Domain Names

Registering a Business Name

As already mentioned, before you register a .au domain name you first need to register a business name if you do not already have one.

Originally you needed to closely align your Business name to your domain name. For example if you were registering turnipplace.com.au your business name would be "TURNIP PLACE". With the relaxed auDA guidelines you can now register multiple domain names against your Business or Company name.

Do your homework before applying for a business name, log onto the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) National Name Database: http://www.search.asic.gov.au/gns001.html. This will give you an idea of whether the name you are after is available or a similar name already exists. The Fair Trading Office (FTO) in your state reserves the right not to issue a Business Name if the name is considered too similar to a pre-existing name, misleading, offensive or undesirable.

Domain names are unique names that are issued to any entity that meets the requirements. Trademarks are not unique, as they can fall into 42 different entities (categories). Thus trademarks registered in Australia do not necessarily have the right to prevent another entity from using a domain name. For more information on trademarks take the time to search IP Australia at http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/search/search.html

It is a great idea to ring your nearest FTO as they may be able to run a name check before you send in your completed application form.

All Australian states and territories now have the application forms online and all the help you need to get started.


Trade marking Fees

NSW $129 for three years Download form
ACT $120 for three years Download form
VIC $71.60 for three years Download form
QLD $107.70 for 1 year, $207.00 for 3 years Download form
SA $124 for three years Download form
WA $103 for three years Download form
TAS $114 for three years Download form
NT $114 for three years Download form


To speed up the application process, ensure you have the form completed including all the necessary signatures, and be the first one on the doorstep when your nearest FTO opens. This will ensure you are in and out in about 30 minutes. Most departments are extremely busy and it is not unheard of to wait up to 2 hours at busier times of the day.

If you do not have the time to lodge the application yourself expect an agent to charge about $300 for this service.

Once you have the certificate in your hands you can log back onto an online registry of your choice and register your domain name.

Registering your Domain Name:

To register your domain name online you will need to have your Registered Business Number (RBN), an active email account, and adhere to the given policies of each sub domain. Most registrars only allow payment by credit card. If you wish to pay by Cheque or money order you should check that this is an option before proceeding.

A step-by-step guide to .au domain registration

  • Choose your preferred Domain Name Register or authorised reseller who has the authority to approve and process domain name requests, delegation and payments.
  • Follow the online application and payment requests. On completion you will be sent a confirmation electronically. Take the time to read and print out the terms and conditions before proceeding with the Domain request.
  • This domain name will be listed as 'pending' in the WHOIS database until approved. If an application is declined (or a domain name removed), the pending entry is removed from the auDA registry and the domain name is immediately available.
  • If the registry rejects the name you will be notified electronically as to why the application was unsuccessful. If the domain name is approved you will be issued with a receipt.
  • When payment is verified you will be able to make your domain name active on the Internet, by delegating the domain name to the DNS (Domain Name Service).

Delegating your domain name

When you are ready for your website to go live you will need to delegate your domain name so that it becomes visible to the Domain Name Service (DNS). A registered Domain name is put on reserve but is not automatically visible on the Internet

The DNS servers must be modified to account for the domain being delegated before you update the domains' record to point to those DNS servers. Typically your ISP or web-hosting organisation will advise you of the names of the relevant DNS servers and their IPs, or undertake this step for you.

If your organisation's server is in-house and you are not going through a Web Hosting company, you will need to know the following before you begin to delegate:

  • email address of person delegating
  • complete domain name (registered and paid for)
  • primary server hostname
  • primary server IP address
  • secondary server hostname
  • secondary server IP address
An organisation or an agent (Web Hosting service) will need to setup two or more name servers. Those servers should have a similar configuration, so that they return the same information when queried. It is common to make one server a 'master', from which the other servers obtain their information. If you have multiple name servers, users will still be able to access your website or send you email if one of the name servers goes offline.

Once you have done this, you will need to delegate your domain from the parent domain. If some of the information is incorrect, there are errors in the server configurations, or some of the name servers are down, it is possible for the delegation request to fail.

I want to register a .com domain

If you want to own a .com domain this couldn't be easier, the only hitch is the lack of available names. You DON'T need to operate a Business, have an active IP address, or be residing in the United States.

You can purchase a .com or top-level domains from around the world either through an accredited Australian registrar online or visit any of the addresses listed on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredited registrars: http://www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html

Charges will vary depending on the online registry you go through, but you can expect to pay from as little as $US7.99 a year to register a .com extension.

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