One of the worst things about registering a new website domain name is the inundation of spam and other bothersome emails, voicemails, and other offers that seem to fly out of nowhere in large quantities. The majority of this spam is useless and blocks you and your users from receiving more important information. Getting past the spam stage is a hurdle but this article will help you to avoid it altogether by understanding why it’s happening and providing some advice on how to stop it.
Why You Get Spammed
If your domain registrar is reputable, they likely haven’t sold your information to spam sources. So why are you still getting spammed? When you register a domain, your information is stashed in a database called WHOIS (this is not an acronym, it just means Who Is.) On WHOIS, anyone can look up domain owners and find information about you. Although this may sound suspicious or intrusive, this database serves a positive purpose because it holds web content accountable to the domain owners and helps to maintain some legitimacy on the internet.
The benefits of WHOIS do come at a cost however, and spammers are able to look up newly registered domains and target them when they are most vulnerable to spam, hacking, and other nefarious purposes.
The best way to avoid this is to opt out of WHOIS, which is possible for some but not for all. You’re able to opt out of WHOIS if you meet some narrow qualifications; such as if you’re a noncommercial or individual domain. This does not help if your domain is for commercial use, but it does help for personal bloggers and some noncommercial organizations to avoid spam.
How to Avoid Spam
The best way to protect your identity and to avoid spam is to register for domain privacy through your hosting provider. Although your information will still be available on WHOIS, the service will mask your domain registration information with general information and your private information will be hidden from the general public. This service isn’t free and typically costs about $10 per year, but the cost is well worth the service and saves you the time and inbox real estate that erasing spam would take up.
Another common (and free) method of avoiding spam is to change your email settings to include junk mail protection and spam filters. Although this may seem obvious, many people forget about this option and can benefit from taking some time to look into their email preferences. Junk mail protection looks for common spammers and low-quality emails and filters them out automatically. Still, it’s good once and a while to glance through your spam folder to make sure no real contacts have gotten filtered by accident.
Up Your Defenses
Some hackers and particularly malevolent spammers will target your new domain and look for vulnerabilities they can exploit and enter your website to add viruses and malware. This kind of software is often undetectable until it’s too late and can shut your website down indefinitely until the problem is solved. This is avoidable by downloading security software that scans files to make sure everything is okay to go before uploading it to your website. Be sure to regularly back up your content so that your files are safe in case anything goes wrong.
Another way to be proactive about your website’s defense is to be aware of common phishing scams and to be very careful about releasing any of your information. Double check email addresses and content: if something is an official email it should not have typos, all the dates should seem correct and appropriate. Don’t be afraid to question anything that looks suspicious, any business will not be offended if you ask for them to prove who they are and that their email is legitimate, especially when you clarify that you just want to protect your safety. Common spam tactics will have slightly misspelled business names in their email or use clever tactics to disguise the letters to look like something else (for example using “rn” may look on some browsers like the “m” in “amazon”.) Also feel free to call any phone numbers listed in the email to see if you connect with a real person and if the person sounds like whoever contacted you.
Overcoming spammers may seem like an ordeal but taking these steps and being proactive about preventing spam will give you a head start on developing your website and focusing on its contents rather than spending time, energy, and money on dealing with spam. The key takeaways here are to take defensive and offensive approaches to protect your information and domain. If you suspect spammers, malware, or any other malicious activity, please contact your hosting provider so they can help you take care of your own website and prevent the same problems for others in the future.