Below is a collection of common questions we're asked about domains and registration.
A domain name is an address that is used on the internet. For example, if you had a company called YourCo Ltd, you might register the domain name yourco.com or yourco.ie. This would become the address of your company on the Internet. You could set up a web site at www.yourco.com or get email sent to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that simply registering a domain name does not in itself enable you to receive email or operate a website, rather it stakes a claim to the address should you want to do so in the future.
Computers on the internet are identified by special numbers called IP addresses. These operate very like telephone numbers and usually look something like 188.8.131.52. These addresses are very difficult for us mere mortals to remember, so the Domain Name System (DNS) was created to simplify matters.
Each computer may be given an easy to remember name (such as www.yourname.com) which is automatically converted to the correct IP address when you access a website or send email. This all happens behind the scenes, so all you have to do is remember the correct web site or email address, DNS takes care of the rest.
Simple domain names usually look something like yourco.com. The .com part is called the top level domain (TLD). There are several top-level domains under which you can register. The most common TLD's (from an Irish viewpoint) are .ie, .com, .net and .org.
The second part of the domain name (yourco) is called the second-level domain. This is really the part that identifies the individual or organization that registered the domain. Sometimes there are third or fourth levels to the domain (for example dept.yourco.com). These further divide the domain up into smaller domains. Once you register your domain, you are free to add subdomains as and when you choose. This is often done when setting up a website at www.yourco.com. You only need to register the yourco.com part.
The domain is registered in the name of the person or organisation provided by you when you apply online. In addition, you choose the administrative contact for the domain. The administrative contact is the person who has authority in deciding where the domain points, on which nameservers it resides etc.
When applying online if you wish the domain to be registered to someone other than yourself at checkout you should select "Enter alternate Registrant information below" and complete the details of the registrant. Please note that domains cannot be owned as such, they are merely registered according to the practices of the relevant national or international authority.
You should beware of registration companies that do not register the domain in YOUR name. If you are not listed as the owner and administrative contact, you may have difficulty later if you need to transfer it to another party.
International (.com/.net/.org/.biz/.info/.co.uk) There are no restrictions on who can register a name in these generic top-level domains. The registrant may be a person or an organization in any country.
European (.eu) There are no restrictions on who can register a .eu name provided you are either an individual resident in an EU member state, or a company headquartered within the EU.
Ireland (.ie) There are several restrictions on who can register a .ie domain. The main overriding restriction is that the registrant must have a "real and substantive" connection with Ireland. In practice, this means that the person or organization must usually be able to prove residence in Ireland.
Further restrictions apply depending on who (or what) the registrant is. A brief guide to .ie registrations and policy is on the following page. IE Domains
Full details of the IE Domain Registry policy :IEDR Naming and Registration Policy Guide
All domain names must be less than 67 characters including the top-level domain, must consist only of alphanumerics but may contain hyphens as long as they don't occur at the start or end of the name. There is no difference between capital and lowercase letters.
There are no restrictions on these domains - if they're free, you can register them.
Most names of two or more characters can be registered provided they are not on the list of already reserved names (these domains will not appear as available on whois).
The only restrictions on the generic .uk domains is that the domain name must usually be three characters or more in length. Two character names are permitted as long as one of the characters is a digit.
The minimum length of the name is two characters. Two character names are only permitted as long as one of the characters is a digit. There are also important restrictions on the content of the name. Generally the name must be obviously derived the full legal company name (you can omit plc, ltd etc.), or business name. Abbreviations are sometimes allowed with proof of use. Trademarks must be exactly the same as that registered. Your personal name itself can be registered easily (you will have to supply a utility bill or similar).
Brief guide to .ie registrations: .IE Domains Registration
For full details on naming a .ie domain, please read the following documents...
When you register and park your domain with us, we pay any applicable top-level registry fees to the relevant authority. Because of the number of registrations handled by Irish Domains, we get significant discounts on the registration fees, which we pass on to our clients.
Holding a registered trademark does not prevent somebody else registering a domain of the same name, but it will help greatly if a conflict ever arises. A .com/.biz/.info/.co.uk domain may be registered by anybody anywhere in the world irrespective of trademark rights. Even if it is registered in a country where your trademark applies, you may have to resort to a dispute resolution process or an expensive legal proceeding to recover it. Trademarks are also registered under a variety of headings and in different jurisdictions, so multiple persons or companies may have legitimate rights to register the same name.
*This is just our take on the subject. Consult a qualified trademark/patent agent for the full story.
This almost certainly means that someone has got there first. You could try to register the name in a different top-level domain, or try a slight variation on the name. If you really want the name, you could also negotiate directly with the holder and perhaps buy it off them.
If you believe that you have special rights to the name, you could also try legal action to try and recover it, however this is an expensive and risky undertaking. Unfortunately, Irish Domains Ltd cannot help you in any of these situations, other than helping to find a suitable alternative.
The cost of registering a domain depends on the top level domain you require - for example a .com domain costs less than a .ie domain. To avail of multi year discounts you can register your name for longer periods. To check the pricing please use the domain search facility on the home page - this will then display the prices for various top level domains for different periods.
Included in the cost of the domain registration is access to an online control panel where you can manage all aspects of your account and domain name. You will be able to perform name server changes, manage your dns settings, update contact information, setup auto renew facilities and view service expiry dates.Domain Registration Prices
When you register a domain name, you must specify two name servers. These are computers connected to the internet which at any time know where your domain is located. If you are setting up a web site, then the name servers usually belong to your service provider. However if you just want to reserve your name, you must still arrange for your domain to be hosted on name servers somewhere, often pointing to a "Reserved" page. This is known as domain parking, and is a valuable free service offered by Irish Domains Ltd.
If you simply want to point your domain at another hosting company, all you need to do is update the name servers for your domain to your new hosting company. We will continue to bill you for your domain registration fee when it becomes due for renewal, your new hosting company will bill you seperately for their services.
If you want to completely move the domain to a new registrar/provider, the exact procedure will depend on what type of domain is being registered. For .ie domains, you just need to contact your new hosting provider and they can usually arrange everything. For .co.uk domains, the procedure is similar but Nominet require us to explicitly release the domain - we will do this promptly upon receipt of a letter of authorisation from the domain owner. For .com, .net, .org, .biz and .info domains, you will need to select a new registrar and follow their particular procedure for domain transfer - we will need a letter of authorization to unlock the domain and release the transfer code. Please note that it is not possible for us to refund the unused portion of a domain registration.
Due to the way domain changes propagate around the internet, it may take several days for all intermediate nameservers to update. During this time, people accessing your site may see either the new or the old site, so we recommend that if possible, you temporarily run both sites in parallel during the transition.
We will be happy to provide any additional services if at all possible. We can provide quite a range of domain registration, web hosting services and eCommerce ourselves, please refer to our services and pricing page. If you require a service which we cannot provide, then we will be glad to point you in the direction of somebody who can and let you talk to them directly, just email us at with your questions.
The following links contain further information on domain registration...