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Domain Names FAQs

Domain names are the building blocks of online business. Knowing the basic ins and outs of domain names is a must for any online business owner.

What is a domain name?  

You might know that domain names are the addresses you type into your browser to visit particular websites. But what is a domain name, really?

A domain name is often confused with a URL, but there is an important difference.

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and refers to the entire address used to visit a website, including all those colons and slashes. This address includes the domain name.

The URL for the Netregistry website would be 'http://www.netregistry.com.au'. This contains the "hypertext transfer protocol" (http), telling the browser that you are using a domain name instead of an IP Address. This is followed by the domain name itself (www.netregistry.com.au or netregistry.com.au – both are valid). This points to the server where the website is hosted and the particular files on that server to be accessed.

What are top level and second level domain names?

Dot Com (.com) was the first domain type to be introduced and is considered a top level domain or TLD. Top level domains include any that contain only one suffix – for example; .net, .info, .biz and so on.

Second level domains or 2LDs are domain names containing another level after the .com or .co suffix. For example; .com.au is a second level domain style as it contains an additional suffix after the .com that shows the website originates in Australia.

Domains and email?

Email also relies on domain names to work. Once you have a domain name, it is short work to create your own email address of yourname@yourdomain.com.au. This has many advantages for branding and professional communications. Many people register domain names purely to have their own email address instead of relying on Hotmail, Gmail or any other generic service.

How do I register a domain name?  

If you need to register domain names, you will need an account with an accredited domain name registrar.

First, research the best domain names for your business. More than just a fancy name, a domain name is a powerful asset. You need to be aware of other similar domains that can confuse your customers, whether it is sufficiently descriptive or memorable, how easy is it for people to share and a number of other considerations.

Once you have a few ideas, search to find out whether you can register them. All registrars have a domain name search bar. Enter your ideas and find any matching domains currently available for registration. If available, the registrar will then give you the opportunity to register it for a set period – usually one or two years. However, registration fees can vary immensely between providers. It is important to compare domain name prices and know what you actually get for your money.

Finding the best value domain name

Investigate the costs of registering a .com.au domain name through Melbourne IT, Netregistry and Dayshosting and you will receive two quotes - $140, $34.96 and $22 - for a two year registration. That's a difference of over $95. Consider whether what is included is worth the higher fee and whether you can receive the same or better elsewhere for less.

However, there are also budget providers offering even cheaper domains, usually with less support and resources. Sacrificing support for a few dollars can cost you more money later. Therefore, assess domain names on actual value for your dollar, rather than just price.

The best deal for the best price

A more expensive domain is not of a better 'quality' than one registered for a better price. The only difference is in the additional services offered. Dayshosting has the best value domain name registration prices and only provider provide privacy protection in Australia. Compare us to the competition and we feel sure you won't want to register anywhere else!

Do domain names actually bought and sold?  

Domain names aren't actually bought and sold. In reality, they are only registered for a set period of time, usually one or two years. Once expired, anyone else may be able to register the same domain and claim ownership for a further period, unless the registration is renewed within a specific time period. Therefore, to take care of all those registrations, administer domains effectively and provide a service to domain name owners, private companies are accredited by ICANN and auDA to serve as domain registrars.

All top level domains - .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .name, etc. - and many second level domains - .co.uk, for example - are administered by ICANN - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. For Australian domain names - .com.au, .org.au, etc. - the registry is called AusRegistry and is administered by auDA, the Australian Domain name Administrator.

These designated registrars can process your domain name registration on your behalf and will pass the costs of this process onto you, including additional fees for providing this service. They provide a domain search service, allowing you to search for domains and check their availability. Many also provide additional services which they include within the same registration fee. These services include customer service and support, administration tools and sometimes even a free single webpage you can tailor to your business while your final website is still being built.

When deciding upon a domain name registrar, it is worth investigating the various services and resources that come bundled with the domain name as prices can be radically different from one provider to another - sometimes more than 5 times more expensive.

What is a ccTLD?  

A country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) is a second-level domain. It is specifically reserved for use by individuals, organisations or companies registered and/or residing in a particular country, sovereign state or dependent territory.

During the early life of the internet, a generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) was enough to differentiate domains according to the type of business or organisation. But once the internet exploded beyond its fledgling roots in just one country, these domain names - with extensions such as .com, .org, .edu, or .gov - were not able to define country of origin. As the internet spread, so it became necessary to identify the region in which a domain resides.

Each country around has its own country code. In the United Kingdom the country code is .uk, while the New Zealand code is .nz. The ccTLD for Australia is .au and makes up the .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au and id.au domain names.

These new ccTLDs allowed simple identification of the domain name registry in a particular region. For example, an email or webpage request for an Australian domain is sent to the Australian registry (Ausregistry) database. This contains the DNS server records of the web hosting company, and will then forward the request there. The request is then resolved by the DNS servers, which then directs traffic to the correct hosting server location.

What is a gTLD?  

Despite the sheer volume of information, the internet is a pretty easy place to get around. This is helped by the use of the domain name system, allowing a webpage to be represented by an easy to remember title, name or word.

All domain names are registered and categorised into groups that are generally defined by their extensions, commonly known as generic Top Level Domains (gTLD). gTLD categories such as .com, .net, and .org, domains are often used to represent a commercial enterprise, network, or organisation.

This does not always have to be the case. Any registrant may apply for a gTLD domain even if they have no close or substantial connection to the person, business or organisation that it is intended to represent. gTLD's may be transferred between owners. However, domains are only held for a given period of time before they must be renewed or released.

There are many other gTLD types such as .biz, .name or .pro, although these are restricted. Such registrations require proof of eligibility according to established guidelines. Further restrictions apply to domains sponsored by government agencies or organisations; such as educational (.edu), government (.gov), military (.mil), and international (.int) institutes.

Owning a gTLD is simply a matter of registering any available domain name, which may then be connected to any email or web hosting server with a few simple steps.

What do I need to register a .au domain?  

The .au domain extension is a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) restricted to use by individuals, organisations, or companies registered and/or residing in Australia. The .au domains are controlled by the Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA).

According to auDA's regulations, .com.au or .net.au domains may only be registered to Australian sole traders, businesses or companies. This means that during the registration process, you will be asked to supply an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), State Business Number, Trademark Number or Incorporated Assoc Number to prove eligibility.

Those hoping to register .org.au domains must also meet the same registration requirements. However, they are further restricted to only Australian non-profit organisations and registered charities. Australian associations, clubs, sporting groups, political parties and close equivalents may register .asn.au domain names, although such associations must be nonprofit.

.id.au is a new ccTLD extension specifically designed for Australian individual citizens or residents. This type of domain name must be clearly based on the registrants' name or nickname and photo ID is required for registration.

In all cases, the .au domain must have a close and substantial connection to the person or business intending to use it.

Creating any .au domain name is the first step towards developing an Australian web presence and for getting noticed in local search engine results.

What do I need to register a .com domain?  
What do I need to register a .org domain?  

Generally, there are no restrictions on who can register .org domains and the period of registration can vary between 1 to 10 years. Any person or organisation can own a .org domain and use it for any legal purpose. However, the gTLD was originally created and intended for non-profit or non-commercial organisations. Additional documentation may be requested if the contact details are invalid and/or the order is placed outside the country.

.org domains are also among the least governed and controlled. Domain names are generally registered on a first-come-first-served basis. However, disputes over domain names can arise between multiple parties when one has a trademark on the name or can show abusive registration of a domain name. In instances such as this, a registrar must follow the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This means they will not cancel, suspend or transfer a domain name until such time as an agreement, court action or arbitration has been reached. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) can provide more information about domain name disputes.

When any transferring party is in agreement, domains may be exchanged between registrars, or owners.

Domains names that are no longer in use and allowed to lapse are considered expired. This period extends for 30 days during which you still have the opportunity to renew should you wish. If the domain has not been renewed within 30 days, it is then considered in redemption, a period extending another 30 days. During this period, the owner may recover the domain for a fee. Five to seven days after the redemption period has ended, the registry will release the domain as available to anyone who wants to register it.

What do I need to register a .net domain?  

Generally, there are no restrictions on who can register .net domains and the period of registration can vary between 1 to 10 years. Any person or organisation can own .net domain and use it for any legal purpose. However, it was originally created and intended for organisations involved in networking technologies, such as internet service providers. Additional documentation may be requested if the contact details are invalid and/or the order is placed outside the country.

.net domains are also among the least governed and controlled. Domain names are generally registered on a first-come-first-served basis. However, disputes over domain names can arise between multiple parties when one has a trademark on the name or can show abusive registration of a domain name. In instances such as this, a registrar must follow the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This means they will not cancel, suspend or transfer a domain name until such time as an agreement, court action or arbitration has been reached. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) can provide more information about domain name disputes.

Domains names that are no longer in use and allowed to lapse are considered expired. This period extends for 30 days during which you still have the opportunity to renew should you wish. If the domain has not been renewed within 30 days, it is then considered in redemption, a period extending another 30 days. During this period, the owner may recover the domain for a fee. Five to seven days after the redemption period has ended, the registry will release the domain as available to anyone who wants to register it.