FAQ topic: Domain registration

Here we list all FAQs related to “Domain registration”.

What is an Authcode?

An Authcode is a short unique code provided by the registry for each domain. It acts as a PIN number and is used to authorise transfers of the domain between registrars.

Do I need one?

Many registries use Authcodes to authorise transfers and changes to a domain ownership. Whether or not your domain requires an Authcode depends on which registry is responsible for the register relating to the domain. 

If you do need an Authcode, it will be provided to you by your existing registrar. In addition, you can find out if you need an Authcode by checking out the relevant TLD page for your domain, this will confirm whether an Authcode is required for that TLD.

What is a domain transfer?

A domain transfer is when you as a domain owner chooses to change the registrar you use to register the domain with the registry. There are many registrars available to register and hold the details of your domain registrations for you.

Each registry has different policies and procedures in place for how to complete a domain transfer, please review the specific notes relating to transfers in the relevant TLD pages. Transfer fees may apply as a result of transfering your domain to a new registrar.

How do I transfer my domain?

The process for transfering your domain to a different registrar varies by registry. These notes are generic and the actual process used may vary from these according to the type of domain, the registry and the registrars in question.

The transfer request is usually initiated by the losing registrar upon request by the domain owner. This usually involves the owner of the domain unlocking the domain (if applicable) and receiving the Authcode for the domain (if applicable). In some cases, the owner will have to provide the receiving registrar's IPS TAG for the domain (the receiving registrar will provide this to you).

The owner is responsible for passing the Authcode and the domain details to the receiving registrar. In most cases, the contact details must be provided as per the existing registration details.

The registry is informed about the requested transfer and in most cases contacts the registered owner or administrator of the domain to request a confirmation of the transfer. You will be provided a unique link to the registry's web site and asked to confirm your request there. 

Assuming you confirm the request (which must be completed within five days of initiating the process), the transfer will be completed within a few days.

Important notes

Before initiating a domain transfer, please ensure that your contact details are up to date for the owner, administrator and technical contact.

Some registries automatically add a period to the lifetime of the domain, so you may find your new expiry date is up to a year later than it was prior to the transfer. This is paid for out of the transfer fees applicable for the domain.

Domain owners must ensure that their account with the losing registrar is up-to-date. If the owner is in debt to their existing registrar the losing registrar has a right to refuse the transfer of the domain until their account has been settled in full.

The transfer process is time-limited. If you fail to complete the actions required of you to complete a transfer within the period provided, the transfer will fail and the transfer charges will be lost. Please make sure you unlock your domain before beginning the process as this usually causes the transfer to fail automatically.

Domain Registries require a minimum number of Domain Name Server records to be put in place for the registration and ongoing maintenance of a domain record. Each registry may require a different minimum number of records.

A DNS record is the address of the NameServer to which the registry directs traffic for a particular domain name. For instance, if you are registering example.co.uk as a domain name and wish to host your domain on redcentaur-hosting.co.uk's servers, you will need to have two DNS records as a minimum to register the domain and throughout its registration. The DNS records you will need are:

  • ns1.redcentaur-hosting.co.uk
  • ns2.redcentaur-hosting.co.uk

These need to be added to the domain name during registration and/or any time you change your hosting provider.

Each registry also has a maximum number of DNS records it will allow. In most cases, you will not need more than two DNS records.

Until very recently, there were only a small number of different Top-Level Domains (TLDs) available on the market because of technological difficulties which limited the number of letters that could be used. Over the last few years, as technology has improved, there has been a steady growth in the types and varieties of TLDs that are now available. And this is only likely to continue.

Currently, the main types of TLD available are: 

  • Generic TLDs (gTLDs): These are the generic TLDs that everyone is familiar with and have been around seemingly forever. Popular versions include: .com, .gov, .org, .net.
  • Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs): These have been around for as long as the generic versions and signify a relationship with a particular country or culture. Examples of these include: .co.uk, .eu, .us, .br, .pl, .cn, .ru, etc. Sometimes, there are  restrictions placed on registration of a ccTLD, requiring residency or a formal relationship with the country; however, some ccTLDs are recognised for their importance globally and are open for registration (e.g., .co (Colombia), .it (Italy)).
  • Geographical TLDs (geoTLDs): These are a recent development that have been introduced since the restriction of TLDs to two or three characters has been lifted with modern technology. The list of geoTLDs is constantly growing and current examples include .alsace, ..asia, .amsterdam. Often there are restrictions on application for a geoTLD, requiring specific and verifiable relationship with a specific geographical area.
  • ICANN gTLDs (nTLDs): This is a further recent development, enabling the use of far more descriptive generic TLDs.These are growing at an exponential rate with new additions being added all of the time. Current examples include, .aero, .accountant, .associates, .construction, .contractors, .yoga, .zone and many more. Some restrictions apply to the nTLDs that apply to specific professions.
  • Brand TLDs (bTLDs): These are a group of TLDs that are specifically linked to identifiable brands, such as .bmw, .youtube. and others. These are heavily restricted and not generally available to the public.

In addition, many of these TLDs have an international perspective as well, so for example, geoTLDs include a large and growing number of TLDs in other languages, as do the nTLDs.

A Synchronous Registry is a domain name registry that immediately enacts changes to its registry, whether additions (new registrations) or ownership/transfer changes.

An Asychronous Registry modifies the registry off-stream and updates changes periodically, perhaps twice per day.

With a Sychronous change, updates can take a few hours to be propagated across the internet and take effect, changes to an Asychronous registry will take longer to be propagated; it can take up to 72 hours for a change to propagate in extreme circumstances.

A TLD is a Top-Level Domain. The internet addressing system, called the Domain Name System, enables every page of every web site to be reached from anywhere in the world. This is achieved by creating an address for every domain on the internet. 

If you consider your home address, for example, the TLD is like the country used in your home address and enables the correct registry to be found quickly to identify where to send traffic looking for your web site.

A TLD is the last part of a fully-qualified domain address, such as .com, .eu, or .uk. These are all second-level TLDs, because they come immediately after the domain address (e.g., redcentaur.com is a domain name + second-level TLD). Some registries also support third-level TLDs, such as .co.uk, .me.uk, etc., which add the TLD a level lower than in the second-level TLDs.

Responsibility for management of most TLDs is delegated to specific organisations by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). This is what makes the internet work, ICANN sets the rules required for assigning names and numbers while the individual registries set the specific requirements for their particular TLDs. All domains using the internet are required to be registered so that they can be found from anywhere in the world and properly addressed according to the standards set by ICANN.

What is Internationalised Domain Naming (IDN)?

IDN is a system that enables registrants to register a domain name using a language other than English. This is important in some countries where there are differences in keyboard, character length and ability to type domain addresses in English, which has been the requirement until recently.

IDN allows a domain to be registered in a language other than English and to use the standard language characters and symbols available within that language to define the domain name. 

Why would I want to use IDN?

IDN is really useful if your target audience primarily speaks a language other than English. For example, if you wanted a web site for a German hotel called the "old green castle", until recently, it would have to be "altegrueneschloss.com". With IDN, you can now use the correct German, "altegrüneschloß.com", which is far more natural.

While this example does not show the great potential for IDN-related domain names, when you consider languages in asia which use glyphs and symbols unrelated to latinate letters, the usefulness of the system is apparent.

How do I use it?

Each registry currently provides IDN support for a varying number of languages. Some registries, of course, provide no support at all. If an IDN is important to your domain naming, review the IDN details for the domain you prefer before registering.

To register a new domain using IDN, you will need to expressly identify the related language during registration. Each registration must be specific to a particular language, because of the method of translation used.

Note, when an IDN-enabled domain name is viewed in a standard English browser, the address will not relate to the name of the domain. The name will be very different as registries use punycode to provide the translation of the domain name. Our example domain name would read as: xn--altesgrneschlo-egb07b.com in an English-speaking browser. For this reason, it may be appropriate to register a separate domain name suitable for other language users to find your domain.

Many registries allow registrants to enable Contact Privacy. Each registry has its own rules on who is able to enable privacy and under what circumstances; some registries do not allow privacy at all.

Contact Privacy allows an individual (and, in some cases, organisations) to optionally protect their personal contact information from WHOIS queries, which can help to protect individuals from spam, nuisance calls and junk mail.

WHOIS is a facility that every registry provides for anyone to look up the owner of a domain name. To look up a domain owner's details, go to the registry in question (e.g., nominet.org.uk for .uk domains) and use their WHOIS facility to get information relating to the owner of a specific domain.

There is a small fee for enabling Contact Privacy, which is payable annually. 

Domain Locking relates to a registry flag that can be set to prevent unauthorised transfers, changes and deletions of a domain and is intended to combat a number of domain-related scams that exploded in the early 2000s.

Domain Lock sets a flag on the registry, REGISTRAR-LOCK, to true. This flag prevents all:

  • domain name changes, including domain contact details;
  • transfers of the domain name to another registrar; and, 
  • deletion of a domain name.

The facility is free to use and most registries now implement the system (a few do not). You are strongly advised to implement the lock when it is available to prevent your domain being transferred, traded or deleted. When you want to make changes or move your domain to another registrar, you can unlock it and authorise the transfer.

When a domain expires, there is a set process at the registry for a registration to be deleted. This is done to protect owners who have failed to renew their domains on time for a number of reasons. Each registry has different policies and practices relating to expiry, so check the details on the relevant TLD page.

At expiry, the domain enters a Grace period, during which the domain can be renewed at normal rates. There is a separate answer relating to the Grace period.

Following the Grace period, the domain will be marked for deletion. Some registries provide an additional period of time called the Redemption Period, where an existing owner can redeem the domain from the deletion list. The process for doing this is more expensive than a standard renewal and requires considerably more work to undertake. The owner must pay the necessary fees and redeem the domain with exactly the same contact details and registrar as the current (expired) record.

With five days of the end of the Redemption period, the domain is deleted from the register. This means the domain has been put back on the open market and is available for registration by anyone.

Note, not all registries offer a Redemption period and the window for redemption is different for those registries that do offer it. The cost and time required to redeem an expired domain are considerable. Do not rely on the Redemption Period as an option for domains you want to renew.

When you register a domain name, you purchase the domain name for a limited period of time. At the expiry date, the domain is de-registered and returns to availability for another registrant to use.

However, as a domain owner, you have the right to renew an existing registered domain before its expiry and maintain your ownership of the domain name indefinitely, provided you continue to renew your registration, keep your records up to date and accurate, and pay your renewal fees on time.

Autorenewal is a facility that enables you to automatically renew your domain names before they expire (assuming you have paid your registration fees, etc.). Within a few days of the expiry date, the registry will extend your registration period. When this happens depends on the period for autorenew that the registry sets. You are also able to change your autorenew settings within a specified period of time before a domain is due to expire; this can be up to expiry (i.e., 0 days), or any period prior to that date. Check the details for your registry.

If you have autorenew set and your domain is renewed, you are responsible for all charges attributed to the renewal of your domain. Once a domain has been renewed, the renewal cannot be reversed and liability for all charges falls to the owner.

If you currently have autorenew set and you want your domain to expire, you can change your autorenew settings. As long as you turn off the autorenew facility before the change period ends, your domain will be left to expire once your registration period has ended.


Most domains offer a Grace Period when a domain expires. This is the period during which the current owner of the domain is able to renew the domain at the current renewal price. 

Each registry offers an individual Grace period for their domains. So, for example if you register a domain on 01 January 2000, the lifecycle of your domain might look like this:

  • Domain registered: 01 January 2000;
  • Domain expires: 01 January 2001;
  • Grace period: 31 January 2001 (assuming 30 days grace period);
  • Redemption period: 02 March 2001 (assuming 30 days redemption period);
  • Domain deletion: 07 March 2001.

It is important that any domains you want to renew are renewed before expiry of the domain registration. The Grace period should not be relied upon to renew expired domains and the new expiry date will be an anniversary of the previous expiry date.

The Redemption period is a period offered by some domains as a final opportunity for an owner to renew a domain. It requires a considerable amount of additional work and is far more expensive to expedite than a standard renewal, our fees are therefore higher for redemptions. Not all registries offer a Redemption period.

Once the Redemption period (if available) has ended, the domain will be posted for deletion within the next five days. At this point the domain will be available on the open market and may be registered on a first-come-first-served basis.