ZA NiC
free domain names
From 31 October 2012 ZA NiC will no longer be accepting new registrations for za.net or za.org domains. Please see our 14 April 2012 Announcement for more information.
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  1. Who runs ZA NiC?
  2. What's the catch? Why is it free?
  3. I want to have my customers use this, what guarantees do I have?
  4. How long has ZA NiC been around and how big are you?
  5. My domain has been registered. What do I do next?
  6. Why can't I do a zone transfer of za.org/za.net?
  7. Why is 'warehousing' ZA NiC domains a bad idea?
  8. I submitted my registration X days ago, how long does it take to be completed?
  9. How do I delete my domain or modify my contact details or nameserver records?
  10. What if the old email address I used is not available anymore?
  11. I don't like it that my home address is displayed in a whois query. Can I change it?
  12. Are there any statistics about ZA NiC and .za.net and .za.org domains available?
  13. This domain name looks like it is not used any more. Can I have it?
  14. Why do I keep getting "The template you are using is not the current version"?
  15. Why don't you accept registrations from gmail.com or yahoo.com email addresses?


  1. Who runs ZA NiC?

    The ZA NiC service is currently run and funded by volunteers who are mostly the people at PLiG.



  2. What's the catch? Why is it free?

    There is no catch. In the past many discussions and heated debates have surrounded the matter of Domain Names on the Internet. While the people who control the DNS resources at various levels battle about trivialities - there doesn't seem to be a free Domain Name Service anywhere in our immediate future. To provide a solution, organisations like EU.org and now ZA NiC are dedicated to providing a smooth running, easy and above all free DNS service.



  3. I want to have my customers use this, what guarantees do I have?

    This is a free service, and as such we are not in a position to give any written service level guarantees. The ZA NiC project is backed by a few well known organisations (as the list of nameservers for za.net and za.org proves) and we have no intention of stopping or discontinuing the service at any time.



  4. How long has ZA NiC been around and how big are you?

    We started publicly registering domains under za.org and za.nic in August 1998. At the end of October 2012 we had over 40,000 subdomains active under our two main domains.



  5. My domain has been registered. What do I do next?

    ZA NiC is merely a domain registration authority. You can register a domain with us, but that's it. ZA NiC cannot provide you with webspace.

    The normal sequence of events would be (much simplified):

    • Set up at least two nameservers for your domain. If you're unable to do this, have somebody else (like your ISP or the above-mentioned Granite Canyon people) do it for you
    • Register your domain with ZA NiC
    • Set up your web/mail/etc server(s). If you're unable to do this, have somebody (like your ISP) host them for you
    How your domain is administered on your two nameservers, and what you do with it, is completely up to you.

    Some technical information on DNS




  6. Why can't I do a zone transfer of za.org/za.net?

    We don't allow zone transfers of the za.net or za.org domains as this puts unnecessary load on our nameservers. If you have a valid reason to need a copy of the zone files, please get in touch.



  7. Why is 'warehousing' ZA NiC domains a bad idea?

    We have been experiencing problems with individuals and organisations who 'warehouse' domain names. (Warehousing is the term used for registering domains without the intention of using them. Usually for the purposes of selling them on later or for stopping someone else from using them.)

    We do NOT condone this behaviour and will not support it in any way. Warehousing is pointless under ZA NiC since our Policy statement expressly prohibits reselling of 3rd level ZA NiC domain names. If you are found to warehouse names without using them and are not willing to release the name to someone with a valid claim to the use of the domain name, ZA NiC reserves the right to delegate the domain to the party who will use it.

    Please refer to our Policy Document for more information.



  8. I submitted my registration X days ago, how long does it take to be completed?

    ZA NiC registrations are handled by a small group of administrators. The process is only semi-automated, and every request involves manual intervention. Depending on the number of outstanding requests and availability of the administrators, your request could take between 3 days and 3 weeks to be completed. Upon completion, you will receive an email response stating whether your request has been accepted or rejected.

    To see where your request lies in the administrative queue, go to the status page



  9. How do I delete my domain or modify my contact details or nameserver records?

    All modification or deletion requests for domain names registered through ZA NiC need to be emailed from a valid contact email address for the domain. If you are unsure of what email address is a valid contact for the domain, do a whois lookup

    Get the template from http://www.za.net/template.txt or ftp://ftp.plig.org/pub/templates/domain-template.txt, complete it and mail it to auto-dbm@za.net. Ensure that the email address you are sending the email from is the one you have listed in the contact details for the domain. Make sure that you fill in either "DELETE" or "MODIFY" in item 1b, as appropriate.

    For security reasons you will receive an email response with instructions on how to validate your request. Please follow these instructions within 3 days. Requests that are not validated within 3 days will be rejected.

    If you cannot send the modification template from one of those email addresses, please see What if the email address I used is not available anymore?

    Instructions for completing the form can be found here
    (The form and your nameserver configuration will be checked for errors and you will be presented with the results via email)



  10. What if the email address I used is not available anymore?

    This is the only alternative procedure if you cannot use the registered email address to request changes.

    If you cannot send your modify or delete templates from an email address that is currently listed as valid contact address for your domain, we will need advance confirmation from you stating that you will be sending in a request template to get the information changed.

    The details you send us must include:
    1. the original email address the domain was registered under
    2. the reason why you cannot use the email address listed above to submit the change
    3. the new email address you will be submitting the change from
    4. confirmation that you are the current registered owner of the domain
    5. full contact details for yourself
    6. a copy of some form of identification (scan of photocopy of ID book, passport or similar document)
    7. your signature to verify that all the above is true and accurate

    If you are acting on behalf of a company, this information should be on the company letterhead.

    This information can be submitted to us by email (accompanied by scanned and signed documentation) to info@nic.za.net

    After sending us this information, obtain the template from http://www.za.net/template.txt or ftp://ftp.plig.org/pub/templates/domain-template.txt, and complete it. Fill in MANUAL-MODIFY in item 1b.

    The completed form should be mailed to auto-dbm@za.net.



  11. I don't like it that my home address is displayed in a whois query. Can I change it?

    Yes, as long as you display a valid contact address you can change the details. See How do I delete my domain or modify my contact details or nameserver records? for information on how to change your contact details.



  12. Are there any statistics about ZA NiC and .za.net and .za.org domains available?

    Yes, it's on the front page



  13. This domain name looks like it is not used any more. Can I have it?

    ZA NiC do not delete or re-delegate domain names for inactivity. Even though it may appear that the domain is not used, this can be misleading - users may use domains for email purposes only (no websites), may be in the process of moving domains to new providers or could just temporarily be without hosting facilities for the domain.

    If you notice a domain name that looks unused and you are interested in it, your best bet is to try and contact the previous owner as listed in the database (look at the whois information) and ask them to delete the domain so that you can re-register it. Failing that, consider using another domain name or looking under another 2nd level domain (za.net instead of za.org, for instance).



  14. Why do I keep getting "The template you are using is not the current version"?

    This is most likely because you are sending the template in the wrong format. Make sure you send the template in in plain text (not HTML or any other encoding) and in the body of the email (not as an attachment).

    Also make sure that the version of the template you are using is the same as the one at ftp://ftp.plig.org/pub/templates/domain-template.txt




  15. Why don't you accept registrations from gmail.com or yahoo.com email addresses?

    Recently there has been a huge influx of registrations from unverifiable gmail.com and yahoo.com email addresses from unscrupulous users mass-registering domain names purely for use as spam email sources. Very often these applications also contain other forged contact details. To combat this, we are refusing all registrations from these email sources until further notice. We may expand this list of addresses as required.

    Please make sure that the contact details you submit with your application are valid and verifiable.


©1998-2012 ZA NiC