Private Vs Public Domain Registration: The Big Difference

Domains can be registered as private domain or public domain. How can you tell the difference between the two?

Knowing the difference between private and public domain is important before registering your domain in either of the categories.

The knowledge of the two types of domains is necessary to inform the decision of which to go for.

Private Vs Public Domain Registration

Do you wish to know the significant differences as well as the implications of running either a private or a public domain?

You can learn all you need to know about private and public domain registration here.


Private Vs Public Domain Registration

When choosing a domain name for your new website, it’s important to know that it is available to be registered as both a private and public domain.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the difference before deciding which is right for you.

Private domain names are usually available at a higher price than public domain names, but they are not publicly accessible.

As such, you will need to register the domain name through a private company that specializes in domain registration.

Public domain names are available to be registered by anyone, but the cost is lower.

While this means that they are less expensive, you will need to make sure that you buy a domain name that is available and not already registered by someone else.


Brief Notes on Domain Registration

  • A domain can be registered as either a public domain or a private domain.
  • Registering a domain does not mean a website has been registered. A valid internet presence is needed to get a domain functional and open to others.
  • Registrars are companies or entities that have been given the legal right to register a domain. To register a domain, you will need to employ the service of a registrar. You can find registrars that are approved for domain registration listed on the ICANN website.
  • A Registrant is an individual or entity that registers a domain. This means a registrar might not be the registrant. If the need arises, you can transfer the registrant right of your domain to another registrant. Contact the registrar company and follow the process for the transfer.
  • A non-profit organization known as Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in charge of managing domain names.
  • WHOIS is the public internet directory where registered domains are published.

The major difference between the public domain and the private domain is their privacy status.

Understanding the implications of choosing any of the two is important. Find out the benefits and disadvantages of both the public and private domain below.


Private Domain Registration


The Pros of Private Domain Registration

The advantages of registering a domain as a private domain are highlighted below:

  • Just as the name suggests, a private domain is private in its settings. The domain has privacy protection. This means that personal information such as contact details are not open to the public.
  • The fact that info such as contact details are privatized prevents unsolicited emails, SPAMS, and telemarketing contents that were not signed up for. This equally serves to reduce the number of fraudulent users you will get to interact with. Generally, the private domain offers you a safe zone while running a functional domain.
  • Registering a domain as a private domain gives you control over the kind of info that will be displayed on the WHOIS directory.
  • As a competing brand, having your info absent on the WHOIS directory makes it easy to mask your presence. That way you can seek out information that gives an edge to your brand and your competitors do not get to know who owns the domain.
  • As part of the ICANN requirement for registering a domain, an email account and other contact information have to be provided. To cater for this, the registrant of your domain has to fill in these details with their info. As a result, the legal requirements and issues that may arise in the future will have to be sorted out by the registrant instead of you.


The Cons of Private Domain Registration

The following are the disadvantages of private domain registration.

  • Registering domains as private domains at a higher cost. To continue maintaining the privacy status of your domain, an annual fee will have to be paid to your registrar.
  • As the personal details provided for the registration of the domain belongs to the registrant, on the WHOIS database, the domain is reflected publicly as that of the registrant. As far as ICANN is concerned, the registrant is the owner of the domain since the details used in registering the domain belong to the registrant. In a situation where you need to claim ownership, you will have to go through some procedures.
  • The privacy of a domain may make it difficult for potential clients or users of a website to trust the domain. In situations where people are looking out to verify the legitimacy of an organization by checking its listing on the WHOIS database, not finding the domain on WHOIS can make it difficult to trust such a domain. Companies especially NGOs that seek funding can suffer as a result of this.


Public Domain Registration


The Pros of Public Domain Registration

Some of the benefits of public domain registration are highlighted below.

  • Domains registered as public domains are better publicized. This is due to the presence of the details of the domain on WHOIS which can be viewed by the general public. As a result, the chances of having more engagement, offers etc. are higher than in a private domain.
  • Registering a domain as Public is cheaper than a domain being registered as a private domain. The payment for the registration is a one-off thing and does not attract an annual fee paid to maintain its status.
  • The public domain is better positioned for recognition and endorsement from individuals, and organizations. This works best for non-governmental organizations.
  • Having the details of a domain open to the public, makes the domain appear more reliable. This is a good element for business.


The Cons of Public Domain Registration

The possible demerits of public domain registration are as follows:

  • Public domains are more open to getting messages from just anyone as the contact details of the domains are open to the general public. This is okay for some brands but not for others.
  • The privacy of the public domain is almost non-existent. While having public access to the details of a domain may be great for several brands, having a certain level of privacy is important for some other brands, blogs and sites.

See Also: The 11 Best WordPress Hosting to Consider


Private Vs Public Domain Registration FAQs


How long can a public domain remain registered?

The registration of a public domain is valid for ten years. When the expiration of the domain is close or due, a renewal of the registration can be processed.

However, some registrars promise a longer validity for a domain.

What they do is carry out the renewal themselves when it is due. Officially, the registered status of a public domain is valid for 10 years.


Can a private domain be changed to a public domain and vice versa?

The possibility of doing this exists. The process differs with different registrars.

If you need to change the privacy status of your domain, do so by reaching out to the registrar of the domain. A guide on what to do will be provided.




There are different perks of registering a domain as a private domain or a public domain. There are cons of either type of domain as well.

The big difference between a private domain and a public domain registration is the level of privacy that is being provided by the two domain types.

The public domain has the details of the domain open to the general public as it is present in the WHOIS public directory.

On the other hand, the private domain has privacy protection for its data. As such, details of the domain are not reflected in WHOIS.

Consequential of the difference between the private and the public domain, whichever serves a brand better should be used. A trusted registrar or an expert can provide advice on which is the best option.


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Harrison Acha is a Digital Marketing Expert, Seasoned Blogger, Facebook Marketing Expert, Writer, SEO Expert, and Digital Content Creator. Have been in the IT industry for more than a decade, and helping both tech and non-tech professionals become more productive and less frustrated with technology. Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

PrimeGate Digital is a Result Driven Blog that strives to go beyond ‘Conventional Digital Marketing’ through digital innovation and performance marketing. We have experience working with world class brands and products.


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