New WHOIS privacy settings explained
"Use privacy service"
If you have this option selected, you're using our WHOIS Privacy service. This is the most common option at Porkbun since WHOIS privacy is free here. WHOIS Privacy is enabled by default, meaning that if you register a domain and someone queries our WHOIS server, we won't show your actual contact info, nor will we send it to the registry (for instance the .design or .horse registry.) Please note that a small number of extensions, such as .us, don't allow WHOIS privacy. We warn at checkout if a given extension doesn't support it.
Due to a change in industry regulation, Porkbun now offers a broader range of options for hiding your domain contact information from public view. Previously, your only options were to turn our WHOIS Privacy service on or off for a given domain.
We've now added a new option, "redacted." If your domain was public before May 23, 2018, on that day, it was redacted. Redacted is similar in functionality to WHOIS Privacy with a few notable differences:
- When a domain is redacted, we'll send the domain's registry your personal data; whereas when WHOIS Privacy is turned on, we won't send that personal data to the registry
- Both redacted and WHOIS-Privacy-protected domains will have your personal data hidden in Porkbun's public WHOIS database, however "redacted" still shows the Registrant country, state and organization name (called "COMPANY NAME" in Porkbun's interface.)
You probably want to use WHOIS Privacy to protect your contact info, except when you're transferring a domain from one registrar to another, at which point you may be required to switch to Redaction. There may be other scenarios where a registrant wants to publicly assert ownership of their domain and any intellectual property represented in the domain name itself while protecting their personal information from spammers and fraudsters, and redaction may be a good option for them as well.
Why is my domain redacted now? I want my contact info public.
In order to comply with new regulations and laws, as of May 23, 2018, domains already registered at Porkbun that had WHOIS Privacy turned off were automatically redacted in Porkbun WHOIS. However, as of March 24, 2021, we're once again allowing you to set your privacy to public so long as you agree that you understand the risks, although we strongly discourage the practice.
Setting WHOIS to public not only reveals your confidential contact information to fraudsters and spammers, it also might not have the intended effect of revealing your contact information on sites like whois.com and ICANN's WHOIS/RDAP portal, because those services often query registry WHOIS rather than registrar WHOIS, and since 2018, most registries redact WHOIS information regardless of the registrant's privacy settings.
Sorry, we know it's weird. Basically, on the week of May 21, 2018, WHOIS started being split in two due to a regulatory change. Now, with the exception of "thin" registries such as .com, different contact information will often appear in registrar WHOIS ( https://porkbun.com/whois) and registry WHOIS (https://whois.icann.org/en). So even if you're at a registrar that allows removing all privacy and redaction, most (but not all) registries still won't publish your contact info. This sometimes leads to confused customers contacting us asking why their contact data isn't showing in WHOIS even though they've set it to public. It's because the contact info is public in Porkbun's WHOIS, but usually not in the registry WHOIS. WHOIS's role as a reliable tool for identifying registrants is a thing of the past.
Your best bet if you want to be easily contacted by the public is to keep your domain private or redacted but publish a contactable email address or contact form on your website. Or, if you want to sell your domains, list them in our marketplace, which creates an attractive landing page with a contact form.
WHOIS Privacy Settings Explained