Domain Names

Your domain name is a unique name that identifies an individual or an organisation's Internet site. Users access this website by typing it into an Internet search engine.

Behind domain names is string of numbers which are known as an IP addresses (eg 61.88.171.236). Because remembering a long numerical address is considerably harder than names, the Domain Name System was developed to facilitate the easy recognition and recall of Internet site addresses.

Domain Names always have two or more parts which are separated by dots. The first is the name (eg pcworld) and this is followed by a top-level domain such as .com or .net. In some instances there is a subsequent domain known as a Second-level domain such as .com.au or .net.au.

Registering .au Domain Names, where do I start?

The easiest way to check for the availability of any given domain name is to conduct a search online. You can find an up-to-date list of certified registrars located at http://www.auda.org.au/registrars/accredited-registrars/, the online list hosted by auDA.

auDA is the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the Australian domain industry. You can find more information about it at http://www.auda.com.au/about/about/.

Once you have a found a registrar (a specialist company with whom you will register your domain name), your search request for a domain name will literary take seconds to check against the WHOis database. The majority of registrars and resellers have a search function which allows you to search for multiple extensions in one hit. This is a great feature if you need to register both .com and .au extensions (for example, Orange.com, and Orange.com.au).

I found the domain name, what's next?

If you are planning on registering a domain name with .au extension you need to be aware of the current regulations in place before you can proceed. The guidelines are available online at http://www.auda.org.au/pdf/auda-2005-01.pdf

Currently, all Australian businesses are eligible for a .com.au and/or .net.au domain name. This is the case regardless of whether you are a company, business, registered body, owner/ applicant of a registered trade mark or if you simply own a registered business name. You will require your Registered Business Number (RBN), Australian Company Number (ACN) or Australian Business Number (ABN) to continue with the registration.

If you don't meet the above criteria and still wish to register a .com.au or .net.au, the easiest way to get started will be to register a business name. You will need to apply to your local Fair Trading Office for a business name in your state of residence. [See section on 'Registering a Business Name'].

You also need to be aware that domain name licenses are allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis, so if you think the name you want is going to be snapped up you need to act quickly.

Originally it was only possible to have one Domain Name registered against a Business, company and/or individual, but today it's possible to obtain multiple names as long as you comply with auDA guidelines.

What other AU extensions can I apply for?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global co-ordinator/regulator of domain names, implemented the segregation of national Top Level Domains (nTLDs) in each country. These extensions enable further classifciation of businesses, which may fall under a more suitable extension (see the list below).

Australian (.au) Second Level Domains (2LDs)

asn.au - For incorporated associations, political parties, trade unions, sporting and special interest clubs.

com.au - For commercial entities, such as companies (with ACN as registered through ASIC), and businesses (registered with state governments).

net.au - For commercial entities, such as companies (with ACN as registered through ASIC), and businesses (registered with state governments).

id.au - For individuals who are Australian citizens or residents.

org.au - For charities and non-profit organisations.

edu.au - For educational institutions registered at a federal or state level. This domain is managed on behalf of the Australian education sector by the Australian Information and Communications Technology in Education Committee (AICTEC).

gov.au - For federal, state and local government bodies. This domain is managed on behalf of the Australian government sector by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).

csiro.au - For the sole use of the Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO). This domain is managed by CSIRO.

info.au - Presently not accepting new registrations.

conf.au - Presently not accepting new registrations.

What qualifies as a Domain Name?

Domain Names must be at least two characters long, less than 63 characters for each component of the domain name and less than 255 characters in total. The domain name is to be composed entirely of letters, numbers, and hyphens. However, the first, third, fourth and last characters cannot be hyphens. Most registries will advise you to choose a domain name with 12 characters or less. If the name you select is successful you will be given the option to continue the registration.

The domain name license period for .au extensions is fixed at 2 years. Renewal of a domain name license at the end of the 2nd year depends on the registrant continuing to meet the eligibility and allocation rules for the relevant 2LD.




Why we have domain names.

When the Internet was in its infancy all websites were located by their IP (Internet Protocol) address. An IP address is a set of four numbers separated by dots, which allows computers connected on the Internet to locate each other.

In order to create a user friendly experience domain names were created linking IP addresses to a name, this made navigating the world wide web a lot easier.

Not convinced? Type 216.239.57.99. into your web browser, isn't google.com a lot easier?

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