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A domain name registrar is a company which registers and manages domain names. When you need a domain name for your business, these are the companies you buy it from. When you buy a domain you do not technically own it and are actually buying a temporary exclusive license to use it. This license usually lasts 1 – 2 years. Toward the end of the license period you can renew your registration. For all intents and purposes, as long as you keep your registration up to date you will effectively ‘own’ the domain.

In Australia .au domain names like .com.au and .edu.au are placed on a registry managed by a company called AusRegistry. This registry contains every single .au domain. AusRegistry was handed the contract to build and manage the .au registry by a regulatory body named the .au Domain Administration or (auDA). The auDA is a body appointed by the Australian government to oversee the .au domain. Along with deciding who manages the registry, auDA hands out accreditation which allows domain name registrars to put names on the AusRegistry registry. You as an individual cannot buy a domain directly from AusRegistry unless you have the accreditation, meaning you must buy through a registrar.

If you follow the chain of organisations involved, you’ll see you are paying a fee to the Australian government, which is the ultimate owner of the .au domain. AusRegistry and your chosen domain name registrar put a markup on this fee to cover the cost of their operations and make some profit.

Every other top level domain is operated in a similar way to .au, with the only difference being the organisations and governments involved. The most popular top level domain is .com, the registry of which is administered by a U.S. Company called Verisign and overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The process of registering a domain undertaken by the registrar is detailed in this VentraIP article.

Registrar Companies in Australia

Here at Phoenix Web Development, we use VentraIP as a domain name registrar. VentraIP are Australian owned and operated and offer cheap domains – $12.48/year for each .com.au domain (at time of writing). Other options include:

External Resources

Find out more about domain name registrars at these resources:

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