When setting up a new website, you have to register the domain with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – a non-profit organization which manages domain names. When doing so, you have the option of registering the domain as either public or private.
If a domain is registered as public, then the information you used to register the domain – your name, address, e-mail address, and phone number – can be accessed by anyone through WHOIS (a protocol that determinates a registrar). If you register your domain as private – which usually costs a little extra – that information is protected, with the WHOIS query either providing the information of a proxy registrar or stating the information is unavailable. In the case of using a proxy, you still have complete access and control over all aspects of the domain even though it is technically registered by someone else.
So, should you register your domain as public or private?
If you choose to register it as public, that's okay; You should probably just be sure to put information that you would not mind people seeing – a company phone number or a company e-mail address as opposed to a personal one. For some potential customers or visitors to your site, registering your domain as public may give your company more legitimacy because you're willing to put your real information out there. However, this does make your information more susceptible to spam; If anyone can access your company e-mail, then anyone can add it to an e-mail list.
If you decide to register it as private, your information will be protected. Most domain registrars who provide private registration will also be able to create a unique e-mail address to be listed in WHOIS so if anyone does try to contact you that way, they will be able to. You can have that e-mail address forwarded to a preferred e-mail account, or ignored altogether. The extra cost of registering your domain as private is minimal – usually $ 10 per year.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. It depends on what information you're providing to the registrar and how closely you need to protect that information. It's likely the vast majority of people out there are not even aware they can look up your information through WHOIS, and those that do know probably do not care. If your company is legitimate (which it should be!) And your website already provides the information necessary for someone to get a hold of you, you might as well spend the extra few cents each month in order to better protect your information so you don 'T have to deal with spammers or potentially have your information compromised.