How To

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How to find who owns a domain name (Whois)?

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Domain FAQ – How to Register, Buy, Transfer or Sell Domain Names

What is a domain name?

A domain name is an address on the internet that can be used for web sites, email addresses and more. Domains have two parts; with the domain “” the first part is the name before the dot (ie. domainassets) and the second part after the dot is the extension ( ie. .ca) which defines the country (.ca is Canadian) or type of activity (.com is commercial).

“.ca” is the domain extension that represents Canada.  All .ca Canadian domain names are managed in a directory by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and governed by the laws of Canada.

Domain names are also a Web address, such as, that is linked to an IP address (which represents a physical point on the Internet). When someone types a domain name into a Web browser, the requested Web page displays.A domain name consists of a top-level and a second-level domain. A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot ( The most common top-level domains are .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Some other popular top-level domains are .BIZ, .INFO, .NAME and .WS. These TLDs have certain guidelines but are, for the most part, available to any registrant, anywhere in the world.

The part of the domain name located to the left of the dot — “godaddy,” in this case — is called the second-level domain (SLD) name. The second-level domain name is the “readable” part of the address and refers to the organization or entity behind the Internet address. Second-level domain names must be registered with an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)-accredited registrar.

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Why I should register a .ca name?

.ca represents Canada and .ca domains are what Canadians recognize and trust online. If your business operates in Canada you will want to reach out to Canadian consumers with a .ca name so they are comfortable that you can provide services and shipping to them.

It is also important for businesses to own .ca domain names that can protect their market and identity. And .ca domains provide a valuable marketing tool to receive type-in traffic from customers visiting domains through direct navigation. Or if you are an individual running a blog, personal interest site or information site, you will also want to be recognized as Canadian to your readership. Over 1.5 million .ca domain names have been registered to date.

Who can register a domain name?

Anyone can register a domain name such as a .com.  However, some “country code” domain names such as .ca are reserved for use by the host country. This means for .ca, anyone who is a Canadian citizen, Canadian business or association can register a .ca name. But since .ca domain names are intended for use in Canada, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) requires that registrants must meet Canadian presence requirements.

How do I register a domain name?

You can either register a new domain name or purchase an existing domain name from the current owner.

To register a new name, check its availability with a domain registrar (see our links above to Netfirms for domain registration). If it is available (unregistered) you can register that name for a period of 1-10 years (registration fee must be renewed annually). You can manage the domain at the registrar.

To purchase an existing domain, you can approach the current owner.  Current owners of domains can be identified for .ca by using CIRA’s “whois” tool at, or for other general domains by “whois” tools such as

How do I transfer a domain?

When transferring a domain name, you will need the “transfer code” available only to the domain owner (accessible from the registrar account where the domain is located). Login, “unlock” the domain for transfer, and access the “transfer code”.   If you are transfering the domain from another owner, they must provide you with the transfer code prior to you requesting the transfer from your registrar.