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Understanding WHOIS

Posted in 'Business' by Sam Twyford

10 November 2015

For a lot of start-up businesses a functioning website is crucial. In fact, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say every business needs an online presence to operate in this digital age.

Setting up your own website may seem like a straight forward process, and in reality it can be, but there are considerations which need to be addressed when you become part of the World Wide Web.

One of the first actions when building your new website is to have your website owner information published with online directory WHOIS. When you operate your own website it is difficult to remain anonymous and you must register your personal information with WHOIS, which holds an online directory of website owners publishing names, addresses, contact numbers and IP addresses. This information is then publically available to anyone who wishes to search the WHOIS database.

These personal details are made available through WHOIS by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) who requires this detailed personal information to be accessible in these online directories. ICANN is in a unique position providing a form of internet governance without restricting the openness of the internet itself. It is a non-profit organisation who operate a community based approach to its policy making.

Unfortunately, this level of personal information available in the public domain can cause untold problems for website owners. The information is freely available for fraudsters, direct marketers and anyone who wants to obtain the name and address of the owner of a website. Privacy is a major problem of the current registration system, and ICANN have been exploring changing the system and enabling a greater degree of privacy for those running websites. These changes have not yet materialised over the last few years, and it is possible they never will.

This is where using a service such as ScanMyPost can help website owners to mitigate this risk. Setting up a ScanMyPost address will enable you to use our address when registering your website in the WHOIS directories, providing you with greater control over your address and improve your privacy.

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Sam Twyford

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Sam has a degree in Business Studies from Bristol University West of England. He is a County football player and has captained local teams at both Truro and St Ives. Sam writes on a range of topics focusing on the world of business.

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