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  FAQ – Domain name registration under .mt 

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This FAQ addresses common questions that might arise when registering new domain names or renewing existing ones under the .mt namespace with the introduction of the new Domain Registration Policy as of 1 December 2017. Consequently, these should be read in conjunction with the new Domain Name Registration Policy and the related amended Terms and Conditions.

General Information

1. What is NIC(Malta)?

The Network Information Centre Malta, also known as NIC(Malta), is a non-profit Foundation which is responsible for the .mt top-level country domain for Malta. NIC(Malta) is the registry for .mt domain names. The responsibilities include the

  • creation and implementation of a domain naming policy for .mt;
  • maintenance of the .mt nameservers;
  • promotion of the .mt domain;
  • registration of new domain names.
2. What is a domain name?
A domain name, such as for example myname.com.mt, acts like an address and identifies a particular entity in the Internet.

3. What is a second/third level domain name?
A domain name can be split into a number of levels. The country code top level domain name is .mt. A second level domain name, e.g. myname.mt is one where the registered label myname is at the second level, immediately to the left of .mt. A third level domain name, e.g. myname.com.mt is one where the registered label myname is at the third level. In the case of .mt the second level label is a fixed three-letter name according to the type of organisation that has registered the label myname. This could be one of the following:
  • .com.mt – an entity that operates on a commercial basis e.g. limited liability company
  • .org.mt – an entity that operates on a non-profit basis e.g. charity, foundation
  • .net.mt – a provider of Internet related network services e.g. ISP
  • .edu.mt – an education institution recognized by Ministry of Education in Malta
  • .gov.mt – a Government of Malta entity.
4. What is the registered label
The registered label is that part of the domain name that the Holder selects as part of his/her domain name and with the proposed changes can be at either the second or third level. As an example, a Holder can register the label myname either at the second level – myname.mt or at the third level – myname.com.mt. Note that in the case of third level domain names, the assignment of the second level name (com, org, edu, net, gov) is dictated by the type of organization registering the name.

5. What is a corresponding domain name?
Two corresponding domain names have the same registered label, one in the second level and the other in the third level. For example, myname.com.mt and myname.mt are two corresponding domain names.

6. What is a main domain name?
During the Preferential Registration Period, a user pays registration fees for a main domain name (e.g. myname.com.mt) and can additionally register (subject to availability) the corresponding domain name (e.g. myname.mt) for free – this is called the paired domain name.

7. What is a paired domain name?
During the Preferential Registration Period, a user pays registration fees for a main domain name (e.g. myname.com.mt) and can additionally register (subject to availability) the corresponding domain name (e.g. myname.mt) for free – this is called the paired domain name.

8. What is meant by the term “Holder”?
The Holder refers to the registrant of a domain name, that is, the legal entity who has been delegated the right to use the domain by NIC(Malta) and who accepts all associated legal consequences.

Existing Domain Names

9. Will the existing third level domain names remain valid?
Yes, existing third level domain names will continue to remain valid. One could still continue to renew existing third level domain names such as for example myname.com.mt. One could even continue to register new third level domain names.

10. I have a domain name registered under .com, will this change affect me?
No, this will not affect you. This policy applies only for domain names registered under .mt.

11. I already have a registered .mt domain name, how will this new policy affect me?
If, say, you have myname.com.mt registered under your name, you can continue to normally hold and renew this name now and in the future. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, the name myname.mt will become blocked so that no one else can register this second level domain name. Furthermore, if no one else is blocking this name (hence the name is not in conflict), you can register myname.mt for free for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period. After the Preferential Registration Period normal registration fees will apply.

12. Will it cost me more to continue renewing my existing domain name?
No, the renewals fees for existing domain names will remain the same. NIC(Malta) is also introducing a new fee structure applicable as from 1 December 2020 that will see existing annual registration fees halved.

13. What is a Legacy Holder?
A Legacy Holder is the Holder of a duly registered domain name before 1 June 2016.

14. Should I register the blocked domain name corresponding to my existing third level domain name?
If you are the Holder of a legacy third level domain name (registered before 1 June 2016), say myname.com.mt, then the corresponding second level domain name (myname.mt) will become automatically blocked during the Preferential Registration Period. However, at the expiry of this period, any remaining blocked non-conflicting domain names will become available for anyone to register on a first-come first-served basis. Therefore, if you wish to start using the new second level domain name version or if you wish to protect the domain name at the second level, then you have to register the corresponding second level domain name before the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period.

Preferential Rights to Existing Domain Holders

15. What is the Preferential Registration Period?
The Preferential Registration Period starts from 1 December 2017 (the Launch Date) for a period of three years. During this period, any existing and validly registered third level domain name that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.com.mt) will have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) blocked. Non-conflicted blocked domain names may only be registered by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name. For example, only the Holder of myname.com.mt may register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period (assuming that this is not conflicted). Also, the additional registration of myname.mt will be free of charge for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period as long as myname.com.mt remains validly registered. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, new Holders who register a second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) are also entitled to register for free a corresponding third level domain name that the Holder may qualify for (e.g. myname.com.mt), if this is available.

16. What is a blocked domain name?
A blocked domain name is a second level domain name that cannot be registered during the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder who has a corresponding third level domain name. Every third level domain name which is duly registered and that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.org.mt) will have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) automatically blocked for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period. Note that a blocked domain name still cannot be used until this is registered. If a blocked and non-conflicting domain name is not registered before the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period, then this will become available for registration by anybody on a first-come first-served basis. For the avoidance of doubt, Holders of Legacy 3LD names having the Registered Label com, org, net, edu or gov shall not have their corresponding 2LD name blocked and shall not be entitled to register this.

17. Do I need to do anything to block the corresponding second level domain name?
No, if you are the Holder of say myname.org.mt, then myname.mt will be automatically blocked for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period.

18. What is a conflicted domain name?
A conflicted second level domain name is one that is blocked by more than one Holder. For example, the Holders of myname.org.mt and myname.com.mt both block myname.mt. In this case the conflicted second level domain name cannot be registered by anyone. This conflicted state remains true as long as there is more than one Holder blocking the name, even beyond the Preferential Registration Period.

19. How can I register my corresponding second level domain name?
During the Preferential Registration Period, you will be able to register the corresponding second level domain name at any time free of charge, as long as this is not conflicted. Renewal fees will also be free for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period (pro rata). After the Preferential Registration Period, no second level domain names will remain blocked (except conflicted names), and these will become available for registration by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.

20. How can I check if the domain name that I am blocking is not conflicted?
As of 1 December 2017, you can check the status of a domain name by accessing https://conflict.nic.org.mt. A domain name may be shown in anyone of the following states:
  • Available – the domain name is available to be registered by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Registered – the domain name is already registered by a Holder and is not available for registration.
  • Blocked – the domain name is blocked by a Holder of a corresponding third level domain name. This is not available for registration during the entire duration (as long as it remains blocked) of the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name.
  • Conflicted – the domain name is blocked by two different Holders and cannot be registered.
  • Prohibited – the domain name is not allowed to be registered due to some technical or other reason.

21. I want to register a conflicted domain name, what can I do to register it?
You cannot register a conflicted domain name as long as this remains in the conflicted state. As of 1 December 2017 you will be able to use NIC(Malta)’s service available at https://conflict.nic.org.mt to determine the other domain/s that are causing the conflict. Using this information, the contact details of the Holder or the Administrative Agent can be found through the whois service at https://www.nic.org.mt/whois. If the other Holder/s stop registering the domain name that is causing the conflict, or submit in writing that they are renouncing their right to continue blocking their corresponding second level domain name such that only you remain blocking the corresponding second level domain name, then this becomes available for registration by you. If a conflicted domain name becomes available, the remaining Holder has either one year from the date that this becomes available or until the end of the Preferential Registration Period – which ever date comes later, to decide whether or not to register this name until this becomes available to other parties on a first come first served basis.

22. I have registered my domain name on or after the 1 June 2016 but before 1 December 2017, what is my status?
This depends on the particular name that you have registered. If, as on 1 December 2017, your registered label does not conflict with any other domain name, then for all intents and purposes your registration would be considered on par with those registered before 1 June 2016. On the other hand, if your registered label is the same as another one registered before 1 June 2016, then the registered name would be considered as if it was registered after the launching of the new policy and no new conflicts are registered for the corresponding second level domain name. Another possibility is that two or more Holders register a conflicting domain name on or after the 1 June 2016 but before 1 December 2017. In this case the name is considered in conflict.

For example, you register myname.com.mt sometime on or after 1 June 2016 and before 1 December 2017. If no one else has registered myname.org.mt or myname.edu.mt or myname.net.mt or myname.gov.mt, then myname.mt becomes blocked and you would be able to register this name during the Preferential Registration Period when the new policy is launched. If on the other hand, say, someone else had registered myname.org.mt before 1 June 2016, then you would have no entitlements over myname.mt. In this case only the Holder of myname.org.mt would be able to register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period. For the third case, if one Holder registers myname.org.mt and another Holder registers myname.com.mt during this period, then myname.mt will become conflicted.

New Domain Name Registration

23. Who is eligible to register a domain name under .mt?
Any legal entity may register a domain name under .mt. There are no restrictions regarding the nationality or location of the entity. The policy puts some legal requirements on the potential Holder such as for example not to infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.

24. Should I register at the second level, third level or at both levels?
This depends on your particular circumstances and needs. If you wish to show the status of your organisation, then it might be a good idea to register under the appropriate second level hierarchal domain. For instance, if your organisation is a non-profit one and you wish to underline this, then you may consider registering myname.org.mt. If on the other hand you are, say, a commercial entity and do not wish to have clutter in your Internet branding, then you may wish to opt for myname.mt. Also, if your domain name does not naturally fit under any of the existing second level names, say you are registering a personal domain name, then your natural choice is to register directly at the second level. You may also wish to protect the use of the domain name. In which case, it makes sense to register under both the second and third level (say myname.com.mt and myname.mt). Note that the existing rules of registration at the third level will continue to be enforced. So, for example, if you are a commercial entity you would not be allowed to register myname.org.mt which is reserved for a non-profit organisation.

25. Why should I register in the .mt domain name space?
There could be several reasons why one would register a domain name in the .mt name space, including but not limited to:
  • The .mt name space enjoys a good reputation. Websites bearing this name are perceived to be dependable.
  • You identify your domain name with Malta.
  • The required name is not available under other top-level domains such as .com.
  • You wish to protect your name also in the .mt name space.

26. I want to register a new .mt domain name, how does this new policy affect me?
With the new domain registration policy introduced 1 December 2017, if you wish, say, to register the name myname and you are a commercial entity, then you have the option to register either myname.com.mt or myname.mt (if they are available). If you register myname.mt you may also optionally register and renew for free myname.com.mt for the entire duration of the Preferential Registration Period. After the Preferential Registration Period, normal registration and renewal fees would apply.

27. Will it cost me more to register new domain names at the second level?
No, the registration fees for new domain names at the second level will be the same as when registering third level domain names under .com.mt or .net.mt. Registering third level domain names under .edu.mt or .org.mt will however remain cheaper than registering domain names under .com.mt or .net.mt, and will be cheaper than registering second level domain names under .mt. NIC(Malta) is also introducing a new fee structure applicable as from 1 December 2020 that will see existing registration fees halved.

28. Can I register a blocked domain name?
You can only register a blocked domain name if you are also the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name, otherwise this is not possible during the Preferential Registration Period. For example, if myname.mt is blocked (and not conflicted) and you are the Holder of myname.org.mt, then you may register myname.mt at any time, for free, during the Preferential Registration Period.

29. Can I register a conflicted domain name?
No, this is not possible as long as this remains in the conflicted state.

30. How do I check if I can register a second or a third level domain name?
As of 1 December 2017, the status of a second or a third level domain name may be determined by accessing https://conflict.nic.org.mt. A domain name may be shown in anyone of the following states:
  • Available – the domain name is available to be registered by anyone on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Registered – the domain name is already registered by a Holder and is not available for registration.
  • Blocked – the domain name is blocked by a Holder of a corresponding third level domain name. This name is not available for registration during the entire duration (as long as it remains blocked) of the Preferential Registration Period except by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name.
  • Conflicted – the domain name is blocked by at least two different Holders and cannot be registered.
  • Prohibited – the domain name is not allowed to be registered due to some technical or other reason.

Important dates in the New Policy

31. What is the Preferential Registration Period?
The Preferential Registration Period starts from the date that the new policy is launched, i.e. 1 December 2017 (the Launch Date) for a period of three years. During this period, any existing and validly registered third level domain name that has been registered before 1 June 2016 (e.g. myname.com.mt) will have its corresponding second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) blocked. Non-conflicted blocked domain names may only be registered by the Holder of the corresponding third level domain name. For example, only the Holder of myname.com.mt may register myname.mt during the Preferential Registration Period (assuming that this is not conflicted). Also, the additional registration of myname.mt will be free of charge for the whole duration of the Preferential Registration Period as long as myname.com.mt remains validly registered. In addition, during the Preferential Registration Period, new Holders who register a second level domain name (e.g. myname.mt) are also entitled to register for free a corresponding third level domain name that the Holder may qualify for (e.g. myname.com.mt), if this is available.

32. What is the Legacy Date?
The Legacy Date is 1 June 2016 at 00:01 Hours and is the date when NIC(Malta) initiated the Public Consultation period on the proposed draft domain registration policy for the .mt name space. In order to avoid speculation, any new third level domain names registered after this date which would lead to a conflict with existing ones would not be afforded any of the additional rights granted during the Preferential Registration Period. By way of example, if myname.org.mt was registered before 1 June 2016, and someone else registers myname.com.mt on or after 1 June 2016, then the Holder of myname.com.mt would not have any entitlement over myname.mt.

33. What is the Launch Date?
The Launch Date is the date when the new policy is launched and becomes effective, i.e. 1 December 2017 at 00:01 Hours.

34. What is the Cut-off Date?
This is the date following which preferential treatment afforded to Holders of domain names during the Preferential Registration Period expires, i.e. 30 November 2020 at 23:59 Hours. For most Holders, it is the end of the Preferential Registration Period. This is 3 years from Launch date. For the special case of Holders that had a conflicted domain name that had been eventually released by all other conflicting Holders, the Cut-off date may be extended by up to a maximum of one year following the date when the conflict would have been resolved, if this is later than the expiry of the Preferential Registration Period.