Applying for an AC.ZA domain

Application Process

Applications for the creation of a new domain name under AC.ZA should be made directly to TENET by the Principal, Registrar, Chief Information Officer, Director of Information Technology or other executive officer who represents the entire Institution as a juristic person, and who will serve as the Administrative Contact person for the Institution in respect of all domains that it holds.

Applications must be made by the Registrant directly, and applications that are made by faculties, departments or other units that are not juristic persons in their own right, or that are made by Internet Service Providers or other agents on behalf of the Institution will not be considered . This is different from the process used by other domains and allows us to process the eligibility requirements more efficiently.

Applications must reflect the correct legal name of the Registrant (as recorded in, e.g. an institutional statute, CIPC, or other registration documentation).

All applications must be made using the application form available at the bottom of this page.


When evaluating new applications from eligible institutions, the Moderator applies the following criteria:

  1. The domain name must reflect the identity of the Institution, but must not be a name that is generic or in common use (e.g. names such as “”, “”, “” and the like will not be accepted). Generic domain names, which could be applicable to a number of eligible sites, must provide evidence that they have the backing and approval from the majority of relevant members of the academic and/or the research community, in order to be permitted to have that generic domain name.
  2. The Registrant is solely responsible for the choice of the domain name and is required certify that the proposed name does not infringe existing trademarks, copyrights or intellectual property rights of other parties. Registrants are required to indemnify TENET from any liability or damages arising from the choice of the domain name.
  3. The name must not, in the Moderator’s opinion, present a substantial risk of confusion with similar domain names or other institutions already registered under AC.ZA.
  4. The name may not be one that is currently a second-level domain name under the .ZA domain (e.g. ORG, CO, NET and the like), nor a top-level domain name in the DNS (e.g. COM, EDU, UK, ZA and the like). In addition, reserved names mentioned in RFC2606 , RFC6761 , RFC6762 , or RFC7686 may not be registered.
  5. Domain names that start with the characters “xn–” (i.e. “xn” followed by two dashes) may only be used for Internationalised Domain Names.
  6. Departments, faculties or other sub-divisions within an eligible organisation are not eligible for a separate domain name and should use a sub-domain of the eligible organisation’s domain name.
  7. In exceptional circumstances, service-specific domains names may be considered where it is the Moderator’s opinion that these are in the best interests of the sector. Applications for such domains are considered on a case-by-case basis.

DNS Servers

The Registrant must willing and able to provide and maintain appropriate DNS nameservers for the proposed domain in accordance with established Internet practice , either themselves or through a contract with an ISP or other third-party DNS hosting provider.

At a minimum, this means that the Registrant must provide two geographically diverse nameservers that answer authoritatively for their proposed domain. These must be configured in advance of the application: before registering a new domain the Administrator or Registry Operator will test the efficacy of the Domain Name Service that has been set up for it.

AC.ZA supports the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and will publish trust anchors (DS records) on request.

Processing time

When evaluating requests for new AC.ZA domains the Administrator needs to (re-)determine eligibility . In the case of private higher educational institutions, this is a complex process that can take some time. While the Administrator typically aims to reach a decision within seven days, this sometimes depends on verifying parties responding timeously.


There is currently no charge for eligible institutions to register or renew an AC.ZA domain.


The AC.ZA application form is available here. (PDF)