Is my contact information private? Does it appear in the WHOIS records?

As you may know, it's possible to use the "WHOIS" system to look up a contact postal address, telephone number and e-mail address of any domain name owner using Web sites such as Uwhois.com.

We strongly dislike this system for privacy reasons. However, like all domain name registration companies, we are legally required to provide valid contact information for each domain name owner. That's where our WHOIS privacy service comes in.

On this page:

Our free WHOIS privacy service

Most domain names registered with Tiger Technologies include free WHOIS privacy protection. This includes domain names ending in .com, .net, .org, .info, and .biz.

For these domain names, we'll act as a forwarding service to increase your privacy. The WHOIS information will show contact details that are valid ways to reach you (and which therefore meet the legal requirement that we publish your contact information), but which are less revealing. Specifically:

  • We publish our post office box address instead of your address.
  • We publish our telephone number instead of your phone number.
  • We publish a specially formatted e-mail address that ends in "@whois.tigertech.net" instead of your real address. The special address forwards mail to your real e-mail address.

This system gives you privacy protection against junk mail, sales calls, and spammers. We'll discard junk postal mail (including most non-registered mail) sent to our post office box, we'll tell most callers you prefer to be contacted only at addresses or phone numbers you post on your Web site (if any), and we'll apply our strongest spam filtering to the forwarding e-mail address. We will forward any registered postal mail or phone messages related to legal issues, and our mail servers will forward non-spam e-mail to you.

Although this system enhances your privacy, your rights are still protected:

  • By default, your name (or company/organization name) is still listed in the WHOIS records as the domain's legal owner, making your legal rights explicit.
  • Legal notices will still reach you.
  • Important e-mail such as domain name transfer approval notices will still reach you.

There is no extra charge for WHOIS privacy, even though many other domain registration companies charge a substantial annual fee for similar services.

Can I hide my name as well?

By default, your personal name (or your company/organization name, if you enter one) is displayed in the WHOIS records, even though your contact information is not.

Displaying your personal name or company name gives you certain protections, because there are situations where it may help to have a longtime public record of domain name ownership. For example:

  • Some other domain name companies won’t accept transfers of domain names that don’t show your name as the owner in the WHOIS record.
  • Some security-related companies will not provide any services to domain names that are “masked” in this way.
  • Some spam filtering “blacklists” are more likely to list domain names that are masked.

If you don’t mind these risks, you can mask your personal name or company name, too:

  1. Login to the account management control panel.
  2. If your account is a Web hosting account, click Billing and Contact Information (this step is not necessary for "domain name only" accounts).
  3. Click Update Contact Addresses.
  4. Scroll down to the section marked WHOIS Privacy Protection.
  5. Check the Name privacy checkbox.
  6. Click Save Settings.

After doing this, the WHOIS records will show “Domain Administrator” instead of your personal name or company name.

By the way, if you simply want to make sure that your personal name doesn’t appear, but your company name does, you don’t need to do what we describe above. That happens automatically: if you’ve entered a company/organization name, we display that instead of your personal name by default (even though you’ve also entered a personal name).

Limitations of the privacy system

The privacy system provides excellent protection against unwanted marketing and spam. It also provides good protection against casual strangers viewing your personal contact details. However, we should emphasize that it isn't foolproof. In particular, we may release your direct contact information to parties who have a legitimate need to contact you for legal reasons (such as law firms alleging copyright or trademark violations). We may also disable the privacy feature if we receive reasonable allegations that you have violated our Terms of Service.

In addition, WHOIS privacy for postal addresses and phone numbers is not available for domain names ending in .us due to legal restrictions from the United States Department of Commerce, which sets the requirements for all .us domain names. We still provide e-mail forwarding for .us domain names, though.

Finally, WHOIS privacy was not enabled by default for some accounts opened before March 2004. If this applies to you, you can use your account management control panel to turn it on.

If you are extremely concerned about the privacy of your personal information, you may wish to use a post office box address or other non-revealing information, such as a work address and phone number, to make sure that more personal contact information is never revealed under any circumstances.

(We do require that you provide us with valid contact information so we can forward legal notices and other important messages to you. We also need to be able to contact you if there is a problem with your account. Please do not provide us with false contact information. We are legally required to suspend domain names if we find any false contact information.)

Disabling WHOIS privacy protection

Some customers may want their direct contact information displayed in the WHOIS records. For example, some people may be concerned that legal notices sent to their WHOIS contact address could be delayed in the forwarding process.

If you wish to have your direct contact information displayed in the WHOIS records, you can use your account management control panel to do so:

  1. Login to the account management control panel.
  2. If your account is a Web hosting account, click Billing and Contact Information (this step is not necessary for "domain name only" accounts).
  3. Click Update Contact Addresses.
  4. Scroll down to the section marked WHOIS Privacy Protection.
  5. Uncheck the checkboxes to disable privacy protection.
  6. Click Save Settings.

WHOIS privacy protection for .us domain names

WHOIS privacy for postal addresses and phone numbers is not available for domain names ending in .us due to legal restrictions from the United States Department of Commerce, which sets the requirements for all .us domain names. We still provide e-mail forwarding for .us domain names as described above, though.

WHOIS privacy protection for .uk domain names

Nominet, the company that runs the WHOIS service for .uk domain names, has different rules. Although we're not allowed to mask the contact information we provide to them, they allow "non-trading individuals" (but not companies) to completely "opt-out" of having their address details published.

We'll tell Nominet to "opt out" your contact details if any WHOIS privacy options are enabled in our control panel (as they are by default) and your contact information does not include a company or organization name. If you want to your contact information to be publicly displayed, simply disable all WHOIS privacy in our control panel.