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Domain privacy is changing at Namecheap

Customer privacy and security have always been at the core of our values, and remain a top priority at Namecheap each and every day. As a business, we strongly champion privacy standards and reinforce our stance by providing free privacy protection for every eligible domain registration or transfer, and today we have some news to share with you.

Introducing Withheld for Privacy

After careful consideration, we have decided to switch domain privacy protection service providers from WhoisGuard to Withheld for Privacy.  

Don’t worry, your domains will not be impacted, and you will not need to take any action. Any domains covered by WhoisGuard, will be protected by Withheld for Privacy from March 17th, 2021

We have chosen this new provider as we believe they offer the best domain privacy protection available for our customers.

Before we delve further into how this switch affects you, and give more details on our chosen provider, let’s take a look at privacy as a whole.

Why domain privacy matters to you

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for keeping the Internet secure. One of their rules is that domain registrants must provide up-to-date contact information for each registered domain. This information is displayed in the public Whois database.

This is so that if any problems arise in relation to a domain (such as ownership or copyright issues) the registrant can be easily found.

However, this presents a privacy issue because the database is accessible to anyone, including marketing firms, spammers, and online fraudsters.

Domain privacy services keep your contact information anonymous. Your real information is replaced with randomly generated data. If any messages are sent to the randomly generated email address, they are filtered for spam, then forwarded on to a genuine email address of your choice. 

Privacy protection is changing worldwide

Due to the rise of privacy laws such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the domain industry is changing. If a customer is covered by GDPR,  their information must not be shared in public, without their consent. 

At the same time, (as noted above), under ICANN requirements, when a domain is registered, registrants must provide up-to-date and accurate information for the public Whois database.

Not all registrars offer domain privacy to registrants who are not covered by GDPR. Some even charge for the service. Additionally, even if you are protected by the GDPR (and your information isn’t shared with the public, it is subject to onward sharing to additional entities like registries. 

This means that if a customer wants to understand how their data is handled, they are tasked with reviewing each registry privacy policy that their top-level domains are held with.

Padlock illustrating Withheld for Privacy

Why Withheld for Privacy?

Having scoured the globe for a domain privacy service that matches our needs, we’ve selected Withheld for Privacy, based in Iceland, a country known for its privacy standards.

They believe (just like Namecheap), that privacy concerning one’s private life (such as personal data), is a basic human right.

Importantly, Withheld for Privacy does not require your personal data, meaning your information is stored and stays with Namecheap. 

How this affects you

We will have switched domain privacy providers by March 17th, 2021. You will mostly remain unaffected by this change, and will continue to:

  • Stay protected from fraud and identity theft.
    Your contact details will be hidden from the public Whois database.
  • Free for life with every new registration or transfer.
    This service is free for as long as you remain a Namecheap customer.
  • Prevent your inbox from being clogged up with spam.
    No contact details mean no unwanted emails.

The current functionality will stay as-is, and your email address will be replaced with a unique email address, which can be automatically changed at regular intervals. Any email you receive will be filtered for spam, then forwarded to an email address of your choice. 

Please be aware that domain privacy is still unavailable for a handful of top-level domains found here at Namecheap. We’d love to provide every domain with domain privacy but, due to registry restrictions, it cannot be used with .ca, .ch, .cn, .co.in, .co.uk, .com.au, .com.es, .com.sg, .de, .es, .eu, .fr, .gg, .id, .in, .is, .law, .li, .me.uk, .net.au, .nl, .nom.es, .nu, .nyc, .org.es, .org.au, .org.uk, .paris, .sg, .to, .uk, .us, .vote, .voto, .xn--3ds443g domains. 

And here’s what’s different:

  • You will no longer see ‘WhoisGuard’.
    In your account and order summaries, you’ll stop seeing ‘WhoisGuard’, and will see ‘Domain Privacy’ instead.
  • Your contact details will be automatically rotated.
    We will rotate your privacy service contact details automatically, which means you don’t have to take any action. 
  • Your data stays with Namecheap
    Withheld for Privacy does not require any personal data, so your personal data remains safely with us.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything to set up Withheld for Privacy. Everything will be taken care of. 

Final thoughts

We will always take privacy seriously at Namecheap. It’s built into our culture. 

 “We believe that privacy is a fundamental right, that not only protects our customers from abuse, but enables everybody’s right to a free and open internet. One of our core values is the security and privacy of our customer data, and this change is just one more step in ensuring that our customers are provided the protections they deserve without having to pay for that basic human right.” 

Hillan Klein, Chief Operating Officer at Namecheap

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask our support team. They are available around the clock, and ready to help.

Thanks for reading. Now go forth and register your dream domain name!

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Colleen Branch avatar

Colleen Branch

Colleen is a content specialist with over 11 years’ experience. She loves to write honest, clear and concise copy, and her work has been featured in many places in print and online, including HuffPost UK and The Times. Colleen’s passions include cooking, playing pool, and board games. More articles written by .

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