other, small websites which I didn’t locate on Twitter.
The response was mixed.
A couple of people thanked me for making them aware, one person sent a fairly rude email back to me and others accused me of being a stalker or of telling them something they already knew.
If you’re aware that your personal information is publicly available and choose to ignore it, then more fool you. Don’t be naive enough to think that I’m the only person in the world who knows about a WHOIS search; it’s common knowledge among web-designers and web-builders.
I know for a fact that one of the people whom I contacted has their website with 123-Reg (the same as me) and owns a .co.uk domain, but their home address was publicly available. All they have to do is log-in to their 123-Reg control panel and tick a little tickbox to declare that they’re a private individual who wishes to not have their details publicly available.
Use www.WHOIS.sc* to see whether or not your personal information is available to the world and check with your domain registrar which privacy options are available to you. After all, you don’t want internet weirdos turning up on your doorstep, do you?*There are many different WHOIS search providers on the internet and you can also download WHOIS apps for your smart phone.