Last updated on December 7th, 2023 at 09:31 am
The .co.za domain is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for South Africa. Co.za stands for “commercial South Africa”.
It is administered by the .ZA Domain Name Authority (.ZADNA).
The .co.za domain was one of the first ccTLDs when it was created in 1990. It is popular among South African businesses and organizations that want to have a local web presence. Some key facts about the .co.za domain:
- Intended for companies, organizations and commercial entities in South Africa
- Over 1 million .co.za domains registered
- Considered more trustworthy for local consumers compared to generic TLDs like .com
- Low cost registration and renewal fees
Registering a .co.za domain involves checking if the desired name is available, choosing a registrar accredited by .ZADNA, and paying a small annual fee to maintain the registration.
Overall, the .co.za domain space promotes a local South African web presence.
Table of Contents
Differences Between .co.za and .com
The .co.za and .com domains are different in some key aspects:
- .co.za is a country code top-level domain restricted for use by South African entities only, while .com is a generic top-level domain open to anyone globally.
- .co.za domains are perceived as more trustworthy by local South African users, whereas .com sites could be registered by anyone anywhere.
- Registration criteria for .co.za requires submitting local business registration details to the registrar, .com has open registration.
- Renewal and registration costs for a .co.za is lower compared to .com.
- SEO ranking advantage may be higher for .co.za sites targeting South African users specifically.
So in summary, .co.za conveys locality, trust and a South African web presence, while .com is more universal without geo-associations.
Registering a .co.za Domain Name
Registering a .co.za domain name involves a few simple steps:
Step 1: Check domain availability
Use a .co.za registrar’s domain search tool to check if your desired domain name is available for registration.
Step 2: Select an accredited .ZA registrar
Domain registrars need accreditation from .ZADNA – the .ZA Domain Name Authority to sell .co.za domains.
Choose a reputed one like Afrihost, WebAfrica etc.
Step 3: Make payment for registration
Registration fee is based on the registrar, usually under ZAR 100 per year.
You also need to pay a small .CO.ZA renewal fee yearly to maintain ownership.
Step 4: Configure domain settings
Finally, configure your web hosting, email and other settings to make use of your new .co.za domain.
Registering a .co.za helps establish web presence specific to South Africa for businesses or professionals operating there.
Using a .co.za Domain for Business
There are good reasons businesses in South Africa should consider using a .co.za domain name for their website:
- Increases trust among local users who associate .co.za sites with South African entities rather than foreign ones.
- Good for SEO if targeting local search engine traffic from South African users.
- Shows commitment to the South African market which local users appreciate.
- Access to payment solutions like SnapScan and Zapper that requires a local presence which .co.za provides.
- Low cost of registration and renewal compared to generic TLDs.
For small businesses, web shops or professionals targeting mainly South African clients, having a .co.za domain can convey locality, trust and credibility. Combined with the affordability, .co.za makes for an ideal domain choice for local entities.
Restrictions With .co.za Domain Registration
There are some restrictions imposed in eligibility criteria for registration of .co.za domain names:
- Must submit local business registration documentation, proof of residence, or ID document to show South African presence.
- Educational institutions need to provide valid certification to register a .co.za domain.
- For companies, close corporations (CCs) and non-profits, must show founding documents that conform to South African regulations.
- Promotional companies cannot market the .co.za domain for sale – registration only allowed for organizations with real presence.
- Nominee registrations not allowed, registrant must be using the domain actively after registration.
These restrictions ensure only eligible South African entities engage in business using a .co.za domain registry. This maintains credibility of the .co.za national domain space.
Managing a .co.za Domain Name
Once you register a .co.za domain name, managing it involves:
- Paying renewal fees on time each year to the registrar to retain ownership rights. This includes registrar renewal fee & .CO.ZA renewal fee.
- Updating business registration details if there are changes in company details, contact information etc.
- Enable auto-renewal and recurring billing with the registrar to avoid expiration or deletions.
- Locking domains prevent unauthorized transfers or changes. Many registrars provide this feature.
- Point domain to web hosting via changing nameservers or DNS records so the site resolves when users visit it.
- Optionally purchasing add-ons like private registration, email forwarding etc. if required.
Keeping domain credentials & business details current is crucial to maintain ownership of your .co.za domain long term without issues.
Important Facts about .co.za Domain
Some additional facts about the .co.za domain:
- Launched in 1990, among the early country code top level domains along with .uk, .us etc.
- Administered by the .ZA Domain Name Authority which sets policies & accredits .co.za registrars.
- Over 1.1 million .co.za domains registered making it among the larger country code domains.
- Supports registration in all South African official languages, not English only.
- Second level registrations allowed directly under .co.za and many popular names are taken.
- Registrars need to uphold strict requirements including checking local business docs before allowing registration.
- Promotes web presence specifically catering to South African users rather than a global audience.
- .co.za is the country code top level domain for South Africa reserved for local businesses and entities there.
- Seen as more trustworthy by locals compared to generic .com sites.
- Conveys a South Africa-centric web presence and commitment to the market.
- Registration requires submitting local business or organization documents for eligibility.
- Renewal fees are low making it affordable for SA small businesses & entities to establish a local online presence.
- Managing a .co.za domain involves keeping registration details current annually and handling renewals on time.