For many people, .ch is more than just a domain name. In our ever more digital world, a .ch address often brings with it a sense of home. The domain represents Swissness, with all the quality, neutrality and security that implies – no wonder .ch is so popular! But until now, despite all these positive characteristics, .ch domains still had one small flaw.

What’s missing from my .ch domain?
Although .ch reflects numerous positive values to the rest of the world, until now, owners of these domain names suffered a distinct disadvantage compared to those of other domains: while the personal details of com, .net, .org and .biz domain owners could be protected, until recently, there was no way to effectively do the same for the details of .ch domain owners.

The Whois lookup function makes finding out who is behind a website as easy as pie. It takes just a few steps to discover a private individual’s name and residential address. These directories serve as a kind of domain phone book, and there’s certainly good reason for them to exist: it’s often reassuring for a customer to know who is behind a particular domain – transparency can have positive effects.

Where does Sean Spicer live?
However, in many cases, it’s simply unpleasant and can have negative effects. It allows third parties to gain access to the names and residential addresses of private individuals, which may open up an avenue for data abuse and increased spam from those with malicious intentions, among other things. At the beginning of this year, for example, it was discovered that the personal details of Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, were publicly accessible on his domain SeanSpicer.com. This didn’t just open him up to online mockery, it also exposed him to a certain level of on- and offline risk.

Again, it’s similar to a phone book: many of us removed our numbers from the public telephone directories a long time ago, as few people enjoy annoying sales calls or other unwanted communications. That’s why Hostpoint has long offered a Domain Privacy service for Hostpoint-registered domain names with the endings .com, .net, .org, .biz and .info. This service displays the address of a neutral proxy in place of that of the domain owner. So Sean Spicer did have the opportunity to protect his .com domain – he just neglected to do so.

And what about my .ch domain?
Searching for the details behind your favorite .ch domain using the Whois directory often reveals surprising insights into the domain owner’s private details.

But now, Hostpoint has become one of the first Swiss providers to offer comprehensive protection for .ch domains as well – regardless of which country the owner lives in. With Domain Privacy, the customer’s details in the domain registry are replaced by Swiss Domain Trustee’s details. The company serves as a neutral proxy in order to protect the owner’s private information. The integrated correspondence service passes on any legitimate inquiries to the customer, for example, correspondence from official authorities, media representatives, entrepreneurs and domain purchase offers. Hostpoint maintains neutrality, leaving it up to the customer to decide which inquiries they wish to respond to.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the first year of Domain Privacy is free when an owner transfers their domain to Hostpoint. Afterwards, it costs just CHF 12 a year – a reasonable price for a safe corner of home in the digital world.

Domain Privacy for .ch: a safe corner of home

Claudius Röllin

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

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