June 16, 2022
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What you should know about the new .au direct domains

If you run a business, it’s likely you already have a website. But did you know you can now get a domain name that ends in just .au? In March this year, Australians got access to the shorter and simpler domain names, without the need for a .com or .org or so on.

What changes are coming to Australian domains?

If you already had a longer domain ending in .au, the equivalent simpler domain has been put on hold for you for 6 months in order for you to get first chance to register it.

As a cyber security measure, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) recommends that all Australian businesses with existing Australian domain names register the .au direct equivalent of their current website.

You have until 20 September 2022 to apply for a priority hold over the new direct domain. After this time, it will become available to the general public.



Who is eligible?

To be eligible for a .au domain, you must have a current Australian presence. This includes:

  • an Australian registered company
  • an Australian partnership or sole trader
  • an owner of an Australian registered trade mark
  • an Australian registered charity
  • an Australian registered political party
  • a trust where the trustee is an Australian citizen
  • a foreign company licensed to trade in Australia
  • a permanent Australian resident or citizen (not supported at the time of launch)

A .au direct domain tells us that the business or individual has a connection to Australia. There are rules around who can register .au domains and these are set by the au Domain Administration.



What’s next?

Be prepared to register your .au direct domain by following these steps:

  • Review your current domain’s contact information to ensure that everything is current and accurate.
  • Check Whois lookup to ensure the eligibility info (that is, ABN, ACN, etc.) listed on your domain is current and accurate.
  • Check if your domain is eligible for priority status by using auDA’s priority status tool.


How can you reserve a domain?

The .au direct domain priority period runs from 24 March 2022 to 20 September 2022.

During this time, you can:

  • apply for the exact match of any existing .au domain name that you are the registrant of. If there is more than one claim to the same domain, such as the registrants of businessname.com.au and businessname.net.au both applying, these names will be allocated according to the Priority Allocation Process.
  • register new .au direct names that are not already registered in the .au registry (i.e. names are not registered in any existing .au name space such as com.au or org.au etc.)

You can reserve your .au domain name through your existing domain name registrar, or by visiting any auDA accredited registrar.

Once your application is approved, you should be able to complete your registration and start using the .au direct domain shortly after that.


What happens if you don’t register a .au direct domain?

You don’t have to register a direct domain if you don’t want to, and it will not affect your existing .au domains. Providing you keep your registration up to date, your existing .au name will continue to operate.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) recommends that all Australian businesses with existing domain names register the .au equivalents. Remember, if you choose not to register your direct .au domain by the end of the priority period, it will become possible for anyone to register it.

It can become problematic if someone else takes the domain and starts impersonating your business or conducting fraudulent activities. It could negatively affect your business’ reputation as customers may not realise it is not you.

It can be a complicated process to regain domains once someone else registers them, so get on the front foot prevent that from happening.


Take this opportunity and secure your .au name through your existing domain name registrar, or by visiting any auDA accredited registrar.

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