Domain Name & Hosting FAQ

Getting started online? Whether you're starting an eCommerce store, an informative website or your own blog it's important you register your domain name with a trusted provider. Let us help you with a comprehensive explanation.

Why choose an Australian domain registration and hosting company over an overseas brand? Your domain name is your online business identity, you need to be able to trust and reach the business within your own time zone, whenever you need them. When it comes to deciding on a domain and hosting provider between a local or international company, you also need to keep in mind a few factors, such as support levels, speed of information, update cycles and search engine optimisation.

Your domain name is a key part of your online address, and is what your visitors will use to find you easily. For example, Webcentral’s domain name is Your domain name is unique to you; once you have registered it, nobody else can register the same one for as long as you continue to renew it.

Everything on the internet is located at a unique address which can be identified by a name or a number. Your computer finds different pages by looking them up using their unique numbers, but because these numbers would be hard to remember, the Domain Name System or DNS assigns a unique domain name to these numbers which we can use instead.

Domain names aren't actually bought and sold. In reality, they are only registered for exclusive use for a set period of time, usually one or two years. Unless the registration is renewed before this period has expired, after this time anyone else may be able to register the same domain and claim ownership for a further period. To manage all these registrations, administer domains effectively, and provide a service to domain name owners, private companies are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the .au Domain Administration (auDA) to serve as domain name registrars.

Domain registrars can process your domain name registration on your behalf and will pass the costs of this process onto you, including additional fees for providing this service. They provide a domain search service, allowing you to search for domains and check their availability. Many also provide additional services which they include within the same registration fee like customer service, support, and administration tools.

ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. All top level domains (.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .name, etc) and many second level domains (, for example) are administered by ICANN, who draw up contracts with each registry and run an accreditation system for registrars. Webcentral is an ICANN-accredited registrar.

The .au Australian domain name (,, etc) registry is called Afilias, and is administered by auDA, the .au Domain Administration.

A domain name is often confused with a URL, but they are different things.

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and refers to the entire address used to visit a website, including all those colons and slashes. This address includes the domain name.

The URL for the Webcentral website would be ''. This contains the 'hypertext transfer protocol secure' (https), telling the browser that you are using a domain name instead of an IP Address and the secure part lets visitors know that their information is safe. This is then followed by the domain name itself ( or — both are valid). This points to the server where the website is hosted and the particular files on that server to be accessed.

Email relies on a domain name and hosting to work. Once you have a domain name, it is short work to create your own email address of The best explanation highlights the many advantages for branding and professional communications domain names can have. Many people register domain names purely to have their own email address instead of relying on Hotmail, Gmail or any other generic service.

Dot Com (.com) was the first domain type to be introduced and is considered a top level domain or TLD. Top level domains include any that contain only one suffix — for example .net, .info, .biz and so on.

Second level domains or 2LDs are domain names containing another level after the .com or .co suffix. For example, is a second level domain style as it contains an additional suffix after the .com that shows the website originates in Australia.

A country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) is a second-level domain intended for use by individuals, organisations or companies registered and/or residing in a particular country, sovereign state or dependent territory.

Each country has its own country code. In the United Kingdom the country code is .uk, while the New Zealand code is .nz. The ccTLD for Australia is .au.

All domain names are registered and categorised into groups that are generally defined by their extensions, commonly known as generic Top Level Domains (gTLD). gTLD categories such as .com, .net, and .org, domains are often used to represent a commercial enterprise, network, or organisation.

This does not always have to be the case. Any registrant may apply for a gTLD domain even if they have no close or substantial connection to the person, business or organisation that it is intended to represent.

There are many other gTLD types such as .biz, .name or .pro, although these are restricted. Such domain registrations require proof of eligibility according to established guidelines. Further restrictions apply to domains sponsored by government agencies or organisations; such as educational (.edu), government (.gov), military (.mil), and international (.int) institutes.

Owning a gTLD domain is simply a matter of registering any available domain name, which may then be connected to any email or web hosting server with a few simple steps.

Domain registrations and renewal pricing may also differ depending on the TLD type.

There are two parts to explain this situation. Domain names are generally registered on a first-come-first-served basis; however, disputes can arise between parties when one has a trademark on the name or can show abusive registration of the name. In these instances, the registrar must follow the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which means they will not cancel, suspend or transfer the domain name until such time as an agreement, court action or arbitration has been reached.

Domain names that are no longer in use with registration that has been allowed to lapse are considered expired. This period extends for 30 days, during which you can renew your registration if you wish. If you have not renewed within these 30 days, there is a further 30-day period known as the redemption period during which you can recover the domain for a fee. Five to seven days after the redemption period has ended, the domain name will be released as available for anyone else to register.

The .au domain extension is a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) which is restricted to use by individuals, organisations, or companies registered and/or residing in Australia. and domains may only be registered by Australian sole traders, businesses, or companies who can supply an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), State Business Number, Trademark Number, or Incorporated Association Number to prove their eligibility. domains may only be registered by Australian non-profit organisations and registered charities. domains may only be registered by non-profit Australian associations, clubs, sporting groups, political parties, and close equivalents. domains may only be registered by Australian individual citizens or residents. The domain name must be clearly based on the registrant’s name or nickname and photo ID is required.

In all cases, the .au domain must have a close and substantial connection to the person or business intending to use it.

Generally there are no restrictions on who can register .com domains — any person or organisation can own a .com domain and use it for any legal purpose. The period of registration can vary between 1 and 10 years.

Generally there are no restrictions on who can register .net domains — any person or organisation can own a .net domain and use it for any legal purpose, however the original intention of .net domains was for use by organisations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers, only. The period of registration can vary between 1 and 10 years.

Generally there are no restrictions on who can register .uk domains — any person or organisation can own a .uk domain and use it for any legal purpose. The period of registration can vary between 1 and 10 years.

Generally there are no restrictions on who can register .org domains — any person or organisation can own a .org domain and use it for any legal purpose, however the original intention of .org domains was for use by non-profit and non-commercial organisations only. The period of registration can vary between 1 and 10 years.

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° Price varies depending on period and domain name.

  † Applies to new and 1 year domain registrations only, not renewals, transfers or backorders. Price not applicable to premium domain names. View full terms. Offer based on our RRP.

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