This article will explain to you almost everything you need to know about Australian domain names as a small business.
Before we get into the details, it is important to go over a few definitions and terminology to assist with an easier understanding of the remainder of the article. It can also help as a quick reference for future discussion surrounding domains.
Domain Registrant is the individual, association, or company who the domain is registered under. If domains were an apartment then the registrant would be the tenant.
A Domain Registrar is an approved organisation who have been authorised to sell domains within a namespace. If domains were rented apartments, then you could think of a registrar as a Real Estate agent.
A Domain Registry is an organisation that manages and administers the top-level domain and its overall namespace. They set the eligibility rules, they can create more domains or 2LD and work with the Registrar’s to sell domains to the public. If domains were rented apartments, then the domain registry’s would be a combination of a Property Developer and a Property Manager.
Now, you may have read this and thought there are a bunch more terms in those explanations that I don’t know. Ok, here goes
Top-Level Domains (TLD) are domains but the ‘top’ refers to the place of the domain in the domain name system hierarchy. For most average folks isn’t important to note or explore in the context of this article. Domain examples are the .com, .net or .org domains.
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) are fairly self-explanatory but they are domains that end with .in, .cn, .uk.
Second Level Domains (2LD) are domains that sit below the TLDs. Such as .com.au, .net.au, .org.au.
Namespaces refer to the group of 2LD’s of a TLD. Sticking with our metaphor, if Domains were apartments, then Nameservers would be different types of layouts of the apartment that you can get. Examples are that .net.au, .com.au, .org.au all belong to the .au Namespace.
The 2LDs in the .au namespace can be broken down into two categories;
Open Domains – this means that individuals or businesses that match the criteria are eligible to register the domain.
Closed Domains – these domains are closed from the general public and can only be registered by Government authorities or require further approval from other authorities.
Open 2LD’s available in the .au Namespace
Below is a list of the namespaces available along with some eligibility criteria.
This is the most popular domain within the .au namespace, much like other namespaces.
To be eligible to register a .com.au domain, you will need to be an incorporated or commercial entity that has an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (CAN). The acquired domain does need to have some sort of association to the registered entity such as exact company name or trading name match, an abbreviation of it or an association that can be proven – if need be.
An example of this might be that Big Dog Storage has a developed a unique storage box with inbuilt speakers. This product is called Shout Storage. Big Dog could register a domain called shout-storage.com.au and this would be acceptable.
The “.ID” in this 2LD refers to “individual”. This domain is designed to be used by individuals who are Australian Citizens or Australian Residents. You can also register a .id.au domain name that represents an interest or hobby of the individual with who the domain is registered. You could get tonystark.id.au as well as fightingvillains.id.au.
This has the exact eligibility as .com.au does. This means that you will need to be a commercial entity in order to register this domain. To be eligible, you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN). You need to ensure that the domain name is either a direct match for the entity’s name, some abbreviation or a close relationship to it.
This is an open 2LD and can be registered by any organisation that is considered non-commercial. Examples of these are political parties, trade unions and sporting organisations such as local clubs or non-for-profit.
The registrant or entity needs to have some reference to the domain such as an acronym, abbreviation or some proof otherwise may be requested. This means that if my local sporting organisation wanted the domain cute-pandas.org.au then the registrant needs to be Cute Pandas Football Club and not Tony Stark.
You may have guessed it already but the .asn.au is designed to be registered by Associations. The associations can be political parties, sporting clubs, charities or not-for-profit organisations.
Domain names like all other 2LD’s in the .au namespace need to be an abbreviation, short-form or have some association with the registrant.
Closed 2LD’s available in the .au Namespace
The below is a list of domains that are closed from the general public and can only be authorised for use by their associated authorities. These are outside the regular .au registrar’s and are registered on a case by case basis.
act.au – for communities in Australian Capital Territory
nsw.au – for communities in New South Wales.
nt.au – for communities in the Northern Territory.
qld.au – for communities in Queensland.
sa.au – for communities in South Australia.
tas.au – for communities in Tasmania.
vic.au – for communities in Victoria.
wa.au – for communities in Western Australia.
As a small business owner, it is important to understand what eligibility you need to provide for a .au domain as the auDA administrators can request further documentation and prevent you from being able to renew a domain. This can result in emails or a website not functioning.
The other important note is to ensure that if you have a domain that requires specific eligibility such as a.com.au, then you need to ensure that the Registrant Name is accurate to prevent any dire situation when your business doesn’t control it. You can check this by performing a WHOIS Lookup.
This article will provide you with a great understanding of how what domains are available and the terminology that might be thrown at you whilst you are thinking or while purchasing a domain.
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