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What exactly is a domain name? PDF Print E-mail
It's an address on the internet. The two uses you’d be most familiar with are internet addresses, where the domain name is prefixed by "www" (for example, and email addresses, where the domain name follows the '@' symbol (for example

What is the Domain Space?

If an internet address has .au at the end of it, it’s registered in Australia and a part of the .au domain space, which is regulated by auDA.

What kind of domain name can I get in the .au domain name space?

The .au domain is divided into a number of second level domains (2LDs). It isn’t possible to license a domain name directly in the .au domain.  So rather than being able to license "", registrants must license their name in a 2LD, eg. "" or "".   For more information go to .

What is a registry, a registrar and a reseller?

The registry holds the database of domain names and operates the computers that make domain names visible on the internet. The registry does not have direct contact with registrants. The registry for,,,,, and is AusRegistry.Registrars issue domain name licences to registrants.  They decide whether or not your domain name application meets the policy rules.  Registrars have direct access to the registry so that they can process new registrations and renewals, as well as update registrant contact details in the database.  Registrars in the .au domain are accredited and licensed by auDA.

Some registrars use resellers to provide customer sales and support.  Resellers do not have direct access to the registry, and must process registrations and renewals through their registrar.  Resellers are not accredited or licensed by auDA, they are appointed by a registrar.

How do I get my own domain name and start using it?

To get your own domain name up and running, you need to: Register your domain name through an auDA accredited registrar or their reseller.

Arrange for your domain name to be "hosted". A hosting service provides a location (a server somewhere, connected to the internet) for your web site. Your existing Internet Service Provider (ISP), other ISPs, or a "webhosting" service can host your domain name. Some registrars and resellers also include hosting as part of their domain name service. Shop around for the service that best suits you. Unlike a domain name that is part of your ISP’s domain, your own domain name will be ‘portable’, which means that your web site can reside on a server in Australia, or you can move it overseas. The domain name system (DNS) files must be kept up-to-date with the current address, otherwise, when your customer types your web address into their browser, it won’t be able to find your web site.

Finally, create your web page and set up your email addresses. You can do this yourself, or your registrar, reseller, ISP, or someone else can handle it for you.

How can I check the status of a domain name to see if it is available?

You can check the status of an existing domain name, and find out whether a name is available for registration, by using the public WHOIS service.  For,,,,, or names, use the public WHOIS service at

Where can I apply for a domain name?

To apply for a,,,, or domain name, choose your preferred registrar and follow their application process.  Some registrars provide services directly to the public, others may use resellers.  See the list of auDA accredited registrars .  To apply for a domain name, follow the process at .   To apply for an domain name, follow the process at .

What rights does a domain name give me?

There are no proprietary rights in a domain name. The registrant does not "own" their domain name. Instead, they have a licence to use the domain name for a specified period of time. Registrants cannot sell their domain name to another person, however, there are limited circumstances under which domain name licences may be transferred. These can be viewed at

No one has an automatic right to a domain name. Having a company or business name, or a Registered Trademark, does not automatically give you a greater right than anyone else to that domain name. Also, having a domain name in one domain (eg. "") does not give you the right to stop others from holding the same or a similar domain name in another domain (eg. "", "", "", etc).

If you think you have a better entitlement to a domain name than the current registrant, you may be able to bring a complaint under the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (.auDRP). View further details about the .auDRP are available at .

Can I register a domain name before I have a website or a hosting service arranged?

Yes, you can register a domain name and then delegate your domain name to a specific computer.

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