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FAQ - (Frequently Asked Questions)

1- FAQs About Domain names and DNS:

What is a domain name?

A domain name represents your organization on the Internet. It is your unique Internet address that will be used by others to reach your web site or to send you email messages. (Note that www in front of is not a part of the domain name)

What is an IP address?

The Internet uses Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to locate a host(computer). An IP address consists of four numbers ranging from 0 to 255, separated by periods. Each machine on the Internet must have a unique IP address. Here is an example if an IP address:

What is the link between IP addresses and Domain names?

Though IP addresses provide a compact and convenient way to identify computers, users prefer to assign machines pronounceable, easily remembered names. A domain name can also create an expectation about who is at that location because it is often a shorthand naming term, or even a trademark or descriptive term with secondary meaning. Further more, the use of domain names has the advantage of shielding network changes from users. Names are often given to machines according to the services that they offer. For example, www normally denotes the name of the web server on the network. Users remember such names rather than specific IP address. In the event that the web server is shifted from one machine to another, only the IP addresses change but not the name. Hence, users can still access the web server using the same name and the change in machines is transparent to the users.

What is DNS?

The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) is a set of distributed databases containing IP addresses and their corresponding domain names. Each domain name is mapped to a particular numeric address. DNS, with servers located all over the Internet, performs the translation back and forth between names and numbers. This scheme enables users to invoke an easy-to-remember name (e.g. instead of a more mysterious string of numbers (e.g. when using the Internet. What is a name server?

Let's pretend that a domain name is a book in a library. How do you find out which shelf to go to so that you can get the book you want? You ask the librarian. Name servers are like librarians; they hold and seek out information about where to locate a particular domain name in the biggest of all libraries, the Internet. Computers only recognize and find each other via a set of numbers called IP addresses (e.g. For a computer to find a web site on the Internet, a domain name such as needs to be translated into a numerical IP address and vice versa. The computers that perform these translations are called name servers. Hence for a domain name to function and point to your web site, it first needs to be configured so that it points to a name server. The name server will then have information about where the files for the web site are stored and will "guide" your web browser to the location of your home page. Name servers are sometimes also referred to as host machines and Domain Name Servers (DNS).

What is a primary and secondary name server?

A. Imagine if you wanted to find a book in a library - you ask a librarian for assistance but he can't help you because he is too busy helping someone else. You would then go to another librarian and ask him for assistance because he is not so busy. You could consider the first librarian as a primary name server and the second librarian as a secondary name server. Domain names would still work with only one name server but the requirement to have at least 2 name servers has become a protocol (accepted standard) across the internet. This is a back-up system so that if the primary name server is too busy or for some reason is unable to answer queries about a particular domain name, the secondary name server will be able to answer the queries instead. The information stored about a domain name on the primary and secondary name servers is exactly the same. The primary name server acts as a master and the secondary name server periodically updates information from it. What does this mean "primary and secondary name servers should be always responsive and active"? And why? These name servers are the servers hosting your domain name. They need to be always responsive, i.e., always responding to DNS queries and lookups, and always active, i.e., 24-hours connected to the Internet. They need to be always hosting the domain. Without these servers always hosting, always up and running , users online can not get to your domain name. Your web-site cannot be accessed and mail addresses under your domain cannot be reached. Therefore, it is extremely important that these two name servers are always active and responsive for your domain name.

Is there a way that I can check if my DNS servers are responsive to my domain name?

Yes, you can use any DNS-lookup tools. If you are using UNIX , you can check your DNS servers through the use of nslookup. To know how to use this tool, you can contact the manual pages for nslookup. Similar tools are also available for Windows (95/98/NT) platforms. Also we have made a tool to check if your domain name is hosted in your name servers. Check this link.

What's the difference between a domain name and an URL?

A domain name is the textual address of the location of a set of machines whereas the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) refers to the location of a particular document on the Internet. Since this document resides on a machine, the domain name often appears as part of the URL. The term, is a host name, i.e. the name of a machine that resides within the domain. It is common practice to have web servers running on hosts with names as www (for world wide web). Before anyone can access, there must be a record that one can look up which maps to the specific IP address. This is done on your primary and secondary name servers (provided by your own machines or by your service providers). In fact, your name server will have a SOA (start of authority) record for your domain,, together with mappings of host names under, to their IP addresses.

How does '.sa' ccTLD differ from '.com' gTLD?

The '.sa' is the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) designated for domain names in Saudi Arabia. While '.com' is the generic Top Level Domain (gTLDs) designating commercial entities world-wide. The policies and administration of the '.sa' domain name are set and managed by SaudiNIC in KACST. And the gTLDs are managed by ICANN.

What are the differences between domain name hosting and web hosting and which one of them comes first?

A domain name hosting is to setup two active name servers on the Internet that store all the information about the domain name and replay for any query about it. While a web hosting is a service that comes after domain name hosting which hosts the web pages related to that domain name.

Why should I register a domain name?

A domain name will uniquely and easily identify your organization on the global Internet. By having it, you will have your own E-mail or Web addresses that are similar to/contain your company name.

2- FAQs About Domain names with SaudiNIC.

What type of domain name should I apply for?

This depends on the nature of your organization (see Domains under .SA). How do I choose a domain name for my organization?

It is most probable that users online will try out names that are similar to your organization name (e.g., transliteration, English translation, or abbreviation).

Are domain names case sensitive?

No they are not.

What is a suitable domain name? And how long can my domain name be? what characters can I use?

A typical .sa domain name consists of three parts separated by "." and looks like: The portion can contain any combination of letters (a -z) and numbers (0-9) as well as hyphen (-) between 2 and 60 characters long. The portion describes the nature of your organization (see the SA domain hierarchy) while the last portion is .sa. Please note that A domain name is not case sensitive. So the valid characters for use in any domain name are:
  • Any of the letters a to z (e.g.
  • Any numbers 0 to 9 (
  • You may also use a hyphen '-'(e.g.
  • The domain can be a combination of numbers, letters and hyphens (e.g.
  • The domain can begin and end with a number (e.g.
  • The domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen.
Can I use Arabic characters to register a domain name?

Unfortunately, this is not available yet. Because the domain name system currently in use is based on Latin character set.
There are a number of worldwide projects ( to internationalize the DNS system. SaudiNIC is participating in the development of supporting Arabic domain names.

Do I need to register my domain name under '.com' after I register it under '' and vise versa?

The ccTLD sub-domain ? is for the commercial entities in Saudi Arabia while '.com' gTLD is open for commercial and non-commercial entities world-wide. We recommend for Saudi entities to register their domain names under '' as well as under '.com'.

Can I check if a domain name is available?

Yes, you can check if the name you want is available or not by conducting a domain name search at SaudiNIC database:

Are there any companies that provide domain name hosting?

Yes, there are many companies, mostly ISPs, available whether locally in the Kingdom or outside that offer domain name hosting services.

Do I need to have a web site (ready or hosted) to register a domain name?

No, you only need to have your domain name hosted, provide SaudiNIC with the two name servers hosting your domain name, and have your domain registered. All this does not require having your web-site ready.

3- FAQs About Domain Polices, Registration and Procedure.

I would like to register a domain name but I do not have legal documents supporting my request. Can I still register it?

Yes! Provided that you do not violate other party rights. I would be responsible if this name infringe in someone else's rights.

How long dose it take to register my new domain name with SaudiNIC?

On Average, it takes from 1 to 4 working days if your request is complete and hosted correctly.

Can I register a domain name directly under ".sa"(e.g. "")?

Unfortunately you can?t register a domain name directly under '.sa' ccTLD. The '.sa' domain hierarchy is divided into sub-domains based on general category of organizations (,,,,,,, And you can only register domain names under these sub-domains.

Can I sell a registered domain name?

No, domain names registered with SaudiNIC are not for sale nor rent.

Who will be given a domain name if there are two requests for the same domain name?

SaudiNIC follows first come first severed approach.

Why SaudiNIC needs the domain name to be hosted before registering it?

SaudiNIC performs domain registrations and not reservations and that follows the recommendation of RFC 1591.

We are a non-Saudi entity can we register a domain name under .sa TLD?

One of the following should be true for an Applicant requesting domain name registration under SA domain:
  1. physically in KSA,
  2. belong to an entity registered in KSA,
  3. belongs to an entity that provides goods or services physically in KSA,
  4. owns a Saudi trademark.
How can one become a Registrar for SaudiNIC?

Currently there are no registrars with SaudiNIC and SaudiNIC haven?t open the Registrars system. You can send Domain requests directly to SaudiNIC.

I want to change my Internet Provider, what should I do?

All what you need is to fill our online form as "modify" request and send to us a letter requesting this modification.

Who should be the administrative contact?

The administrative contact should be the person responsible for the domain name license in all-significant issues. The administrative contact is typically a senior person within the organization.

If I register a Domain name when it will expire? Does it require any renewal procedure and when?

Since there is no fees for registering any domain under ?.sa?. This means that your registration will not expire until there are registration fees. And we will announce to all registrars when we have applied the registration fee. And currently there are no renewal procedure needed.

What do I need in order to apply for a Domain Name in Saudi Arabia ?

To register your organization domain name, you will need to submit the following:
A letter requesting the domain name. It must be on an official letterhead.
Legal documents. For-profit entities requesting names under the "", "", or "" domains should submit a copy of their legal documents (e.g., commercial registration, license, trade mark registration, ...). For all others, a copy of any official documents showing the relationship between the proposed domain name and the name of the organization is required.
An Application form. You can use one of the following links:
Two valid DNS name servers that maps IP addresses to their corresponding domain names. Such domain name servers may be arranged through third party providers.
Technical Note:
Registering a domain name requires that you must have arranged at least two operational domain name servers serving this domain. One of them is a primary name server and the others are secondary name servers. They must be continuously connected to the Internet but need not be dedicated, i.e., they can run on servers performing other services such as email or web.
If you do not have your own dedicated server, a local ISPs can provide name services to you.

My company is the sole agent for X-product in Saudi Arabia, can I register that product/mark under ''? How?

Yes, you need to provide a valid Trade Mark certificate. If your company does not have a TM certificate on that product, then a letter from the foreign company (the original manufacturer or holder of X-product rights) is needed to approve your request.

My organization registered a domain name through an ISP, who owns that domain, our organization or the ISP?

Domain names are owned by the requesting organizations and not the agents (e.g., ISPs).

Can I register my personal name?

Yes under ''.

2CO is an authorized retailer for GeoNIC.NET
.COM .NET   
Registration for holders of Ukrainian Trade Marks


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