What you need to know about Domain Names and .ng ccTLD Domain Registration

September 4, 2021
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.ng is the official internet domain name or ccTLD (Country code top-level domain) for Nigeria. You can register domains like .com.ng, .ng, .i.ng etc.

What is a domain name?

Domain Name is an easy to remember name with which a website can be referenced on the internet.

Before domain names and the DNS system (Domain Name System), the servers or machines on the internet were referenced only using an IP like 127.0.0.1 (which are still in use in the background). Which became difficult to remember once websites and servers increased in the early years of the internet.

This was realized that referencing machines using numbers was not meant for human use. Imagine remembering IP of every website you like or open on the internet like howng.com. Would you be able to remember 191.129.119.199 instead? Or imagine sending an email to your friend at [email protected] (on gmail.com), would that be easy?

So, the Domain Name System was developed at Stanford Research Institute, Arpanet by Elizabeth Feinler who maintained a hosts.txt file for mapping names to each IP of the machines. The whois directory was prepared which contained owner, contact of each name. The list was later maintained manually by Jon Postel at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute over the phone with instructions from Feinler. Imagine doing this everyday for millions of websites!

Later, this system was automated by Feinler’s Team and categorization of names was done based on region, profession, business or specific purpose also known as TLDs (Top Level Domains). Like names ending with .com were designated to Commercial Entities, .edu was designated for Educational Institutions, while .gov, .mil were reserved for Government, Military departments of The United States.

Similarly, the regional TLDs were designated for each region like country or continent also called ccTLDs. Like .ng is for Nigeria, .ke is for Kenya, .za is for South Africa, .us is for the United States, .uk is for the United Kingdom, .ca is for Canada, .de is for Germany, .cn is for China based on the ISO code of each country. These ccTLDs were later assigned to each country’s government entities for administration. Every country has its own internet extension/domain name just like a phone number.

Feinler’s team handled the DNS task from 1972-1989 which was later assigned to Internic and then it was assigned to ICANN. Who later privatized this.

Each website was then assigned on second letter/level on TLD like a business would have website name at second level like google.com, here .com is TLD or 1st level domain and Google is second level. In the case of ccTLDs it could be google.ng or google.com.ng or google.co.za or google.co.uk depending on the country and TLD policy.

Each Country (or their relevant organisations responsible for ccTLDs) could assign a special second level domain on their ccTLD like .gov.ng or mil.ng or com.ng or edu.ng for various specific purposes or they could restrict or govern rules on who could register these domains like .gov.ng can only be registered by the Government departments of Nigeria; depending on their policies.

Before 2008, there were only a handful of TLDs like .com, .net, .info, .biz called global TLDs (which have no relation to any country and can registered by anyone) which were then managed by private entities and ccTLDs of each country which were managed by Government entities. But today, there are 1239 TLDs with the introduction of a new gTLD program by ICANN in 2008 now any company can apply for their own gTLD like .xyz, .amazon, .google, .blog. There are around 316 ccTLD today.

Popular domain names and TLDs include .com, .net, .xyz with domain names like amazon.com, google.com, abc.xyz.

Today every website is registered and referenced based on TLD and their name on it. Like amazon.com, google.com.ng, jumia.com.ng, konga.com, jiji.ng, netflix.com etc.

Now you know all about the domain names, here in this article we will talk about Nigeria’s own official ccTLD .ng domain.

How can you register a .ng domain?

.NG was opened for general use/registration in around 2009 when it was delegated to NIRA (Nigerian Internet Registration Association) by ICANN. The first .com.ng was registered in 2009. While the 1st .ng domain was registered in 2013.

.NG domain can be registered at second level or third level depending on use case. Like .ng and .com.ng is open for everyone including for Personal/Business/Commercial Purposes. Like you could register yourname.ng or yourcompany.ng or yourbrand[dot]ng or anything[dot]ng or even anythi[dot]ng! (a domain hack). Isn’t that cool!

Besides direct .ng registration as mentioned above, there are various specialized second level or third level TLDs under .NG which are available/reserved for different purposes:

  • .com.ng – is just like .ng which is open for everyone. Like you could register yourname.com.ng or yourbusiness.com.ng or anything.com.ng
  • .net.ng – is meant for Network Companies like ISP or Telecom Companies and can only be registered by providing specific documents.
  • .org.ng – is suited for Non-Profit Organizations & charities but it is open for everyone and can be registered by anyone like charity.org.ng.
  • .i.ng – is meant for Individuals, but can be registered by anyone for commercial or personal use. It is often used for making domain hacks like anyth.i.ng
  • .name.ng – is also meant for individuals, and can be registered by anyone for commercial or personal use like myname.name.ng.
  • .mobi.ng – is meant for Mobile Websites that can be registered by anyone for commercial or personal use. Example: mymobilewebsite.mobi.ng
  • .sch.ng – is meant for Primary Educational Institutions in Nigeria like Schools and relevant documents are required to register this domain. Example: myprimaryschool.sch.ng
  • .edu.ng – is meant for higher educational institutions in Nigeria like Colleges or Universities and relevant documentation is required to register this domain. Example: collegename.edu.ng
  • .gov.ng – is restricted for use by Government departments only. Regional Government departments can register domains under 3rd level like Lagos State Lotteries Board lslb.lg.gov.ng has their website on lg.gov.ng 3rd level (meant for Lagos Government).
  • .mil.ng – is restricted for use by Nigerian Military Establishments only. Example: airforce.mil.ng

Where can you register a .ng domain?

You can register a .ng domain from any accredited NiRA .ng domain registrar. There are currently 72 accredited .ng domain registrars as per NiRA’s website.

You can visit an NiRA accredited domain registrar’s website and search for a domain name to check if it is available and then place an order.

Typical steps would be to go to a Registrar’s website & search your domain name. In this example, we will search for a domain at Domainking.ng, which is an accredited .ng domain registrar.

These are the steps involved:

  • Go to Domainking.ng website, there you will see a search box like above.
  • Type in the name that you want to register like I want to register usedcardealer[dot]com.ng, on the next page, it will show if the domain is available for us to register or registered by someone else.
  • If domain is available, then you have to select the term for which you want to register the .ng domain, you can proceed with a 1 year to maximum 5 year registration term. Select Term and click “Click to Continue”. One year registration at DomainKing.ng would typically cost around N1100 and renewal would be N1500 next year.
  • On the next page you will be required to enter name servers required to set up a website on domain.

Typically you would buy a web hosting space to host a website and enter the hosting nameservers here which would cost around N6000. But, if you don’t know this you can leave this. DomainKing.NG’s team will assist you in this (you can chat with their support to ask questions), DomainKing.ng offers free DNS that you can use to host the domain at Blogger.com where you don’t need a hosting account.

  • On the next page it will show you registration and renewal cost summary and ask for registration details like Name, Address, Phone, Email and payment method selection.

Here, you need to review the order summary and enter the contact details that you want to register the domain in the name for/ or what you want to show in whois records of a domain. And select your preferred payment method and accept the terms of service, Click Complete Order.

  • Then you will be redirected to the Invoice page where you will see Payment Link. Click the Payment link to pay using the preferred method. Once payment is made the domain will be activated automatically.

Why should you /would you want to register a .ng domain and what are its benefits?

.NG domain is very popular among big businesses and startups in Nigeria like google.com.ng, sterling.ng, hotels.ng, jiji.ng as it offers following benefits:

  • Brand Protection – Companies can protect their brand under .ng domain if they have .com domain like Google has google.com and google.com.ng
  • Localization in Nigeria – Having a .ng domain shows your website is related to Nigeria or targets Nigerian audience which is a great thing for people to relate to.
  • Helps in SEO – .ng domains typically rank higher for keywords on Google Nigeria than other global websites.
  • Shorter Names are available – You will find more short domain names available in .ng than in .com. So, you can register some really cool names.
  • Personalized Email & website – You can create your emails on a .ng domain like [email protected]or a portfolio website. This will make you look more professional.
  • Domain Hacks – You can create domain hacks like you.ng, bei.ng etc.

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