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The Real Cost of a Free Website Domain

Internet & Security

The Real Cost of a Free Website Domain

Keeping costs lean is just good business, right? When it comes to websites, this ideology couldn’t be farther from the truth. Freely hosted domains actually pose a massive security risk and leave businesses vulnerable to identity theft, scams, and hackers.  

By hosting a website on an unprotected domain, your personal information is at risk of being stolen since it is visible on the WHOIS database. WHOIS is a public directory that maintains a record of domain registrations online and includes company information such as names, phone numbers, emails, addresses, and date of registration. While all domains are registered on WHOIS, websites that are protected have the option to have this information hidden from the public. And without someone to properly manage, protect, and hide your information, it is at risk of being stolen for malicious use.  

Vulnerable for phishing scams  

As scams have become more sophisticated and curated, hackers look to use personal information to gain trust and validity, especially with phishing emails. By utilising personal data such as key dates, names, and emails, hackers are more likely to gain sensitive information while posing as credible at the same time.  

Since 2015, cybercrime has doubled in the UK, costing businesses more than £87 billion. And with phishing becoming the most common and successful attacks businesses face, sharing personal data with a free, unprotected domain makes this threat even greater.  

At risk for Identity Theft  

Along with the business being at risk for phishing scams and other malware attacks, individuals within the business can be targeted for cybercrime. With your business’ information public registered on the WHOIS database, hackers can also use and sell your personal details to use for identity theft.  

The combination of addresses, birthdays, emails, and key dates is powerful in the hands of a hacker and can be used to gain access to even more sensitive information such as bank accounts, medical records, and pensions. A little information goes a long way with a hacker, and keeping your company’s details public with a free domain only makes this easier for those with bad intentions.  

The website can get hacked  

Essentially, hosting a website without any privacy protections is the equivalent to leaving the front door open to your house. Not only is your personal information important to protect other assets of your business, but your website itself is also vulnerable with a free domain. Whether someone steals your domain and routes people to another website or completes all of your data entirely- a hacked website costs businesses precious time and money.  

While it is tempting to use free platforms to keep costs low, especially when launching a new business, utilising a domain without any protection will often cost you more in the long-run. Whether its time sorting spam messages and unwanted sales offers, being vulnerable to phishing scams and identity theft, or even losing your website altogether, using a free, public domain is an invitation for hackers to target your business.  

And if you are unsure of your current domain’s privacy or want to ensure your business is properly protected, email our team at [email protected].