Steps to Buy a Domain Name Anonymously Including Using Tor, Private Registration, Cryptocurrency
To buy a domain name anonymously, you will need to take a few extra steps when purchasing to protect your identity so you can setup your website privately. All domain name purchases and the buyer’s contact information are listed on a public database where anyone can look up payment method that cannot be traced to you.
When you register a domain name, called a Top-Level Domain Name (TLD), it is purchased and registered using a domain name registrar service. Most website hosting companies also sell domain names. People buy a domain name and must pay an annual fee to renew and retain the website URL. The name, the buyer’s information, and the registrar’s information are all registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which maintains a public, online database of domain owners. If you don’t take measures to protect your identity your name, address, and contact information are all publicly available through a simple web search of ICANN’s WHOIS database.
Why Buy a Domain Name Anonymously?
In addition to protecting your privacy, anonymous domain registration offers a number of advantages and is not just for hackers or those looking to scam the public. Buying a domain name anonymously prevents spammers from getting your personal information. It stops the litany of online service providers like SEO companies, email providers, and advertisers from contacting you trying to sell services.
There is an old internet business scam where competing domain name registrars send emails and postal mail to website owners trying to convince them that their website needs to be renewed. Sometimes the registrar is simply a competitor trying to gain the website renewal business, other times they are a scammer looking to take control of the website and lock it up away from its owner. Buying a domain name anonymously prevents this from happening.
How to Buy A Domain Anonymously
1. Use a private web browser like Tor Browser or Brave Browser
2. Use a shell corporation to register the domain name
3. Use a quality VPN service when buying
4. Pay with a prepaid credit card or cryptocurrency
5. Use an email address that is only used for this domain registrar
6. Buy from a domain registrar that accepts your payment method
7. Register the domain privately
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Buy A Domain Privately
Private domain registration is an add-on service that many domain registrars offer and charge an extra annual fee for. Normally, when you buy a domain name, your information is listed publicly in the ICANN databases. When you buy a domain privately, the registrar’s information is listed as the contact information. So, the domain name purchase is not anonymous, however it is private.
Use a Private Web Browser and VPN
If you want to remain completely anonymous, even from the domain name registrar, then you will have to buy your domain name anonymously while using a private web browser like Tor or Brave while connected to a virtual private network, or VPN.
For example, if you go to your local coffee shop to set up your website and are using a public WiFi connection there you are completely traceable. Security cameras inside or outside of the coffee shop can identity you using facial recognition. Your activity online is easily accessible and most likely tracked for marketing purposes by the network owner.
By the way, if you are using the public WiFi connection in a coffee shop to do anything online, then read my post on why you shouldn’t do that. Even it is only to check use a messaging app like Snapchat or post on social media, you are putting your personal information and money at risk.
Using a VPN to route your internet traffic outside the coffee shop and possibly get an IP address outside of the country is the best way to make your purchase private. You will also need to use a private web browser before you connect to the internet to block tracking cookies from the domain name registrar.
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You can also go as far as to set up a shell corporation that is used only to make this purchase and shield you from personal association with the website. If you do incorporate, then you may be listed with the state of incorporation and required to file taxes or other paperwork that leaves a trail of information.
Secure Payment Methods
Payment methods are the most difficult part. To remain anonymous from the domain name registrar, you will have to pick up a prepaid credit card. Paying for the card in cash is best, but that may result in you being recorded on security cameras when you pick up the card. If you have Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency and have a domain registrar that accepts it, then you can use that as payment information.