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When launching an online business, you will want to make sure your website has your preferred domain name. Your website is the face of your online business, and your domain name reflects your brand. When people do an online search for your business, they should be able to find it quickly. However, many business owners wonder whether they will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) when launching an online business to register their domain. This article will explain whether you need an ABN to register a domain name in Australia.

Registering a Domain Name

To purchase a ccTLD domain (a country code Top Level Domain), such as a “.com.au” domain name, you must register it through a domain registrar accredited by the Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA). The auDA is the regulatory body that sets out the use of the .au domain space. 

Under the auDA, domains registered with .com.au, net.au or .org.au must be registered by:

To be a sole trader, business or company, you are required to register an ABN or Australian Company Number (ACN). While you need to have an ABN or ACN to get a ccTLD domain, there other avenues to registering a domain name, which are available to owners of a:

If you are launching a website for non-commercial purposes, and you do not plan to operate a business from your website, you will not need an ABN to register the name.

Registering a .org.au Domain Name

If you are registering a .org.au domain name, your business must be a registered non-profit or charity. To become a registered charity or non-profit, you must obtain registration from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). 

There are strict legal requirements in meeting the standard of the ACNC. Once you are registered with the ACNC, you will be given a charity ABN, which you can use to register your .org.au domain address.

Registering a Domain for Non-Commercial Use

If you do not have an ABN or ACN and are not wishing to run a business from your website, you can register other domains such as those ending in:

  • .com;
  • .net; 
  • .org; or 
  • .info.

These domain names are not country-specific, and anyone can register them. You can use any domain registrar and select the period you would like to register the domain for. This can be from one year to ten years.

Protecting Your Identity

When you register a domain, you will need to provide certain contact information such as your: 

  • name;
  • phone number;
  • email address; and 
  • postal address.

This information will be publicly available through a WHOIS registry (pronounced as the phrase “who is”), which allows people to trace the ownership and tenure of domains. If you do not want this information to be publicly available, you should register your domain with WHOIS Protection. This will mask your personal information and anyone who wishes to contact you will be required to go through the domain registrar.

Protecting Your Domain Name

Before you register your domain, it is important to do your due diligence and find out whether your preferred name is being used by another business in a similar industry. If it is, this can confuse customers, and it may create intellectual property (IP) issues down the track. 

If your competitor has registered their name as a trade mark, and you wish to use the same or a similar name for your business, the trade mark owner may be able to stop you from using the domain name. Once you have registered your domain name, it is crucial to protect it with a trade mark. 

Key Takeaways

If you are planning on setting up a website, you may not need an ABN or ACN. However, you will need an ABN or ACN if you are running an online business. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your business is properly registered so that you can secure your domain name for your business. If you have any questions about registering an ABN or domain name, contact LegalVision’s e-commerce lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

How do I purchase a domain name?

To purchase a ccTLD domain (a country code Top Level Domain), such as a “.com.au” domain name, you must register it through a domain registrar accredited by the Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA).

Can I register a “.org.au” domain name?

If you are registering a .org.au domain name, your business must be a registered non-profit or charity.

Do I need an ABN to register a domain name.

If you are launching a website for non-commercial purposes, and you do not plan to operate a business from your website, you will not need an ABN to register the name. However, if you do plan to operate a business, you will need an ABN.

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