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How do I register a domain name?

What is a domain name?

A domain name is an internet address that is used to direct:

  • internet users to your website
  • emails to your email account.

What are the components in a domain name?

A domain name typically combines a number of components.

For example, the domain name 'www.example.com.au' has the following components:

  • www - to indicate it is a worldwide web address
  • example - the domain name that you register
  • com - to indicate the category of domain name you have registered, which is also called a top level domain name
  • au - to indicate the domain name's country of origin.

What are the top level domain names or categories?

The following top level domain name categories can be used by the following types of domain name users:

Domain nameUser
com or bizbusinesses
edueducational institutions
govgovernment
orgother organisation

How is a country of origin identified?

The last component of a domain name indicates its country of origin by using a country's abbreviation. Some examples of abbreviations of countries of origin are:

AbbreviationCountry
auAustralia
nzNew Zealand
ukUnited Kingdom
sgSingapore
myMalaysia
frFrance
deDeutschland (Germany)
esEspaña (Spain)

Can the country of origin component be omitted from a domain name?

Generally, domain names that originate in the United States do not have a country of origin component to the domain name (e.g. 'www.example.com').

Registration of a domain name without the country of origin component is not confined to United States domain name holders. Anyone can register a domain name that omits the country of origin. For example, an Australian applicant can apply for a domain name with the '.com' without any country of origin component.

What type of domain name can I have?

A business will often want its domain names to be the same, or similar to:

  • its trademark
  • its company name, or
  • its business name.

This will obviously make it easier for the business' customers to remember the domain name. As well, a domain name can be a powerful part of an overall branding strategy. A business that has a number of trademarks and other names, may in fact seek to have all the corresponding domain names.

Who is entitled to a domain name?

An applicant for a domain name can be:

  • an owner of a registered trademark
  • an applicant seeking registration of a trademark
  • a company
  • the owner of a business name
  • a sole trader
  • a partnership
  • an incorporated association.

What do I need to apply for a domain name?

To apply for a domain name you need:

How do I register a domain name in Australia?

A domain name can only be registered through a domain name registry.

How do I register a domain name in other countries?

The closest thing to an 'international' domain name, is one that omits the country of origin component of the domain name (e.g. 'www.example.com' instead of 'www.example.com.au').

Such a domain name is registered with one domain name registry only, and, once registered, it will not be available to anyone else in the world through any other domain name registry.

However, if you want to register a domain name that contains a country of origin extension of a specific country, you have to register each separate domain name with a domain name registry that is accredited in each respective country.

You do not have to apply through a separate domain name registry for each country. Rather, you must apply through domain name registries accredited in each country.

For example, if you sought to register 'www.example.com.au', 'www.example.com.nz' and 'www.example.com.sg', you would need to either:

  • select 3 domain name registries accredited in each of the 3 countries, or
  • select a single domain name registry that is accredited in all 3 countries.

In practice, an Australian domain name registry will be either accredited in other countries, or can engage registries in other countries on your behalf.