A .ie domain name makes a statement about your business. It shows that your business is Irish, or that the Irish community matters to you and is an important part of your business plan. While a .com domain is useful for having a global presence, the local presence of a .ie domain name helps your business appear higher on Irish search engine results. There are fewer .ie domain names registered, so you have a better chance of getting the name you want. Most importantly, because .ie domains are manually verified, your customers can have the satisfaction and security of knowing they’re dealing with a legitimate business.
How to Register a .ie Domain
Registering a .ie domain name is simple and straightforward. There are 4 simple steps to follow:
Check that the name you want is available at iedr.ie.
Send your Registrar any supporting information they need.
Supporting information may be requested to verify the following:
Your connection to Ireland.
Your claim to the domain name
There is a very important distinction between the “domain holder” and the “applicant”. The domain holder will be the legal owner of the domain name. The applicant will be his representative. The applicant for a .ie domain name must be able to provide evidence of the proposed domain holder’s “connection to Ireland” and evidence of proposed domain holder’s valid “claim to the .ie domain name”. (If your friendly, local student, part-time website developer emigrates to Australia, you want to be sure that you, as business owner, still have control of your domain name and your website. It happens!).
Connection to Ireland – .ie is Ireland’s domain extension. It is Ireland’s online address and as such all .ie domain holders must be either based in Ireland or have a real connection to Ireland.
Evidence of this base or connection can be a company’s Irish* CRO number, Revenue VAT number, registered business number.
Evidence from a Sole trader could be an Irish VAT number in their own name, or proof of their business or income tax registration.
Evidence from an Irish trademark holder could be the trademark number or a digital copy of the trademark certificate.
Evidence from an individual could be a digital copy of the Irish driver’s license or Irish passport.
Claim to the name – All .ie applicants are also asked to show that the proposed domain holder has a valid reason for wanting a particular .ie domain name. This is known as the claim to the domain name.
If the domain name matches the company, business, or trademark name, then that is evidence of the domain holder’s claim and no additional information is required.
If the domain name doesn’t match, then variations on the name of the company, business, or trademark name can also be registered.
If the domain name is not clearly related to any of these, then the applicant may be asked to provide more evidence or information. Generally, the applicant only needs to provide a written explanation (a few short sentences) about the meaning of the domain name and why the domain holder needs to register it. This way, one can register domain names corresponding to brand names, trading names, products, or even promotional campaigns and events.
* Irish in this context refers to the 32 counties of Ireland, and therefore includes the Northern Ireland equivalent numbers.
** If the domain holder is based outside of the 32 counties, then when the applicant applies for a .ie domain, the applicant has to show that the domain holder trades with, or clearly intends to trade with, people or businesses in Ireland. One can use invoices, press releases, promotional material, or even a screenshot of the domain holder’s e-commerce store that shows a customer can select Ireland as their country for delivery.
How to choose your domain name
Choosing the “right” domain name for your business is an important decision. A good domain name should be memorable for your customers, and can act as a foundation upon which a powerful brand can be built. The following are some tips to keep in mind when registering any domain name:
Put your business first– Your domain name should be reflective of your business or what your goals are for the website. A domain name that matches your brand name is very important and will serve as the foundation for your online presence.
Keep it simple– The majority of .ie domains are between 10 and 12 characters in length. It is important that your domain name is easily remembered and can be easily shared, even by word of mouth. Try saying it out loud so that you can hear how it sounds, and make sure it is easily pronounceable.
Register it as soon as possible– .ie domains are registered on a first-come first-served basis. If you apply for a domain, you get 27 days to verify your identity, claim, and connection to Ireland, during which time no-one else can apply for the same name. Don’t delay with registering your domain name, as it could be snapped up by a competitor. You can check if your chosen domain name is available in the search box at iedr.ie.
Seek advice– Sometimes it can help to run your preferred domain name choices past colleagues and friends, as they can provide alternative suggestions, tweaks, or improvements that you may not have considered. Two heads can be better than one.
Characterisation– It is important to remember that spaces and symbols are not allowed to be used in domain names. Also, your domain name will always appear in lower case in all browsers. Hyphens are permitted but can sometimes be forgotten by people trying to visit the website – so avoid them where possible.
Commit– Once you’ve chosen the right name, you’re going to want to keep it. .ie domains can be registered for up to 10 years at a time, ensuring that you’ll retain possession of your new name well into the future.
Register similar names– Domain names are relatively cheap to purchase so when you have chosen your domain name it is recommended to consider registering some similar names or variations on your theme. This can prevent others from taking advantage of your success. Registering some hyphenated or pluralised versions of your name, for example, can ensure no-one else gets a domain that’s too similar to yours.
Choosing a Registrar
Accredited .ie Registrars are companies, organisations, or individuals who have proven knowledge and expertise in managing .ie domains on your behalf. They can help you with registering the domain and will assist you in renewing your domain name every year. They also provide additional services to help you manage your website, including:
SEO tools and advice
Virtual private servers
When choosing a Registrar you should find one who can provide all the services you need at a price you can afford. What is suitable for one business may not work for another.
In general, you should try to make sure that you avoid being locked-in to a service for any unreasonable time. Also, that you have the flexibility to make changes to your package or service without undue financial implications. It is important to assess the support that is offered. Is it a manned 24/7 helpdesk or an automated email ticket system? If you have a problem with your website, Murphy’s Law will dictate that it can often happen at the worst time. You need to know that your registrar can help you whenever you need assistance.
Domain holder/registrant: This is the person/company that registers and owns the right to use the domain name.
Admin Contact: The representative of the domain holder, and the person authorised to make changes to the domain details. If you’re a sole trader, you will also be the Admin Contact, so you retain full control. If a domain is registered to a company, the Admin Contact can be any current staff member.
Billing Contact: Your registrar, the company you pay to renew your domain on a yearly basis.
Hosting provider: The company that provides you with hosting space for your website and emails. Usually, this will be the same as your billing contact.
Cyber-squatting: Registering a domain name with no intention of using it, instead hoping to someday sell the domain for a profit.
Typo-squatting: A type of cyber-squatting whereby someone registers a miss-spelling of a domain name to take advantage of spelling mistakes the public may make when searching for a website.
Phishing: Pretending to be a trustworthy organisation in order to maliciously acquire someone’s personal details, such as their contact information or credit card details.
Domain locking: A security measure which prevents any modifications being made to a domain name, by anyone, without a secret passphrase being used to provide authorisation.
DNS: This refers to your domain’s hosting information. DNS, or nameservers, are managed by your hosting provider, and store your website and email data.
SSL certificate: A data file that creates a secure connection between a user’s computer and your website. If you have an SSL certificate for your site, it means that any communication between you and a visitor is secure and can’t be seen by outside parties.