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.nl domain

.nl is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Netherlands. It’s the official domain extension for websites located in or targeting Dutch audiences.

The .nl domain was introduced in 1986, making it one of the very early ccTLDs on the internet. It was initially managed by the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), a Dutch research institute.

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In 1996, the management of .nl was transferred to the domain registry Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN), a nonprofit foundation responsible for the administration and coordination of .nl domains.

Over the years, .nl domains have gained popularity and have become a valuable online presence for Dutch individuals, businesses and organizations. It’s also used by global brands looking to establish a Dutch site or branch.

.nl and ICANN

ICANN, which stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating and managing certain key aspects of the Domain Name System (DNS) and the allocation of IP addresses. The DNS is a hierarchical system that translates human-readable domain names from a URL, like, into numerical IP addresses that computers use to identify each other on the internet.

In the context of domain extensions, ICANN plays a crucial role in overseeing the domain name space, including the assignment and management of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Here's how ICANN is related to domain extensions:

ICANN is responsible for authorizing and managing the root of the DNS, which includes overseeing generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .org, .net, and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) like .us, .uk, and .jp.

They also facilitate the introduction of new gTLDs beyond the traditional ones. In 2012, ICANN launched the New gTLD Program, allowing organizations and individuals to apply for and create new domain extensions, such as .app, .blog, .guru, etc. ICANN evaluates and approves these applications, managing the introduction of new extensions to the internet.

ICANN establishes contractual agreements with domain registrars and registries to ensure the stability and security of the domain name system. These agreements outline the terms and conditions for managing specific TLDs, including the rules for domain registration, renewal, and dispute resolution.

They also oversee the UDRP, a process for resolving disputes regarding domain names. This policy provides a way to address issues like trademark infringement and cybersquatting in a standardized manner.

ICANN's role is critical in maintaining the integrity and stability of the global internet by overseeing the allocation of domain names, such as .nl, and IP addresses. While it doesn't directly manage all domain registrations (that's done by registrars accredited by ICANN), it sets the policies and standards that govern the domain name system worldwide.

Who uses .nl and why?

.nl is primarily used for websites and companies in the Netherlands. It’s a popular choice for Dutch companies and brands that want to establish a Dutch identity and connect to users and consumers in the Netherlands.

Learn more: What is a domain

There are currently 6 million .nl domains registered worldwide. Some of these include the following examples:

Website examples using .nl domains

This Netherlands based interior design uses its .nl domain extension to make it clear where it's services and potential customers are based. This also gives a more personal touch to the site and brand, something that's important for an interior design company.

Travel, outdoor and landscape photographer uses his website to showcase his talented work and his .nl domain to establish his base.

This art poster and print store uses it's .nl domain to showcase it's location as as Dutch artist.

Is a .nl domain extension legitimate and safe?

The safety of a .nl domain, or any domain for that matter, is not inherently determined by the domain extension itself. The safety and reliability of a domain depend on various factors, including the actions and intentions of the domain owner and the website security protocols in place.

There are some things you can do to make sure your website and by extension, your domain are secure:

  • Use a website builder and domain registrar that offers advanced security features - from 24/7 monitoring, to HTTPS and SSL/TLS protocols.

  • Apply safe password practices and two factor authentication to your site.

  • Keep your domain registration up to date.


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How do I register a .nl domain?

1. Choose a domain name registrar

2. Check domain name availability

3. Decide on your domain name

4. Fill in all necessary contact and payment information

5. Confirm your domain name registration, including duration of registration period

To register a .nl domain, you can do so through accredited domain registrars that are authorized by the Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN) to provide domain registration services.

Or you can register this type of TLD when making a website with a website builder like Wix. You’ll need to use a domain search tool to check that your domain name, with the .nl extension, is available. Then with a Wix premium plan you can register your domain.

Registering a .nl domain is relatively straightforward and can be done directly with a domain registrar or a website builder.

.nl domain extension FAQ

Who can register a .nl domain?

.nl domains are open for registration by anyone worldwide. There are no specific restrictions on who can register a .nl domain, making it accessible to a global audience.

How much does a .nl domain cost?

The cost of a .nl domain varies, depending on where you register it. With Wix, it's free, with a premium plan.

Are there any specific requirements for registering a .nl domain?

There are no specific location-based or residency requirements for registering a .nl domain. It’s open to registrants worldwide, making it a versatile choice for various purposes.

Do I need to live in the Netherlands to buy an .nl domain?

No you do not need to live in the Netherlands to register an .nl domain. It is open to individuals and businesses from around the world.

Can I register a .nl domain for personal and/or business use?

Yes, .nl domains can be registered for both personal and business use. Many individuals and businesses use .nl domains for their websites and companies.

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

Yes, you can transfer a .nl domain from one registrar to another as long as both are accredited. The process will vary depending on the registrar and domain extension, so you'll need to contact both the current and new registrars for full guidance on the transfer.

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

The time it takes to register a .nl domain may vary. However, it’s generally quick and shouldn’t take longer than a day.

Are there any restrictions on the number or type of characters used in a .nl domain?

A .nl domain name can have a minimum of two characters and a maximum of 63 characters. This includes letters (a to z), numbers (0 to 9) and hyphens ("-"). Hyphens can be used in the domain name but they cannot appear at the beginning or end. Additionally, consecutive hyphens are not allowed. .nl domains typically do not support special characters or diacritics. This means that domain names can consist of standard Latin alphabet letters and Arabic numerals but should not include special characters like accented letters (e.g., é, ñ) or other symbols.

What is SIDN and what’s its role in managing .nl domains?

The Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN) is a nonprofit foundation responsible for the administration and management of .nl domains.


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