Understand ICANN Whois for Better Business Decision

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As an individual, a web developer, a web designer, a business organization or even the government, we have something to do with domain name registration. In the course of registering a domain, you must provide some general mandatory information records (Registrant Information, Admin Information, and Technical Information) used to identify the individual, organization or business, this information makes up the WHOIS data required by the ICANN WDRP (WHOIS Data Reminder Policy).

Why the WHOIS Data Reminder Policy

This is an ICANN policy put in place to uniquely identify and protect domain name registrants. The policy ensures your registrar formally reminds you once a year to review and update all necessary contact details. The reminder notice is usually sent via electronic mail asking you to review the WHOIS record, including contact information, in respect to your domain name(s) to enable you to make all necessary corrections or updates.
The implication of not using the right information can be catastrophic as this could lead to unauthorized changes to your account especially if the right email is not linked to your record.

The Basic Definition of a Whois Record

Once you register for a domain your contact information as well as the registrar information and also the registration dates, the name servers, the most recent update, and the expiration date, is all stored in the Whois global database as a record to your domain name. We will look in details what the different categories of Whois information entails and even dive deep to understanding who is a registrar and a registrant.

Categories of the WHOIS Contact Information Required

As highlighted within the data reminder policy section of this article, you have some major data section for your domain name registration which can be termed the Domain Name Registration Data required that all registrars or registries collect at the point of issuing a domain to any individual or organization. Let’s quickly dissect the different sections.

• Registrant Information
Once you register a domain name with a registrar you become the registrant, in doing so you automatically enter into a contract with a registrar which involves how a registrar agrees to enlist and maintain the requested name.
You are now responsible for managing the domain name settings through a platform provided by the registrar. Once you make a modification of any sort your changes are submitted to the registrar and then forwarded to the registry to update the global WHOIS database record.

• Administrative Information
Within your contact, you also need to provide the contact of someone or a team who will be assigned to receive reviews or notification of updates on the contact information of your domain. This will serve as the contact to or from an authority that is administrative in some way.
• Technical Information
Every domain needs that one person whose sole purpose is to ensure the domain is properly managed, this role is charged with maintaining the DNS nameservers that are associated with the domain name and also make a necessary update if any exist. This role is likely the IT Administrator of any firm or directly you as the brand owner.

How to Get Information About a Domain

As an individual, a business owner, government agency, a buyer, or even a seller you are always in the rat race of wanting to know a bit about a domain to better help you in your decision-making or in a bid to acquire the domain for your next website hosting project. We will take a look at the different scenarios that can be used to query information about a domain using the already existing data record on the Whois database.

Domain Name Registration Data Lookup

So, you want to know more about a domain name let’s say domain A, simple go to the URL https://lookup.icann.org/lookup and enter the name of the domain “domain.com”

How Whois Works
How Whois Works

The returned result is composed of both registrars, and registry operators. The result may look different depending on the registrar and the level of privacy you as the registrant has put in place to protect your information. I am going to use my domain to give you a basic idea of what it might look like, but I really encourage you to stop reading and hit the lookup link above, if you have not to give it a kick and see what else you find.


Whois Privacy

This term is no longer new to you, here I will talk about the Whois privacy protection as it relates to your contact information and security. When you are purchasing a domain from a registrar, you will be offered the option to add to your cart a Whois privacy protection, please and please do well to check this option as it only cost a few dollars (less than 5 USD) but not heeding to this advice can be detrimental to your security. If you skipped this option for a domain you already own it’s not late to get this resolved, simple go to your registrar portal and order the Whois privacy protection for that domain.

So, you now have Whois privacy you can sleep with your both eyes closed as your registrar will replace your contact information (registrant contact) with theirs. Be well aware that the following information will still be visible to the public; nameserver, and domain name but instead of your contact details you will see something like your registrar’s record.
It’s important to note that even if domain privacy services are in place, it’s not a guarantee of anonymity. Registrars are legally obliged to release even private information.

5 Things to Do to Keep Your Domain Safe

  1. Use the Whois Guard
    Before I continue I want you to quickly use the ICAN look-up and see the amount of information publicly available to anyone (hackers, buyers, etc.) who is interested in knowing about the domain owner.
    Now you know about contact information associated with your domain name registration that is made public by default in the WHOIS database or the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP).
    It is not a bad thing though, let look at this way a traditional telephone directory or book, a publication of registration contact information is done to allow anyone contacts you about your domain name or its website record.
    At the point of buying and registering your domain name, please mask some of your information especially the personal records like the contact information and other business information away from the public and let your register take the hit for you.
    While we are still discussing it is also good you know that a new global data privacy regulations such as the European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation have put restrictions on the amount of public information a registrar can be made public, to help protect the privacy of registrants but still go get your WHOIS Privacy Guard.
  2. Prohibit Your domain from been Transferred
    You will always see the transfer status of your domain when you do a domain lookup on the ICAN Lookup site. It is best this status remains Prohibited at all time. The ClientTransferProhibited status signifies that the domain name is locked for transfer and in general term, it cannot be transferred and even when the status is changed it takes a quality amount of time for this to take effect.
    Now with this turned on people cannot move your domain without the consent of you the domain registrant, how cool is that?
  3. SSL Certificate Integration
    We are at the crossroad where every information is vital and I don’t want to hear that my website is not an e-commerce (store) website, Please and please every website should have an SSL certificate to it. It does not only secure you but also increases trust and confidence to your brand.
    A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a digital record that authenticates the identity of any website and encrypting the information on that website as it goes to the server.
What an SSL certificate may contain
• Holder’s name of such certificate
• Serial number and expiration date of such certificate
• A copy of the holder’s public key
• A digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority
  1. Harden Your Password
    Always have in mind when creating your next password or ready to change your password:
    • The longer the safer: Your password should be in the range of 15-character long and above.
    • Randomize those characters. Be unpredictable by mixing up letters (upper-case, and lower-case), numbers, and symbols.
    • Avoid common substitutions. Stay away from general knowledge word substitute like P@55w0rd, your safe will be kicked opened right away.
    • Stay away from memorable keyboard patterns. Stay away from keyboard patterns since this idea is not common to just you, see this few examples: 123456,123123, qwerty,1234567890,123abc
    Don’t be scared about the long password you can go out there and search about how to store passwords either on your Android, IOS, Mac PC, and Windows PC. You are sure to get a tool to help with that but just a quick one you can try my personal tool for passwords called KeyPass software; I love it and it’s easy to use with one password ruling all your other password you really have nothing to worry about forgetting your passwords.
  2. Use a VPN
    A VPN will create a secure and encrypted connection creating a safe haven to browse the internet and carry out your online business without compromising your identity. Don’t be left out as most internet users are adopting the use of a VPN is a must-have going to browse the web security and anonymous (safe and minimally restricted internet experience) software.

Resource links
Are you interested in knowing the accredited registrar out there then click to follow the link right away?

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