Topics/Knowledge Base/Managing your registration

Domain WHOIS Privacy

Tyson Acker
posted this on March 27, 2012, 08:57

What is WHOIS Privacy?

When you register a domain name, you are asked to provide up-to-date contact information. This is part of a policy established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that coordinates the world’s domain system. Your information is then stored in a publicly accessible WHOIS database, which can be easily searched and accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. That means anyone can find your personal information, including spammers, marketers, and identity thieves.

A quick WHOIS lookup will provide your personal name and contact details. For example, a search for might look something like this:

Creosote, Demetri, hr@awesomelawncare.com1974 Cowick Street
Arctic Bay, NU X0A 0A0

Protecting your personal information

WHOIS Privacy allows you to keep your personal information from being published. When someone does a WHOIS lookup for a domain with WHOIS Privacy, the result that comes back looks something like this:, Mowat Ave
Toronto, ON M6K 3M1

If they try to contact you by using that email address, the sender will receive an automated email back which includes a link to an online form to submit their request. Once they do this, then the message is sent to the domain owner. Doing it this way prevents people from spamming the Privacy Contact email address. Only a real person will be able to click the link in the email and fill out their request in the form online.

You can visit to do your own WHOIS lookup.

Note: WHOIS Privacy is available for more TLDs, but there are some exceptions. For instance, .CA and *.UK allow WHOIS Privacy for individuals, but not for companies. Some do not allow WHOIS Privacy at all, for example, .SEXY, .DE, .EU, and .US. And then there are others, such as .AT, that allow WHOIS Privacy only in very specific instances.


Enabling or disabling WHOIS Privacy

Hover automatically includes WHOIS Privacy with every domain we sell, so if you want WHOIS Privacy to be enabled on your domain, you don't need to do a thing.

If you want to disable WHOIS Privacy follow these steps:

1. Sign in to your Hover account at

2. Beside the domain that you want to edit, remove the check mark under WHOIS Privacy.
You will be asked to confirm that you want to remove WHOIS Privacy from the domain.



Enabling or disabling WHOIS Privacy


If you have only one domain name in your account, you will be taken directly to the domain details page. Remove the checkmark beside Whois Privacy to disable the service.





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Brian Fischer

When will the .us TLD have privacy? If I only knew years ago what I know now. I pretty invested in my .us domains now. :(

August 23, 2012, 22:59
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Tyson Acker
Hover Help Center

Hi Brian - that's entirely up to the U.S. Commerce Department.  Technically speaking, we could enable privacy for .us domain names without much extra work on our end.  We have tools in place for other top-level domain names.  The .us registry stopped permitting registrars to provide privacy or proxy services to mask whois contact information in 2005.  Here's an old news article about the issue:

I'd love it if we could offer privacy to .us domain owners.  As a Canadian working in this business, I encourage our American friends and neighbours to tell their politicians that they want privacy on their .us domain names, either by allowing registrars to offer privacy again or by having domain privacy managed by the .us domain registry in a manner similar to how the .ca and .uk registries manage privacy.

August 24, 2012, 14:10
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Alexander Sergeev

Smartwhois is not that illelligent it could be.

Let's compare output with

The latter gives us more valuable details.

September 29, 2012, 02:32
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Michael Garrison

Do e-mails sent to the contact for "private" domains get forwarded to our "real" e-mail accounts that you have on file?

February 1, 2013, 12:28
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Blair Mueller
Hover Help Center

Hi Michael, 

The email get forwarded to us.  We will then review the message and if it's not spam or junk, we forward the information to you.  Some places will allow you to set up your own forward to an address of your choosing, but with us we filter it out before getting forwarded.  There's often a lot of spam email that goes through the privacy contact email address.

February 1, 2013, 21:17
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George Hunt

Is the "private" domain feature/management free for domains registered with Hover? or is a charge per year, per domain ass there is with some other outfits?

February 17, 2013, 11:49
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Andrew Costen
Hover Help Center

We don't charge anything for WHOIS privacy for domains that are registered with Hover.

February 19, 2013, 15:44
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Karl Roser

Hover also allows for registering domains .de = Germany.

But it is not specified if privacy can be enabled or not be enabled.

As far as I know and remember, whois privacy was initially not authorized but is authorized now since several years, and perhaps general practice now inside Germany. I could check this for Hover easily, but if Hover can do Whois privacy for .de then there is no need anymore to investigate it.  

April 30, 2013, 08:08
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Rob Lake
Hover Help Center

Hi Karl,

.DE domains don't have support for WHOIS privacy, and as a result we can't set .DE domains to private.

May 1, 2013, 15:50
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Karl Roser

Thank, Rob, and now I checked it in detail because important for us and for other European countries and domains, too, like France = .fr .

Here is the text which will now be published on an Internet site (there with more details):

In fact: A privacy service like for .com is prohibited by the official .de - administrator .

If typing n the Linux terminal window : whois

this results as a default in something looking like privacy protection, but only in case of German inland doman registrars, like for the German market leader (also a major market participant in the US).

If doing the same for a domain registered with a US-based domain registrar, this command instead lists all domain owner dara - including the e-mail address as food for spammers.

In a strictly legal sense, this is perhaps a violation of the international agreements on equal conditions / fair competition, which are also valid between the US and Germany.

In Germany the .de service is, as far as I know, coordinated by a formal cooperation company type, in the hands of the inland market leaders. There are significant artificial barriers against moving domains from Germany to abroad. The usual transfer feature had even been disabled in the software of the German inland market leader for moving to a US registrar. I first had to move in some such case the domain first to a small German inland provider, and only then I could move it to a US registrar.

This artifical barrier had already been communicated to the German federal office for fair competition (Bundeskartellamt). But as it is within the economic national interest, nobody might care... So there is good reason to implement .de -domains instantly with US registrars.

But this specific German inland privacy variant also is not a total one. You can obtain the true owner data from by a direct interactive access. This is protected by CAPTCHA and is limited in number. This limit is perhaps based on cookies and would in this case not really be a restriction. - You can call the data in a certified manner, ready for use within legal procedings.

All this is important für sites with multi-domain functions, but only 1 software, 1 data base, like multi-shops / shopping malls. All sites softwares administered here function this way. It is between difficult and impossible to get this configured if the domain is with a German inland registrar, due to these same artificial complications.

The importance of the question is that we have in Germany a significant abuse by lawyers, hunting for million profits, against small business owners related to minor legal ommissions of the formal "100++" bureaucratic site owner obligations.

Perhaps we could try to understand all this as an example of a basic cultural difference between the prevailing freedom vision in the US and that in contenental Europe, the UK being half way between both.

But there always remains the traditional way based on civil law worldwide: Inditvual trusteee agreements - or give the owner of the domains a second personal or business address in a different country. This might result in the risk of a reduced ownership protection in the long run. But in the long run the main risk is, we all will be dead.

If you possibly do not like this text in this context, then I agree in advance to shorten it or to remove it. But I think many people have similar problems.

May 2, 2013, 07:31
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Sam Ahmed

Hi there,


Do .CO.UK domains have the ability to be turned to private?

May 25, 2013, 05:10
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Mike Whitman
Hover Help Center

Hi Sam. If a .CO.UK domain name is registered by a "non-trading individual" then this would be possible. .Co.UK domain names are typically used for business so by default whois privacy is not enabled and we can set this up for you.

May 25, 2013, 14:44
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Edward Reid

Is it possible to display my personal details (name, address, phone) but still use the privacy email contact?

Also, is the email filtering specialized for domain-contact spam? What's the false positive rate?



May 27, 2013, 11:22
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Brennan Valenzuela
Hover Help Center

HI Edward, thanks for the question. You cannot use the privacy email contact if you are not using the privacy service. However, you can set up an email address, such as which may be used as your domain's admin contact. Secondly, we don't have published statistics on the false-positive rate for our spam filtering but we can assure you that it's a low percentage.

May 27, 2013, 14:11
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Russ Jubenville

I've used Hover for a while now and, until today, I've been impressed.  Hover has built its reputation, in part, on claiming to respect privacy, as reflected in the fact that whois privacy is included for no additional fee.

However, I'm in the middle of struggling to transfer three domains into my Hover account.  They are currently owned by an individual who is happy to give them over to me, and has in fact provided me the requisite transfer codes as generated by his registrar, 1and1 Internet.  


But, Hover tech support tells me that Hover's own internal systems will not let them initiate a transfer until the current owner DISABLES WHOIS PRIVACY with his current provider!


Not surprisingly, the current owner is not willing to compromise his privacy, however briefly, just to transfer ownership.  I wouldn't either!  And this current owner has transferred domains from 1and1 in the past without having to disable whois privacy...the private email address on the domains is used by 1and1 to forward the email on to the actual owner, as one would expect!

Oddly enough, Hover tech support has also told me that if you have a domain registered through Hover, they will not allow you to transfer out without disabling whois privacy at Hover!!


What's going on here?  Do you believe in privacy or do you not?  There's no reason you should require privacy to be disabled in order to transfer ownership, either inbound or outbound!  The receiving party has NO need to be provided the PRIVATE details of the giving party!  Nor, for that matter, does the rest of the Internet!  And Hover tech support said it's only a brief period, only a couple days, that the owner's information would be public!  How long do you think it takes to compromise private information??


Hover...PLEASE fix this!  You're making me look like an idiot for recommending you to others, and for promising my client that the transfer would be handled seamlessly based on my past experience with your service.  My ticket number, should you be interested in resolving this for me, is 673094.


Thank you.



June 11, 2013, 17:24
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Andrew Costen
Hover Help Center

Russ, we're actually waiting to hear back from you in that ticket. You should have an email from Michaela in your email.

June 11, 2013, 18:29
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José E. Carranza Beltrán

I changed my Show public contact detail options to yes, but it still appears like, How much time do I have to wait to see my real account data?

October 17, 2013, 12:55
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Henry Abey
Hover Help Center

The private/public details will be restricted/allowed form us instantly. It will depend on the specific WhoIs database to query the updated information, and their times can vary from hours to days.

October 17, 2013, 16:12
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Jovin Genovese

Is there a way to disable the spam filter on the or at least go through the spam myself? It seems that a few legitimate emails are flagged as spam and never reach my inbox.

November 14, 2013, 09:51
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Henry Abey
Hover Help Center

Hi Jovin, you can add the domain to your safe sender list to make sure the messages don't go to spam. We have a step by step tutorial that can show you how to do this. Thanks for the question!

November 14, 2013, 13:21
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Brian Cabral
Hover Help Center

Hi Alessandro, whois privacy just masks the registration records for the domain on whois directories but the legal ownership stays the same. 

January 22, 2014, 18:36
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Steven Combes

Let's say you register a domain, and you select whois privacy, free with domain registration.  Great right?  Now somebody visits the newly registered URL, and they land on the Hover parked page that says "Steven's stuff".  Not so private while the domain is parked right?  Perhaps consider removing any personal identifiers from the parked domain page, like, say GoDaddy does?  *gasp* Did he just say GoDaddy?  Don't worry, Hover is my go-to for domain registry.

January 23, 2014, 02:00
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Barry Riddell

You are wasting your time Steven. I addressed this exact thing over a year ago and after claiming they were going to address it...they did nothing. I work in a very small industry and even just a first name is a dead giveaway to the owner of the domain. Later....after much discussion, I found out these threads between us members and support were wide open to the crawlers. Just copy a sentence from any of the posts on this page and google it.

My first name shows up on parked domains and my full name on support questions complaining about it....go figure!

These people don't have a clue what privacy means....and this isn't the only promise they flip-flopped on.

Between web design, hosting, I've directed hundreds of clients to them....that's on top of the hundred plus domain I've bought. I once felt like you but now I can't wait to move all of my domains to another registrar.

January 23, 2014, 06:48
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Barry Riddell

Forgot to mention....all my posts are gone from this because I made them delete them.

January 23, 2014, 06:51
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Brian Cabral
Hover Help Center

We are looking to possibly remove the parked page sometime in the future but for the time being you can delete the default A-records in the DNS for the domain so that it will not resolve.

On the other hand, you can forward your domain to a generic under construction page like this:



January 23, 2014, 12:29
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Geoffrey Blackwell

How long does the review normally take? I'm working on obtaining an SSL cert and that email is being used to verify that I'm the owner.

June 20, 2014, 17:16
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Blair M
Hover Help Center

Hi Geoffrey, 

When an email is sent to the contact privacy email address they are provided a link and directed to an online form to submit their request.  This is to weed out spam and bots from abusing these email addresses.  Only a real person trying to contact the owner of a domain will click the link in the email and fill out the contact form. 

If you are trying to verify an SSL Cert, you must remove domain privacy on your domain so the email you need to receive gets sent to the real email address hidden behind the privacy service.  Once you've verified your SSL Cert, you can enable Whois privacy again. 

June 20, 2014, 17:24
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Jeff Southard

@Geoffrey: Any sense of how long it takes for the WHOIS database to be updated once I turn off WHOIS privacy?

September 10, 2014, 22:20
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Michael Fich
Hover Help Center

Hi Jeff,

Often this change will go through within 5-15 minutes. One common problem when using a third-party WHOIS tool (to check to see if the update has propagated) is that most of these tools will cache their query results.

A good resource to use is the website to look up your domain shortly after disabling the WHOIS privacy setting on your domain, because it allows you to refresh their cached results up to every 2 minutes.

February 9, 2015, 16:27
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James Ritzman

@Michael Fich: Upon your recommendation above, I went to to check on the registration of a domain name I'm interested in.  According to the record there, the domain registration expired on Jan 30, 2012, yet Hover's domain search tool tells me it is not available.  Why would a domain name registration that expired over 3 years ago not be available?

My apologies if this is not the proper forum for this question, but it seems that there is at least a chance that the accuracy of the website you mentioned is in question.


April 19, 2015, 18:16
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Michael Fich
Hover Help Center

Hi James,

I'm interested in getting more information about this specific case to try to help troubleshoot this issue further.  I'm sending you an email from momentarily.  Please keep an eye out for that message and get back to me whenever it is convenient to do so.

April 20, 2015, 14:20
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Ari Koivula

How come whois privacy is not available on .la-domain? This service seems to offer it for .la-domain, so couldn't you as well?

May 24, 2015, 12:16
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Michael Fich
Hover Help Center

Hi Ari,

Thank you for getting in contact with us about this. I do apologize for the delay in getting back to you, though I wanted to double check on this first on my end.

While WHOIS privacy is supported by the .LA domain name registry, it is not available through our platform. Our WHOIS privacy depends not only on the registry's willingness to allow registration records to be masked, but also the method by which it is masked needs to be compatible with our systems.

Most registries which allow for WHOIS privacy only require the registrar to provide proxy contact information, such as that shown in this article under the heading "Protecting your personal information", rather than the actual registrant information. Any registry which requires data in a different format, such as both the proxy and registrant information, is not compatible with our platform.

We're looking at making upgrades to our system to allow greater flexibility and offer WHOIS privacy as a feature for more domain names, and hope to be able to offer this to you in the future.

June 3, 2015, 08:51
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Aaron Kent

Can this document be updated to include Blair M's [June 20, 2014, 17:24] information with regard to SSL cert verification?

August 26, 2015, 15:16
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Jay Holtslander

The URL mentioned in the article ( is no longer working.

October 14, 2015, 05:34
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Terri-Leigh Holbeche
Hover Help Center

Hi Aaron and Jay

Apologies for the delay Aaron. We're looking at updating this article to include more information regarding the emails.

Jay - we'll be updating that link soon. In the meantime, you can use for your Whois lookup.

Thanks for having keen eyes on the details. It's really helpful!

October 14, 2015, 09:17