How to Protect Your Privacy Online When You Own A Website


Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel

It’s very difficult to protect your personal information in this day and age. If you’ve spent any time online, it’s likely that your information is floating out there somewhere. If someone wants to find out something about you, they can if they work hard enough.

Despite that, you can fight back and make it really difficult for people to find out information about you when you own a website.

5 Tips To Protect Your Privacy Online When You Own A Website

Make your passwords as secure as possible.

I can’t stress this one enough. The first step to protecting your privacy online is to make a very secure password. I’ve seen so many sites hacked in the years I’ve worked as a website developer – usually it can be prevented or at least circumvented by using a better password.

  • Don’t use your name (or any version of it!), your birthday, your dog’s name, the word “password”, the word “love” or any other information that someone can easily figure out about you.
  • Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, symbols and numbers
  • Don’t spell out a word using numbers and letters – bots have gotten smarter over the years!

Password Creation Tip

Think of a random sentence, and use the first letter of each word of the sentence to get some letters for your password.

For example: “I am going to the grocery store in three hours!”

Becomes Password: Iag2tGsi3h!

Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts

Another way to protect your privacy when starting a new website or business is to make sure to use different passwords for the different accounts you open.

Since your e-mail account is often the way you log in to many other accounts, you’ll want to make that password very secure.

Get a PO Box or Use a Mailbox Service

When you start a new online business, or even a blog, it’s a good idea to get a PO BOX or mailbox service so that you don’t have to use your physical address when signing up for various services.

For example, purchasing a domain requires that you enter an address and that information can become public if you’re not careful.

Also, if you plan on using mailing list services such as Aweber or Mailchimp, it is required by law to have an address on file on your account.

PO Boxes are the cheapest route, but the added bonus of having a mailbox through a company such as Mailboxes, ETC, is that you get a physical street address, which is also useful when you are not allowed to use a PO Box (ie for taxes, or other purposes).

When you purchase your domain, buy “private registration”

Many people do not know that when you purchase your domain name, the information you used to register is stored in a public database (you can see this at http://whois.domaintools.com/).

The information stored includes your name, your phone number, your e-mail address and even the physical address you used to sign up.

There are great private domain registration services that will mask most of your personal information. Make sure to do this! It’s so important.

Use Forms On Your Website To Protect Your E-mail Address from Spambots

You probably notice that I have contact forms on my website rather than a direct link to my e-mail address. This is for two reasons:

  • It keeps companies and individuals from advertising to me and wasting my time
  • It keeps me off spam lists and therefore keeps away tons of other junk e-mail

I highly recommend using a contact form on your website in order to protect your e-mail address privacy.

 

By implementing these simple tricks, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of your personal information on the web. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them!