Web Hosting Knowledge Base
What Is the Difference Between WHOIS Privacy Protection and SSL Certificate Encryption?12 min read
After weeks or even months, of hard work, your website is finally ready. You have gone ahead and published it and it looks great. At this point, the next task on your to-do list probably revolves around marketing your website and making sure that people know about it. Our recommendation, however, is to postpone advertising and growing the social media presence for your website until you have completed one additional step – making sure that it is a safe and secure place for both you, the website owner, as well as your visitors.
In this article, we will compare two of the most important ways you can enhance the protection of your website. More specifically, we will show you how using WHOIS privacy protection and SSL certificate encryption works and what are the benefits of implementing each security feature on your site.
What Is WHOIS Privacy Protection?
Arguably, one of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure that your website gets visited on a regular basis is to register a short and memorable domain name for it. During the domain registration process, however, you may notice that you are asked for a lot of personal information, such as your full name, street address, email address, and even your phone number. This information gets associated with your domain name and becomes a part of your domain’s public WHOIS record.
Fortunately, you can hide this information from the public in a way that does not break any laws or regulations. This is done by purchasing WHOIS privacy protection for your domain name. You can purchase the domain privacy protection add-on while you are in the process of buying your domain name or at a later point. Once your domain has privacy protection active, all of your personal information will be hidden from the public, while still offering a way for people to contact you if needed.
What Are the Unique Features of WHOIS Privacy Protection?
Getting your domain’s WHOIS record protected is all you would need to do if you wish to ensure that your contact information is not displayed on the web in relation to your domain name. Providing you with the option to protect your personal information is important to us, which is why WHOIS privacy protection can be obtained regardless of the hosting plan that you are currently using. In fact, your site can even be powered by our free hosting service and you would still be able to secure your domain’s privacy.
That said, we would be remiss if we fail to mention the effect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had on the domain WHOIS system. As of May 2018, many domain name extensions come with privacy protection out of the box. In other words, some domain names come with basic privacy protection as soon as you purchase the domain name itself. For more information on the protections, afforded by the GDPR and how they differ from the WHOIS privacy protection add-on, you can check our article on what is WHOIS privacy protection.
What is SSL Certificate Encryption?
While having active WHOIS protection aims to hide the domain owner’s contact details from the public, an active SSL certificate encryption focuses on the data that is shared by the site’s visitors. More specifically, when you purchase an SSL certificate, any data that your visitors enter on your website will be protected. This data can be content that is meant to be viewed publicly, such as comments on a blog post, but it can also be sensitive information, such as the visitor’s username and password that they enter while logging into your website. For a more in-depth look into how SSL encryption works, you can read our article on what is an SSL certificate.
What are the Unique Features of SSL Certificate Encryption?
If you expect to collect sensitive visitor information, such as your visitors’ usernames and passwords, or perhaps their bank details for a payment, you are wholeheartedly recommended to learn how to install an SSL certificate on your website. Once the website has an active SSL certificate, every visitor will connect to it via a secure connection. The benefit of doing so is that other devices on the same network will not be able to read the information that is exchanged between your website and the visitor’s web browser. Utilizing SSL encryption requires advanced server functionality and as such having an active SSL certificate is only possible on one of our paid hosting packages.
Which Security Feature Is More Important?
If your website is built to carry out financial transactions, such as your visitors making purchases at your online store, having an SSL certificate is a must. The use of an SSL certificate is also highly recommended when you ask your visitors to enter their login credentials. In fact, nowadays most modern web browsers will alert you when a site’s login/payment form is not properly secured via SSL.
Conversely, WHOIS privacy protection is a great way to reduce the number of SPAM calls and emails you receive. In rare cases having your WHOIS information hidden may also protect you from identity fraud. Overall, your website should not experience any negative repercussions if your domain name does not have privacy protection active as this feature exists for the benefit of the domain owner only.
Are WHOIS Privacy Protection and Website Password Protection Mutually Exclusive?
The great news is that SSL encryption and domain privacy protection are fully compatible with one another. So it is entirely feasible to protect yourself from SPAM callers while also protecting your visitors’ sensitive information.
In rare cases, you may notice that WHOIS privacy protection is not available for purchase. If that happens, you should contact the 24/7 Sales team for more information. In all likelihood, the lack of a WHOIS option is tied to the domain name extension you are using and not to the use of an SSL certificate.
Both WHOIS privacy protection and SSL certificate encryption are easy to set up and have no negative side effects when activated. As such, every site owner should be employing both features in order to boost the security and privacy of their website and domain name. If any issues arise during the order or configuration of either feature, our 24/7 Support and Sales Teams are ready to offer assistance.
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