Choosing the right name to register on the net is a challenge for many Internet users who want to register a domain name. Registrants who do not understand how the domain name system works, end up registering names that are not intuitive, difficult to find, difficult to type, difficult to use and above all, difficult to manage. This guide has been written to assist you select and setup the right domain name in the Nigerian Name space.
With a better understanding of the basic issues involved, registrants can better plan, choose and register simpler names that are consistent and easier to find.
1. The Domain name is not the Website
Quite a lot of registrants mix up the domain name with the website. Think of the domain name as the location address, and the website as the building located at the address. Of course, sometimes, it is possible that the building becomes part of the address. However, they are not the same.
A website has the information you will want people to view. The domain name points people to this website. It is possible for very many domain names to point to the same website. For example, the website of Technology Times is www.techtimesnews.net. The domain name www.technologytimes.com.ng redirects you immediately to the website. Also, the domain www.sundayfolayan.name.ng maps to the website www.skannet.com/sfolayan. Different names, same website.
You can immediately secure your domain name, increase the chance of being found, create a better Internet presence without altering your website, by registering your .ng domain name, and simply redirecting the domain name to an existing website.
2. Register in the .ng Name Space
Registering your domain under the generic top-level domains such as .com, .biz, .net and .org does not in any way infer that your organization or business is global. These generic top level domains were actually created for entities in the United States, when the Internet was in its infancy. After the entire world embraced the internet, .us was introduced for use within the States, but it never appealed to those it was meant for. Making it .com or .net without the ng does not make the domain superior to .com.ng.
In the past, there were challenges to registering a name under the Nigerian country top level code, but steps have been taken to address these challenges, since the formation of the Nigerian Internet registration Association (NiRA). Registration is now quicker and easier. There are competing registrars who carry our the actual registration for the registrants (end users). You can select a registrar from /http://www.nira.org.ng/index.php/registrars. Different registrars have different rates and policies. For some, the domain registration is free, but you pay for the hosting. Some have a low initial registration rate, and a much higher renewal rate. Do your homework well.
When you register a domain using the country top level domain (in this case, .ng for Nigeria) you will give your domain name that National identity, that you organization is Nigerian, or does business in Nigeria, or better still – has a presence in Nigeria. Some countries have interesting domain names. For example, the Island of Tuvalu has the two letter code .tv. This should not be confused to mean the Television sub-domain. However, because of the convenience, very many Broadcast (Television) organizations register .tv domains.
Registering your domain name in the .ng name space also means that there will be reduced amount of guess work for surfers. For example, www.tribune.com.ng is the official website of the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers. This does not conflict with the website www.tribune.com which is a US based media company. It is much easier to locate the Sun newspapers at www.sun.com.ng than the present www.sunnewsonline.com If you have a legitimate claim to the name, better to register it in the Nigerian name space, before someone else does.
3. Register with levels in mind
Every domain name usable on the Internet should have levels. These are hierarchical classifications of the domains, based on convenience. The hierarchy is interpreted from right to left. Levels are separated by dots. The complete name, having all the levels is called the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN).
A typical domain name will have two or more levels. For example, the domain name lagosstatehouseofassembly.gov.ng has three levels. The domain houseontherock.org has two levels. There is no limit to the number of hierarchies or levels, but there is a limit to the total length of characters that can be in the domain name.
Using the lagosstatehouseofassembly.gov.ng as an example, the levels of the FQDN, reading from right to left are:
a) The Top level domain. In this case ng for Nigeria.
b) Secondary level domain. In this case, gov for Governmental entities. Registrations under the .ng top level domains must fall under one of popular eight pre-determined secondary level domains. Please see 4 below:
c) Tertiary level domain. In this case, lagosstatehouseofassembly. This is the part of the registration that is determined by the registrant. The Top level and secondary level domains are fixed and cannot be altered.
d) Quinary level domain. The registrant can create as many quinary levels, without recourse to the registry. In this case, there is no quinary level.
For example, instead of applying to register the domain unilaglaw.edu.ng you should apply to register the domain unilag.edu.ng then you can add the quinary level domain law, to get law.unilag.edu.ng. law now becomes the quinary level of the domain.
4. Register under the right sub-domain
It is important to register your domain name, under the appropriate secondary level. Each secondary level domain (SLD) further groups the domain names. The secondary levels of .ng are:
i. com – For Commercial entities and businesses
ii. org – For non-commercial organizations
iii. gov – For Governmental organizations
iv. edu – For Degree awarding institutions
v. sch – For non-Degree awarding institutions
vi. net – For ISP infrastructure.
vii. name – For Personal websites
viii. mil – For Military Institutions
Not for profit organizations such as foundations, religious organizations etc are better under the .org secondary level domain. It is inappropriate to register praisechurch.net.ng and argue that it is the official Internet website of the House of Praise, Nigeria. A better domain name is praisechurch.org.ng.
Commercial organizations, whether limited liability, public liability or business names are better registered under the .com SLD. While nothing prevents a commercial entity from registering under the .org SLD, it is better to minimize confusion by not doing this.
Local, State and Federal Government entities are better registered under the .gov SLD. There are also Secondary Level Domains for States, using two-letter acronyms. Lagos State is LA. Etc. The Lagos State ministry of Finance can register either as: finance.la.gov.ng or la.finance.gov.ng.
Regulatory authorities are best under the governmental secondary level, not the level that they regulate. For example, The Domain name of the Nigerian Univerisities Commission (NUC) should be nuc.gov.ng and not the existing nuc.edu.ng. The domain name of the Nigeria Communications Commission should be rightly ncc.gov.ng and not ncc.net.ng.
Non-degree awarding institutions are best registered as .sch. For example, Bamidele Primary School will register as bamidele.sch.ng and not bamidele.edu.ng. Universities, Polytechnics and colleges of Educations , whether Government owned ot privately owned are eligible to be registered under the .edu SLD.
You may also register directly under the Top Level Domain, by purchasing a premium domain. For example, samsu.ng, thisday.ng, mtn.ng, bi.ng and drinki.ng are valid premium domains under the .ng name space. These domains do not come cheap, and are not for those with shallow pockets.
5. Use already delegated and registered domains
Do not fit what can be a quinary level domain into the tertiary level domain name. Using the Lagos State example again, since the objective is to setup a website for the Lagos State House of Assembly, the registration will best have been done, by registering the tertiary level domain la.gov.ng and then creating a quinary level domain – house. The final FQDN will thus look like house.la.gov.ng. This is simpler, easier and consistent.
In terms of administration, the .ng registry will only have to deal with one entity – that is the entity registering the domain la.gov.ng. If the ministry of Environment in Lagos will then register a domain name, they will liaise with the registrant of the domain la.gov.ng and create a quinary level domain environment.la.gov.ng. It is easier to read, shorter and more apt, compared to registering lagosstateministryofenvironment.gov.ng.
To know who to liaise with, please consult the whois database of the .ng registry. It contains the email address and telephone number of the administrative contact of the domain.
6. Domain names should be intuitive
A domain name should be as intuitive as possible. Intuition does not mean absolute description. For example, punchontheweb.com is more descriptive, but not as intuitive as the domain name punch.com.ng. The domain sunonline.com.ng is better registered as sun.com.ng. Abbreviations help reduce the amount of guesswork and mistakes that may be made. nuc.gov.ng is more intuitive and less prone to mistakes, compared with the more descriptive universitiescommission.gov.ng.
Care must be taken in the use of abbreviations. For Example, the domain name nysc.gov.ng can easily be recognized as that of the National Youth Service Corps, but the domain nps.gov.ng is difficult to recognize as that of the Nigerian Prison Service or that of the Nigerian Postal Service. post.gov.ng is more suitable for the postal service, while prison.gov.ng is more suitable and intuitive for the prison service.
7. Avoid Names that can be mis-spelt
As easy as it seems, words such as tuberculosis and tripanosomiasis are very long and sometimes difficult to spell correctly. It is often better to use more acceptable abbreviations. For example, the domain tb.org.ng is sufficient, for the Association for the prevention of Tubercolosis in Nigeria.
As much as possible, be careful how you choose domain names, to minimize the chance that people will misspell the domain name. For example, instead of registering the domain name howzatfoundation.org.ng consider registering the simpler cricket.org.ng
Instead of registering peoplesdemocraticparty.com.ng consider registering the simpler pdp.com.ng. Of course, it is possible that pdp.com.ng is already registered, so that an alternative, such like democratic.org.ng is also acceptable.
Whereas hyphens are acceptable, do not use hyphenated names. The options are just too many, that they are better avoided. Instead of sphinx-interactive.com.ng, better to register sphinx.interactive.com.ng.
Use the singular, instead of the plural for a domain names. Register prison.gov.ng instead of prisons.gov.ng. register ministry.la.gov.ng, and then create commerce.ministry.la.gov.ng instead of commerce.ministries.la.gov.ng, or the more descriptive lagosstatecommerceministry.gov.ng. The punctuations simply makes it look better.
Drop any national prefix, since the .ng suffix already identifies that it is a Nigerian entity. Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) need not register the name npa.gov.ng but can do with the name port.gov.ng.
While personal preferences may differ, these hints and suggestions are meant to assist with getting your domain name registration to a great start. Remember that the objective is that you want to communicate over the Internet. Follow these simple guides, and you will end up with a very useful, easy-to-find domain name.