Naming Policy

The top-level Internet domain name for Ireland is .ie. In common with other top-level domains, the IE domain is administered by a naming authority. This function is provided for the .ie domain as a public service by IE Domain Registry Limited (IEDR).

Naming Policy

1. Introduction
2. Procedure
3. Requirements

a) Validity
b) Availability
c) Reachability
d) Good Management
e) Technical

4. Refusal of Registration
5. Updating and Termination of Registration
6. Recommendations
7. Liability and Indemnity
8. General Requirements Relating to Documents
9. General Requirements Relating to a Real and Substantive Connection with Ireland
10. Disputes


1. Introduction

The IEDR has developed policies and procedures based on Internet standards, discussions with service providers and other interested parties both within and outside Ireland, and its own experience.

The naming authority for .ie deals only with primary sub-domains of the top-level domain .ie. Second (or lower) level sub-domain registration is the responsibility of the administrative contact for the primary sub-domain.

Acceptable applications are processed and registered on a “first come, first served” basis but will be subject to the IEDR’s Dispute Resolution Policy. No acceptable application is “more acceptable” than another.

2. Procedure

2.1. A request for registration of a domain name under the top-level domain .ie must be submitted to the IEDR via the online registration system. Supporting documentation should be emailed to or faxed to (+353 1) 230 0365. The IEDR’s full contact details are available here.

2.2. Each request for registration of a new domain name must include the following items:

  • The proposed name for the new domain.
  • The full legal name of the applicant.
  • The name and contact details of the contact persons for the domain.
  • The Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of a minimum of two distinct nameservers for the new domain (the IP number of a nameserver should also be supplied where the FQDN of the nameserver is within the domain to be delegated).
  • A declaration that the applicant (and, where the request is made on behalf of the applicant by a service provider, also the service provider) accepts the conditions of liability and indemnity specified in Section 7 below.
  • Agreement to submit to the Dispute Resolution Policy.

2.3. The contact persons registered for a domain may include one or more representatives of the service provider. However, at least the Administrative Contact must represent the applicant rather than the service provider, and must have authority to act for the applicant.

2.4. On acceptance of an application for registration of a new domain name, the IEDR makes the necessary entries in the DNS zone file for the .ie domain and once the DNS configuration of the domain has been verified as operational and correct, the applicant becomes the holder of the domain name.

2.5. Once the applicant becomes the domain holder the domain name is granted by the naming authority to the domain holder. Such domains are not transferable, either by the naming authority or the domain holder.

3. Requirements

At the time of registration, the proposed domain name must be both valid and available. Then and subsequently, the domain must be reachable and well managed.


3.1. An Internet domain name consists of a number of labels separated each from the next by a dot (period). The characters which may be used in a label are the 26 letters (A-Z) of the Roman alphabet without regard to upper- or lower-case, the 10 digits (0-9) and the hyphen (-). The hyphen may not be used as the initial or final character of a label. Names with “-” on the third and the fourth position may not be used. Each label may be up to 63 characters in length. The entire domain name, counting the separating dots, must be no longer than 255 characters. (See Domain Names – Implementation and Specification: RFC-1035).

A domain name proposed for registration by the IEDR must consist of a single such label followed by the suffix “.ie”.

3.2. The proposed domain name must fall within one of the categories set out in the IEDR’s Naming and Registration Policies, in which specific requirements are set out for deriving the domain name from a name or mark already belonging to the applicant.

3.3. Any space appearing in the name or mark may, at the applicant’s choice, be replaced by a hyphen. Any remaining characters, other than those valid for use in a label component of an Internet domain name (see 3.1. above) shall be omitted.

3.4. The proposed domain name must not be offensive or contrary to public policy or generally accepted principles of morality.

3.5. The proposed domain name does no longer have to abide by the generic name regulation, as of November 5th, 2001.

3.6. The proposed domain name must not at the time of receipt of the registration request already have been registered to another applicant.

3.7. A sub-domain name must be distinct from any of the recognised top-level domain names (.com, .net, .org  etc.) except in special circumstances where the Registry considers such a registration to be in the best national interest. [Amended: 22nd May 2000].

3.8. The proposed domain name must not contain the word ‘university’ unless the applicant is recognised by the Department of Education as an established university. The Universities Act, 1997, prohibits the use of the word ‘university’ to describe an educational establishment or facility without the approval of the Department of Education.


3.9. Where the proposed name is in the opinion of the naming authority likely to lead to confusion, or is likely to be subject to an administrative proceeding under the Dispute Resolution Policy, another name shall be chosen.

3.10. The applicant must be the named individual or organisation to whom the domain name is to be registered. A domain name cannot be registered in the name of a trademark or a Registered Business Name, for example. It will be registered to the holders of these names.

3.11. All applicants, regardless of the category of domain name being applied for, must demonstrate a real and substantive connection with Ireland. What constitutes such a connection for each type of applicant is defined in Section 9 below.

3.12. The provisions of the Registration Policy must be satisfied.


3.13. The domain must provide a point of contact for email where requests for information may be addressed. [Amended:13th November 2000.]

3.14. At least one secondary nameserver must be registered in addition to the primary nameserver, and both nameservers must be reachable from the primary nameserver for the .ie domain. Moreover, the agreement of the manager of each nameserver to provide name service for the proposed domain must be obtained in advance.

Good Management:

3.15. Outgoing mail from the sub-domain must satisfy the requirements of RFC-822. In particular, header lines in messages must not include any address either consisting only of a username (‘local part’ in RFC-822 terminology) or containing a partially qualified domain name.

3.16. Renewal fees must be paid when they fall due.


3.17. The IEDR has an automated system for checking that the nameservers specified in a request for registration of (or modification to) a domain are reachable, comply with the technical requirements laid out in RFC 1034 and RFC 1035, and are configured as authoritative nameservers for the domain in question.

3.18. When all the other requirements for a valid registration (or modification) have been checked, the nameserver details are submitted to this system. From that time, they are checked every working day for a maximum of twenty calendar days.

3.19. If during that time, the nameservers are found to be reachable and correctly configured, then the request is considered accepted, and the relevant changes are made to the primary nameserver for .ie. Each time the tests are failed, email notification is sent to whoever submitted the request. If twenty days elapse and the nameservers have not passed the tests, the application will be rejected.

3.20. If an application is rejected in this way, the domain will of course become free to be registered to the first person to submit a correct application. If a modification request is rejected, we reject only the modification (i.e. the domain will remain registered, but the change requested will not be made).

3.21. Requests which have been submitted to the system but are failing the checks are called ‘stalled’, and a list of them is published here, and updated every day.

4. Refusal of Registration

An application to register a domain name may be refused on any of the following grounds:

4.1. Insufficient information (see Section 2 above).

4.2. Failure to satisfy the requirements (see Section 3 above).

4.3. Implementation of a Panel Decision under the .ie Dispute Resolution Policy.

5. Updating and Termination of Registration

5.1. Any person may at any time request an update to or termination of the domain’s registration. Such request will only be carried out upon receipt of authorisation from the Administrative Contact for the domain. By this means, the IEDR avoid acting with a third party to interfere in any existing relationship between such a party and the domain holder.

5.2. Whenever the IEDR receives conflicting requests for an update to or termination of a domain’s registration, the IEDR shall be free to determine which, if any, request to honour.

5.3. When a domain ceases to satisfy any of the conditions of reachability or of good management (see Section 3 above), the contact person shall be notified and given the opportunity to correct the deficiency. Should the necessary action not be taken within a reasonable delay, the IEDR will be free to terminate the registration of the domain without further notice.

5.4. If the IEDR becomes aware that an accepted request was seriously or fundamentally incorrect, either intentionally or unintentionally, it shall have the right to terminate the registration after giving due notice.

6. Recommendations

6.1. Mail routing and/or IP connectivity for a domain must in most cases be arranged by a service provider. In such a case it is preferable and more effective that the service provider submit the application for registration on behalf of the applicant.

6.2. Required documentation should be submitted with a registration application to expedite registration.

7. Liability and Indemnity

The IE Domain Registry Limited (IEDR) acts as naming authority as a public service neutrally and in good faith subject to the following conditions:

7.1. The holder of a domain name shall indemnify the IEDR and its servants or agents and shall hold the IEDR and its servants or agents harmless from and against any loss, damage, liability, claim or expense resulting from a claim or claims asserted by a third party regarding the licensing of or the right to use the domain name in question.

7.2. No liability shall attach to the IEDR or its servants or agents in respect of any loss or damage whatsoever suffered by the applicant or a service provider and arising from any action or neglect on the part of the IEDR or its servants or agents in the exercise of the function of the naming authority.

7.3. The applicant accepts that failure to pay the maintenance fee will result in the deactivation of the domain name.

7.4. The applicant agrees to the resolution of disputes in respect of the domain name applied for in accordance with IEDR’s Dispute Resolution Policy, but that this is without prejudice to any and all rights they have in the name applied for and shall not prevent any party to the proceeding from submitting the dispute to a court of law for independent resolution at any time.

8. General Requirements Relating to Documents

8.1. Any documentary evidence or document required to be provided to the IEDR must be either the original document, an official copy issued by the originating agency or a certified copy of the original or official copy duly certified by a practicing Solicitor, a Commissioner for Oaths, a Notary Public or a Registered Trademark Agent whose name is entered in the Register of Trademark Agents.

8.2. The IEDR accepts emailed and faxed copies of all required documentation.

8.3. Any original documents provided to the IEDR will be returned after inspection at the applicant’s risk by ordinary prepaid post to the applicant’s postal address as specified in their application.

9. General Requirements Relating to a Real and Substantive Connection with Ireland

Where a real and substantive connection with Ireland is claimed in an application, the applicant must provide the IEDR with sufficient documentary evidence to support this claim.

9.1. An applicant who is a natural person and can show documentary evidence or reasonable proof of a correspondence address within the 32 counties of Ireland (the island of Ireland) along with adequate documentary evidence of the applicant’s legal name e.g. a copy of the applicant’s passport or birth certificate, shall be deemed to have a real and substantive connection with Ireland.

9.2. An applicant which, at the time of application, is a body corporate incorporated under the laws of Ireland shall be deemed to have a real and substantive connection with Ireland. An applicant which, at the time of application, is a body corporate incorporated outside Ireland and which has either established a “place of business” within Ireland which it has registered under Part XI of the Companies Act 1963, or has established a “branch” in Ireland which it has registered pursuant to the European Communities (Branch Disclosures) Regulations, 1993 shall also be deemed to have a real and substantive connection with Ireland.

9.3. An applicant who, at the time of application, is registered for VAT in Ireland shall be deemed to have a real and substantive connection with Ireland.

9.4. An applicant, who, at the time of application, can demonstrate substantial trade or commercial activity within Ireland, shall be deemed to have a substantive connection with Ireland. Examples of acceptable documentation would be copies of invoices (showing trade to or from Ireland), high-quality brochures, a signed letter on headed paper from a bank manager, firm of chartered accountants, registered auditors, tax consultants (where the tax advisor identification number is displayed), or solicitors confirming the applicant’s trade or serious intention to trade with Ireland. This is essentially to provide eligibility for non-Irish entities, which trade with Irish based organisations, and require a .ie domain name, while also ensuring compliance with the Treaty of Rome.

9.5. An applicant who, at the time of application, has a registered Irish, UK (where the registered trademark holder is situated within the 32 counties of Ireland) or European Community trademark will be deemed to have a real and substantive connection with Ireland. In order to ensure compliance with the Treaty of Rome, all Community trademarks (CTMs) may be deemed sufficient to demonstrate a claim on a proposed domain name and may be deemed a real and substantive connection with Ireland for the purposes of registering a .IE domain name.

The IEDR may, at its sole discretion, accept other documentary evidence that an entity has a real and substantive connection with Ireland.

10. Disputes

10.1. The registration or renewal of a domain name at any time, whether before or after the coming into force of the Dispute Resolution Policy shall be subject to that Policy. The IEDR will implement a Panel Decision made under the Dispute Resolution Policy in so far as it reasonably can.

10.2. Registrants must participate in the administrative proceedings conducted by the IEDR or organisations accredited by the IEDR for handling disputes if they wish to retain the name registered to them. If they fail to successfully defend their right to a domain it may either be transferred to the Complainant or cancelled without refund of fees.

10.3. The IEDR, its directors, members, agents, employees and representatives shall not be liable to a Registrant or any other person for any loss or damages (whether or not foreseeable) including special, indirect, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages resulting from loss of use, lost business revenue, lost profits or third party damages arising in any way from: the application of the Dispute Resolution Policy or any rules of procedure adopted or applied there under or any decision or resulting action taken on foot of a decision of a Panel.


This document is based on contributions from many people by way of suggestion and discussion. Such contributions are gratefully acknowledged from colleagues in UCD; from Mike Norris, Michael Nowlan, Nick Hilliard, Daniel Karrenberg; and especially from Piet Beertema, who provided a copy of the requirements for registration of an Internet domain under .nl and the members of the One Domain Per Holder Working Group.