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.ca domain


 

.ca is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Canada. It’s the official domain extension for websites associated with Canada.


The .ca domain was introduced in 1987, making it one of the early ccTLDs on the internet. It was originally managed by John Demco at the University of British Columbia.



In 2000, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) was established to take over the management and administration of .ca domains. CIRA is a nonprofit organization responsible for the registry of .ca domains.


CIRA has also introduced various policies and initiatives to make .ca domains more accessible and attractive for Canadians.


Learn more: What is a domain



Who uses .ca domains and why?


.ca is primarily used by individuals, businesses and organizations in Canada. It's a popular choice for Canadian companies and entities that want to establish a Canadian identity online.


Many international businesses choose .ca for their Canadian-based entities or branches because it signifies a connection to Canada, which can be important for building trust with a Canadian audience.



Third-level and fourth-level .ca domains


In Canada, the domain name system offers a structured hierarchy, including third-level (provincial) and fourth-level (municipal) domains under the .ca country-code top-level domain. This system enhances the organization and user-friendliness of online platforms for Canadian entities.


Third-level domains are typically designated for provincial government entities and organizations, allowing them to use domain names that reflect their affiliation with specific provinces, such as ".on.ca" for Ontario or ".bc.ca" for British Columbia. Similarly, fourth-level domains are used by municipal government entities, such as ".toronto.on.ca" for the city of Toronto.



Examples of provincial and municipal .ca domains


Provincial domains


  • Alberta (gov.ab.ca): Used by the Alberta provincial government for official purposes.

  • British Columbia (gov.bc.ca): Represents the British Columbia government's domain.

  • Ontario (gov.on.ca): The official domain for the Ontario provincial government and its departments.



Municipal domains


  • Toronto, Ontario (toronto.on.ca): Utilized by the city of Toronto for municipal services and information.

  • Vancouver, British Columbia (vancouver.bc.ca): The city of Vancouver uses this for local government operations.

  • Ottawa, Ontario (ottawa.on.ca): The official domain for Ottawa’s municipal government and services.



Examples of some well-known brands using .co domains


  • Indigo.ca

  • Canadiantire.ca



Websites using .ca domains



This Canadian hockey training and coaching business uses it's .ca domain to reinforce its location but also it's connection to the most Canadian sport of all - ice hockey.




.ca domains are a great idea for Canadian farms, like this one in Ontario, that want to emphasize their focus on selling locally produced and grown food produce. It's a great way to brand a local business and emphasize the quality of your products too.




This Canadian fashion brand shows that a country TLD, like .ca domain, can help establish your identity as a local brand but doesn't have to hold you back from generating global appeal too.




This small house property building company uses its .ca domain to show its origins and base in Calgary, Alberta but doesn't let it stop it appealing to its customers from all across North America.


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How to register a .ca domain


01. Choose a domain name registrar


To register a .ca domain, you can do so through accredited domain registrars that are authorized by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). Wix is one example.



02. Check domain name availability


You will then need to visit the website of a CIRA-accredited registrar, like Wix, and use their domain search tool to check if your desired .ca domain name is available.





Tip: If you're building a website, with a website builder like Wix, domain registration for .ca domains and others, is included with a premium plan. You can conduct your domain name search, choose your domain name and TLD and then register it, all from one place.



03. Provide all required registration information


If the domain is available, you can proceed with the registration process. This typically involves providing your contact information and agreeing to the registrar's terms and conditions. You'll then be expected to select a registration period, generally one year and then pay for your domain.



04. Check .ca domain extension restrictions


Registering a .ca domain is relatively straightforward, but there are still certain restrictions that come with it. Therefore, it's important to do your research and choose a reliable registrar with a good reputation to ensure a smooth registration process and reliable domain management.




Are .ca domains safe?


The safety of a .ca domain, or any domain for that matter, is not inherently determined by the domain extension itself. The safety of a domain depends on various factors, including the intentions and practices of the domain and website. To guarantee the safety of a .ca domain, or any other extension you can:


  • Register your .ca domain with a reputable and well-known domain registrar, like Wix. Choose a registrar that adheres to industry standards and provides adequate security measures.

  • Verify the Whois information for the domain. This information includes details about the domain owner. Make sure it aligns with the legitimate organization or individual you expect to be associated with the domain.

  • Make sure your website, with a .ca domain only publishes authentic, quality content.


Pro tip: Regardless of which domain extension you choose, it's important to conduct a website backup frequently in order to not lose any data.


.ca domain extension FAQ


Who can register a .ca domain?

.ca domains are primarily intended for individuals, businesses and organizations with a connection to Canada. Eligibility criteria include Canadian residency, Canadian citizenship, or having a Canadian presence.


Can non-Canadians register .ca domains?

Yes, non-Canadians can register .ca domains if they meet certain eligibility criteria. They may need to demonstrate a Canadian presence or connection, such as owning a Canadian trademark or being a subsidiary of a Canadian corporation.


What is the registration period for .ca domains?

.ca domains can typically be registered for one year but registrants can choose longer registration periods, such as two, three, or five years.


How can I check if a .ca domain is available for registration?

You can check the availability of a .ca domain by visiting the website of a CIRA-accredited registrar. Most registrars provide a domain search tool where you can enter your desired domain name to see if it's available.


Can I transfer a .ca domain to a different registrar?

Yes, you can transfer a .ca domain from one accredited registrar to another. The process involves specific requirements and fees. You'll need to contact both the current and new registrars for guidance on the transfer process.


How long does it take to register a .ca domain?

The time it takes to register a .ca domain can vary depending on the registrar and the specific requirements for the domain. Registration can typically be completed within a few minutes to a few days.


How do I renew my .ca domain name?

To renew your .CA domain, start by visiting the WHOIS Database on their website. Enter the domain name you wish to renew in the search bar. After the search, locate the "Registrar Information" section to find the registrar's name. Contact the registrar to begin the renewal process, following their unique instructions for a smooth renewal experience.


What is CIRA and what is its role in managing .ca domains?

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a nonprofit organization responsible for the administration and management of .ca domains. CIRA sets registration policies, accredits registrars and ensures the integrity of the .ca domain space.


Are there specific policies or rules for .ca domain registration?

Yes, CIRA has established policies and rules for .ca domain registration, including eligibility requirements and dispute resolution procedures. It's important to review and understand these policies when registering a .ca domain.



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