Tag Archives: anticensorship webhosting

Registering a domain name with privacy protection

You may want to set up a website that deals with controversial issues or post information regarding possible corruption cases inside the Mi5, the Internet Watch Foundation or Huntingdon Life Sciences. The first thing you should do for this is to get your own domain name.

You could host your site for free, but if your webhost ever goes down or is coerced by the Government to pull the plug on it, all your hard work will be gone at the flick of switch.

Having your own domain name protects you against this. By keeping a local/remote backup of your website and owning the domain name, in case of deletion you simply reupload your data to another webhost located offshore and redirect your domain name there. Owning your domain name allows you to be in control of your site, you should not give this right away to others.

World Wide Web

As per ICANN rules, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, you must provide your real contact information when you register a domain name. This includes your full name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. Failure to do so will result in your domain being seized.

You can still register your domain with fake details, but if the ICANN finds out, your domain name will be taken away. If you decide to use fake details, make sure that your email address is valid because once a year your domain name registrar will send you an email notification asking you to confirm your personal details.

You should also use common sense and avoid using names like Micky Mouse or Pamela Anderson when registering a domain name. In addition if you use someone else real name and address to register it, that would probably be illegal as you will be impersonating someone identity without their consent. Making up a fictitious personality to register a domain name breaks ICANN rules but unless it is made for criminal purposes most countries do not prosecute people doing this.

Besides emailing you once a year, the ICANN does not go around checking if people has entered their correct registration details, it is when someone makes a complaint against you that they will investigate it.

There are some companies that can be used as a front end to protect yourself from spam, fraud, stalkers and keeping your name, address, email and phone number private. By using them you are not breaking any ICANN rules and your domain name can not be taken away from you, those companies act as a third party lodged in the middle in between the public whois register and you.

Not all domain names can be registered with whois privacy protection, for example the .EU and .US top level domains need to be registered using your real details.

The domain names I know of that accept private registration are:

.COM, .NET, .INFO, .ORG, .ME, .MOBI, .BIZ, .NAME, .WS, .CC and .TV.

Question mark

List of registrars offering whois privacy protection:

These three companies are all resellers and you can find a dozen like them around, easily recognized as their websites and services all look pretty close. All of them use DomainsByProxy for domain privacy registration. I think that DomainsByProxy is one of the best choices, although they are based in the US, they will only reveal your information when required by law.

The domain name registrars I named above tend to have special offers from time to time where you get a domain privacy registration at a very low price for each domain name you buy from them.

If my experience is anything to go by, this special price will then be jacked up by five the next year. The trick is that once you have registered a domain name with privacy protection transferring  it to another registrar means you will lose that privacy registration.

You are likely to be stuck with the registrar you choose and pay the higher fees or risk your identity be known during the domain transfer. If you see a special price and do not take up the offer for five or ten years, you most likely will have to pay a higher price when renewal time comes, special price offers do not apply on renewing the domain name.

This domain registrar HQ are located in the Bahamas and subjected to their privacy laws. I have found Internet.BS to be the cheapest domain registrar around, they even have this statement on their frontpage: Our Warranty: If you find a better offer, we match it!

When you register a domain name with privacy protection through Internet.BS, these are the details that anyone doing a whois on your domain name will see:

Domain Privacy Protection with Internet.BS
Domain Privacy Protection through Internet.BS

Notice that your real email addres will be replaced by a forwarding antispam email address .

Other registrars that offer domain name privacy protection:

If you want to save yourself time looking at prices, your best bets are Internet.BS and BlackBeltDomains. I also do not know how good it is the privacy protection provided by the registrars on the last list. I have only used Internet.BS, BlackBeltDomains and NameCheap, with NameCheap being a bit more expensive that the other two. But prices and offers do change all the time.

Personal disclosure: The link to BlackBeltDomains has an affiliate code included!

Bad Apple

The bad apples of the basket:

Dynadot: Dynadot so called domain privacy registration will not replace your name. Only your email, phone, and address. Pretty pathetic leaving your name out in the open to be targeted by Mi5 busybodies and spammers.

Nameguard: At Nameguard they use a company called Privacyprotect to safeguard your so called privacy.

Privacyprotect, according to their site, will disclose a domain name owner’s private data if they are engaged in spam or abuse, the complainant can be any member of the public and needs to attach evidence. Whether that evidence will be enough proof of abuse/spam will be solely decided by them.

It would be easy for anyone disgruntled with your site to formulate bogus charges against you and then request them to reveal your personal details.

In fairness, the only company that openly states it will refuse to disclosure any domain name personal details without a court order is DomainsByProxy, the others simply skip over the issue by not mentioning it.