The domain name industry can be quite confusing, especially for a beginner.
That is why DNTrade decided to start compiling a list of some of the most commonly asked questions in the hope that they might help our members.
As with anything, this information has been provided in good faith, please always consider getting professional or legal advice depending on your situation. If you have a question for us please post it on our Newbie Forum or contact us.
What is a domain name?
Dntrade.com.au is a domain name. A domain name is basically the address the internet uses to find a website.
The first level of domains are known as top level domains or TLDs. Some of the most common TLDs you may know are .com, .net and .org.
There are also country code top level domains or ccTLDs. This is what the DNTrade domain name is. The .au signifies a website is held in Australia. In fact, .au domains can only be owned and purchased by Australian residents with an ABN or ACN.
One of the best analogies that we’ve heard of is to think of a domain name as your home address, think of a website as your house, web hosting as the block of land your house is built on and then the street is the Internet which provides you access to the domain and website.
There is a handy reference of the various domain name extensions on Wikipedia.
How do I register a domain name?
First, you need to first have an account with an accredited domain name registrar that supports the domain extension you are interested in registering.
The minimum registration period for most gTLD’s is a period of one year. However, for ccTLD’s like .au the minimum period of registration is two years.
While there are no specific rules for registering generic top level domains such as .com, .net and .org, if you are planning to purchase a .au domain name there are some conditions. You must be and Australian resident with an Australian sole trader, business or company and also supply your ABN/ACN on registration to prove eligibility. If you are after information about protecting international trademarks in .com.au, check out this useful article from AusRegistry http://www.ausregistry.com.au/news/a-guide-to-protecting-international-trademarks-in-comau
auDA also specifies that any .au domain you register also needs to either ‘exact match, abbreviation or acronym’ for you or your business or ‘otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant’.
If you plan to register a .org.au you must a be a non-commercial organisation such as a charity.
To find out more about the policy rules for registering a .au domain name visit auDA’s Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules.
What domain names can I register?
Firstly you need to check if the domain name is available via a WHOIS search.
Then you need to choose a registrar. Each registrar has the same access to the pool of available domain names, depending on what extensions they support. For example, if you want to register a .com.au domain name make sure you choose an accredited Australian domain name registrar.
When creating a domain name, it can:
- be anywhere between 2 and 63 characters long between the www. and the extension (e.g .com.au)
- contain any combination of letters (A-Z) or numbers (0-9)
- contain hyphens as long as they are not next to each other or in first or last position
How do I choose a domain name registrar?
If you visit our list of .au domain registrars you will see that the prices can vary quite substantially between the registrars. It usually comes down to a trade off between price and level of service.
How do I buy a domain that is already owned by someone else?
If someone already has the domain name you would like to be able to register there are a couple of things you can do.
Determine whether the person already has a site/business at the domain or whether the domain is parked awaiting development. If the person already has an active site/business on the domain they may not be interested in selling. If they are interested, your offer would need to be attractive for them to consider selling the site and domain name. If the domain is parked and awaiting development, you may be able to convince the owner to sell with an attractive offer.
Ascertain the value of the domain. There are some useful domain appraisal tools, which can help you determine what the value of the domain is. These are not 100% accurate and should only be used as a guide.
Perform a WHOIS search to find out the domain owners contact details. You can then contact them to find out if they would be interested in selling the domain. It is usually best to make an offer up front to show you are serious, however, if you prefer you can ask them what price they’d consider selling for.
If the owner agrees to sell the domain to you, this then means a Change Of Registrant or ownership needs to take place. Before any money is exchanged, consider using an escrow service to handle the transaction. This ensures that the seller receives the funds and the buyer receives the domain authorisation code (also know as auth code or EPP code) to initiate the transfer. You also need to determine which registrar you would like the domain to be transferred to and check their processes for Change Of Registrant. Typically it’s an online / paper form which needs to be completed. Also make sure you agree with the seller who will take care of the transfer and escrow fees.
Once the transaction is complete, always update the domain owner details and perform a WHOIS search to confirm the transaction is complete. Make sure that you then lock the domain so that is protected from unauthorised transfer. You may also wish to consider selecting to auto renew the domain so that when the expiry date arrives, it will renew automatically avoiding potential loss of the domain.
What are aftermarkets, auctions and catalogs?
These are platforms where domain names are advertised for sale. Platforms like Netfleet are accessible to the public to list domains for sale and buyers have the opportunity to bid on a domain and in some cases take up the buy it now price. There are also private catalogs such as Fabulous and Attractive.
What does drop catching mean?
Drop catching is when expired or deleted domains become available to be registered. Both Netfleet and Drop offer daily expired domain auctions so if you are interested in finding out more check out their websites.
What is domain parking?
Domain parking refers to a single webpage without a website. It typically will have ads, which deliver earnings to the registrant. It’s purpose is to act as a place holder for a domain name prior to a website being built. Rook Media are experienced domain monetization / parking specialists and are worthwhile checking out.
What is web hosting?
In order for a website to be visible on the Internet, it needs to be hosted with a web hosting service like VentraIP. As in the example above, where a domain name can be thought of as your address, web hosting can be thought of as the land that your house (website) is built on.