Domain names


Government organisations should use a domain as their primary domain for websites and email. This gives the public confidence in the trust and integrity of communications from government.

The following guides are designed to help you select appropriate domain names and to follow good practice domain name management for all your domains.


Additional information about the terms used in these guides.

Second level domain
A second level domain is the category of domain within the country code (e.g. For New Zealand, second level domains are allocated by InternetNZ. Some second level domains are moderated (,,, etc) and some are unmoderated (,, etc) which means that names in that second level domain are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Third level domain
A third level domain is the unique name that comes before the second level domain (e.g., If you register a third level domain, you then have the exclusive right to use that domain for your website and email.
Fourth level domain
Registrants can divide their third level domain into sub domains, known as fourth level domains (e.g.,, etc). There are no restrictions on how government organisations set up and use fourth level domains, providing they are not likely to bring the government into disrepute. fourth level domains can be useful for managing sub-sites and test environments or for providing easy-to-remember campaign domains.
Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting) is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter may offer to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price. For more information see:
The DNS (domain name system) is the system that translates domain names and email addresses into the relevant IP address. DNS information is hosted on a name server and the DNS record for a domain will comprise one or more A records (for websites) and MX records (for email). For more information see:
Link farming
A link farm is a site that consists entirely of links (often automatically populated) designed to manipulate search engine rankings or drive traffic to other sites. Cybersquatters may host link farms on their domains. For more information see:
Moderation ensures that registrants of a closed second level domain (e.g. meet the requirements of that domain. The domain is moderated so that users of web sites in the namespace can have confidence that they are dealing with a government agency. This includes approving initial registration of names and may include monitoring and management of the space to ensure that registrants remain appropriate for the space.
Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information (such as usernames, passwords or credit card details) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This can be done by using a domain that is similar to a high profile existing domain or by disguising the domain used. For more information see:
The authoritative record of .nz domain names and the source of name server information for the .nz DNS. The registry records information about domains in that registry, including registrant contact details and the IP addresses for that domain's name servers.
A registrar is an entity authorised to access the .nz register to register and maintain domain names on behalf of registrants.
The registrant is the person or organisation who has registered a particular third level domain, giving them the right to use it.