A plethora of websites exists to register a domain name. Google 'register domain names' and have a fun-filled time comparing prices. Though price is definitely a consideration when choosing a domain name registrar, it is also important to find a registrar who offers private domain name registration.
Registering a domain name requires that the name, address, email address and telephone number of the owner be provided. For an individual this will be their home address information. A company will provide their main business address. Once this information is provided, it is accessible by anyone doing a WHOIS search.
Register privately. Private registration usually costs another $8 to $9 dollars on top of the cost of a regular registration. A normal registration at some registrars can cost $15-$20. However, finding a registrar where the regular fee is less then $8 is relatively simple. Adding a private registration will make the total cost back in the $15-$16 range. You might as well get the most bang for your buck if you are going to shell out $15.
Once registered privately, all personal information is hidden. A WHOIS search will reveal the name and address of the third party company that is holding the private registration.
Private registration may not be as big a concern for companies. However, it can be very useful to individuals who desire to keep their personal and private information (address and telephone number) exactly that, personal and private.
Is it worth it to register privately? The answer to that question depends on how much you value your own privacy. For some, registering privately is no big deal. For others, who already have had problems with hackers, spammers and the like, a private domain registration offers them additional security. At the very least, it is helpful to know that this option does exist. Not all domain registrars offer this service, but it is growing in popularity.
Paul Stefanski develops Recommended Web Tools, a resource for those just beginning to develop their own websites. Learn more about private domain registration.