The frequently asked questions consist of a summary of the most frequent inquiries received from our clients about SaudiNIC, its registration services, procedures, policies, …etc. We recommend going through them prior to contact our staff in case of any issues.

What is SaudiNIC?

Saudi Network Information Center (SaudiNIC) is responsible for the administration of the domain name space for the country code (ccTLD) of Saudi Arabia (.SA) as well as the IDN ccTLD (.السعودية). This includes the operation of the Saudi DNS root servers and the registry services under Saudi TLDs . SaudiNIC was managed and operated by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) since 1995. By the end of 2006 the task of operating SaudiNIC moved to the Communications, Space & Technology Commission (CST).

What are the tasks that SaudiNIC responsible for?

The mission of SaudiNIC is to provide an equitable, just and competent technical and administrative management of domain name registrations for Internet community in Saudi Arabia. The main tasks of SaudiNIC are:

  • Setting up policies regulating domain name registrations.
  • supervision Registras and supervise the management of the Saudi domain name infrastructure.
  • Lead the effort toward supporting Arabic domain names. Coordinating with other GCC, Arab, and International ccTLDs.
  • Participating in international events supervised by ICANN, RIPE, ISOC, and WIPO related to domain.

What are the office hours?

SaudiNIC works daily from Sunday to Thursday, from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, except Fridays and Saturdays. SaudiNIC’s provides its services partially during Eid vacations.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a series of letters, numbers and some special characters, which together represent a form legible and easy to remember. It is used to determine a website on the internet which is used as a readable alternative from an IP address that is used effectively to identify sites and directing Internet traffic.

What is DNS?

The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) is a set of distributed databases containing IP addresses and their corresponding domain names. Each domain name is mapped to a particular numeric address. DNS, with servers located all over the Internet, performs the translation back and forth between names and numbers.

This scheme enables users to invoke an easy-to-remember name (e.g. www.nic.sa) instead of a more mysterious string of numbers (e.g. when using the Internet.

Why do I need to register a domain name ?

Based in the current internet protocol it is almost impossible to publish a website working in a normal way without a domain name .

How to write a Saudi domain name under (.sa)? A typical .sa domain name consists of two or three parts (labels) separated by (.) and looks like:

.sa or . .sa

Where can be one of the 2nd level top domains, such as: .com.sa, net.sa, org.sa, edu.sa, gov.sa, ..etc. A label can contain any combination of letters (a-z), numbers (0-9), and a hyphen (-). It’s length between 2 and 63 characters long.

How does (.sa) ccTLD differ from (.com) gTLD?

The (.sa) is the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) designated for domain names in Saudi Arabia. While (.com) is a generic Top Level Domain (gTLDs) that is open for commercial entities and others world-wide. The policies and administration of the (.sa) domain name are set and managed by SaudiNIC in CST. While gTLDs are managed by ICANN.

Do I need to register my domain name under gTLDs (e.g., .com, .net, .شبكة، .موقع) after I registered it under Saudi TLDs (.sa, com.sa, net.sa, .السعودية, …etc)?

The ccTLD sub-domains (.sa, .com.sa, .net.sa,.السعودية .. etc.) are for entities in Saudi Arabia while gTLDs (e.g., .com, .net, .شبكة، .موقع) are open for entities world-wide. We recommend for Saudi entities to register their domain names under Saudi TLDs (.sa, com.sa, net.sa, .السعودية, …etc) and as under some gTLDs if needed.

What type of domain name should I apply for?

This depends on the nature of your organization (see Domains under .SA in the Domain Name Regulation in Saudi Arabia).

How do I choose a domain name for my organization?

It is common that a domain name is driven from the registrant name (e.g., abbreviations, acronyms, part of the name) or from a registered trademark owned by the registrant. Please see “Criteria to Demonstrate Reasonable Relationship between a Domain Name and a Registrant”

Can I check if a domain name is available?

Yes, you can by using the Whois service that is available on SaudiNIC website.

Who will be given a domain name if there are two requests for the same domain name?

The domain name will be registered for the first entity that submits a complete and valid request.

What do I need in order to apply for a Domain Name in Saudi Arabia?

Please see “Domain name registration steps”.

How long does it take to register my new domain name with SaudiNIC?

SaudiNIC is committed to process any request within 3 full working days at max. Noting that, on average one hour is consumed to process a request during the business hours after correctly receiving it, provided it meets all the requirements and conditions.

I am concerned about my privacy specially in the information published by the Whois service?

As part of the registry obligations SaudiNIC must publish enough information about the registrants, but the published information are only general information like the entity name and the admin name. With the exception of the information available to the public, SaudiNIC will not reveal any documentations or information about any domain name except in the following cases:

As a prerequisite for the implementation of This Regulation, or other regulations issued by SaudiNIC. Compliance with an order from a pertinent Saudi authority including any judicial authority.

Who should be the administrative contact?

The administrative contact should be a person who can speak on behalf of the Applicant (e.g. general manager, director of IT department) and he should be from the organization requesting the domain name. He/she should be located in KSA. He should be able to contact SaudiNIC and change any information for the registered domain name. In the event that the administrative coordinator left work or changed, then SaudiNIC must be informed who is the new administrative contact according to the procedures established by SaudiNIC.

Is there any recommendation about the email address for the Admin contact?

The following are some recommendations that will help in the selection of an appropriate e-mail address for the Administrative Contact, taking into account the credibility and ease of change even in the event of Registrant's domain malfunction:

  • The e-mail address must be valid, functional and can be reached at any time, any place
  • The e-mail address must belong to the Administrative Contact and not the service provider (e.g, hosting company or the account holder).
  • The e-mail address is preferably not linked to the registered domain name. Hence, it will not be disabled in case the domain name is down.
  • The e-mail address is preferably - for large entities – to be general and associated with a job or a role rather than a personal name, as they may change with time, such as (gm@example.sa).
  • Note that the email address of the Administrative Contact can be updated automatically if the previous email is valid, functional and can be accessed by following "Domain name modification steps". However, in case the e-mail address of the Administrative Contact is not accessible and there is a need to change it, then " Nominating a new administrative contact steps" should be used. These steps usually involve some procedures and coordination that may take some time to implement.

The Admin contact does not exist anymore in our company. What can we do to change to the new admin?

If the current Admin contact is available and willing to corporate, then the change is done using (Domain name modification steps). Otherwise, if the Admin contact is not available or not cooperating, then the change is done using (Updating registrant identity and administrative contact ).

We have a registered domain with SaudiNIC and we want to know the e-mail address of the domain’s administrative contact?

SaudiNIC does not disclose its customers’ private information. However, if the purpose is to verify whether the e-mail address registered with us or not, then you may wish to use the tool (Guide me) provided within your SaudiNIC’s account. It will not display the full e-mail address, but it will give a some hint.

As a non-Saudi entity can we register a domain name under .sa TLD?

One of the following should be true for an Applicant requesting domain name registration under SA domain:

  1. An entity physically located in Saudi Arabia;

  2. A natural person, not underage, with a Saudi national identification card or equivalent document issued by the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia;

  3. An entity with a registration or license issued by a pertinent authority in Saudi Arabia;

  4. An owner of a trademark or trade name that is registered in Saudi Arabia.

Can I register my personal name?

Individuals can register under the following domains (pub.sa, .sa, or .السعودية) personal names, as expressed in the regulations as follows: “Individuals may register personal names, whether first or family name (e.g., Ahmad, Ali or Alfulani). The chosen name should be followed by at least one numerical digit. Combining two or more names together is allowed without using numerical digits.” To clarify this, let us assume the following example where the Person Name is : (أحمد الفلاني ) Ahmad Alfulani : Acceptable Examples:

ahmad7.pub.sa alfulani01.sa أحمد7.السعودية ahmadalfulani.pub.sa أحمد-الفلاني.السعودية Unacceptable Examples: أحمد.السعودية الفلاني.السعودية ahmad.sa alfulani.sa

Individuals can register under the following domains (pub.sa, .sa, or .السعودية) using a copy of a national ID card.

I want to register domain names under (.com.sa) for my clients, what type of applicants that you accept?

Whether your customers are local or foreign entities, they are treated just like any other applicants, so they should satisfy local presence within one of the following conditions:

  1. An entity physically located in Saudi Arabia;
  2. A natural person, not underage, with a Saudi national identification card or equivalentdocument issued by the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia;
  3. An entity with a registration or license issued by a pertinent authority in Saudi Arabia;
  4. An owner of a trademark or trade name that is registered in Saudi Arabia.

My company is the sole agent for a product in Saudi Arabia. Can I register that product name or trade mark under (com.sa) ? and How?

Yes, and it is registered in the same way as other domains, but you need to provide a valid trade mark certificate or commercial agency contract certificate as part of the documents submitted to SaudiNIC . Please see “Domain name registration steps”

The Saudi domain name regulation defined a number of activities associated with the domain names that are considered to be prohibited and if committed by the registrant will cause the suspension or deletion of the domain name. For examples, a registrant may not register, use, or maintain a domain name, nor submit any Service Request related to it as a mean to do or to support any of the following activities:

  • Reselling or renting the domain name

  • Domain name warehousing.

  • Cyber-squatting or phishing other websites and services

  • Acquiring fraudulently personal or confidential information or other means of identification

  • Spamming or sending malicious e-mails

  • Hosting or distributing malware

  • Hijacking domain names

  • Cracking systems and networks, or perform denial of service attacks

  • Activities or content against the Islamic religion or Saudi laws and regulations (e.g., pornography, illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling and intellectual property piracy)

  • Activities classified as information crimes according to the pertinent regulations

  • Activities that are in violation of This Regulation or any SaudiNIC regulations and procedures.

SaudiNIC may add additional prohibited activities. In that case, it will be posted on SaudiNIC website., for updates please refer to SaudiNIC’s website.

If I registered a domain name, can someone else use it ?

If you registered a domain name, no one else is allowed to use it even for non-profit purposes, except after SaudiNIC permission.

Can I transfer a domain name to another entity (giving up the domain)?

Yes, please see (Domain name transfer steps).

Can I delete a registered domain name?

Yes, domain name deletion is one of the services provided by SaudiNIC, the registrant may need to provide a delete request letter explaining the reasons of the domain deletion. For more information see (Domain name deletion steps)

My domain name was registered based on old regulations; will the new regulations’ terms and conditions be applied on me?

As it is well known that the regulations are subject to change and update from time to time, so Registrants shall be bound by any revised terms and conditions as well as any additional terms and conditions. Therefore, a continuation use of the domain name by a registrant shall constitute that the registrant acceptance of the revised and new terms and conditions. Registrant not willing to be bound by any of such changes shall submit a service request to SaudiNIC for cancellation of its domain name registration. The registrant acknowledges and agrees that cancellation will be its exclusive remedy whether it is from a request from the registrant or as a result of not willing to abide by any changes to the regulation.

It seems that there is a registered domain name that is not used. Can we re-register it and use it?

Domain names remains registered to the registrant unless the registrant explicitly delete the domain name or transfer it to another entity.

What should I do if I found that a Saudi domain name is being used to conduct an inappropriate action?

In this case, please contact SaudiNIC directly. This will help us stopping those actions and protecting the users from inappropriate actions, and it will also keep the Saudi domain name space save and trusted .

My organization registered a domain name through an ISP, who owns that domain, our organization or the ISP?

Domain names are not properties to be owned, but they will be registered by the organizations that will use the domain name and not their agents (e.g., ISPs).

I want to change my Internet Provider, what should I do?

After setting up your services with the new provider, all what you need is to perform a (domain modify) request using your account on SaudiNIC’s portal. For more information see (Domain name modification steps).

I need to change/update some of my domain (zone) records (e.g., mx records)?

The administration and management of your zone file fall within the responsibility of the DNS hosting provider, which hosts your domain name information. Thus, you should communicate with them directly.

Do I need to have a web site (ready or hosted) to register a domain name?

No, you only need to provide SaudiNIC with the two name servers that are hosting your domain name from DNS point of view, and have your domain registered. All this does not require having your web-site ready.

What are DNS (primary or secondary) servers and how to get them?

A primary DNS server is the server that store the original zone file of a domain name. Any change or update to the zone information is done through this server that also responds to any inquiry about the domain name. While a secondary DNS server gets a copy of the zone file from the primary DNS server. It responds to any queries about the domain name but it does not do any update or change to the zone information directly. You can get DNS servers from ISPs, web hosting service providers, or from your entity’s IT department.

Why DNS query returns NS records in a random order? Is it possible to impose strict ordering for the name servers?

Most name server implementations do not provide or support strict ordering of NS records. This is due to the fact that the domain system was designed with the assumption that all NS records listed for a zone give the same answer for a given query in that zone. Fortunately, the domain system achieves load-balancing and failover between name servers (NS'es) automatically. This is because that most well-known name resolver implementations (e.g., BIND) keep track of how quickly name servers answer, and will prefer faster name servers over slower ones. Thus, no need to impose a strict ordering on NS records for performance or capacity reasons. For that reason, strict ordering of NS records is not implemented by the domain system. For further reading, please see: RFC 1033: DOMAIN ADMINISTRATORS OPERATIONS GUIDE http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1033.html.

Is it necessary that the name server be located in Saudi Arabia?

No, it is not a prerequisite for correct hosting or legitimate for registration. They can be in any place on the Internet as long as they work and can be reached over the Internet. However, SaudiNIC recommends that the name servers be located within Saudi Arabia (practically government entities).

What is the meaning of (Not hosted domain name ) ?

That means the domain name in question was not added to the domain name servers, or it was added incorrectly or partially. all those cases will lead to a technical problems that might prevent the users from reaching the website with the domain in question . Please note that it is the registrant responsibility to provide at least two DNS servers with permanent IP connectivity to the Internet. Each DNS server must be capable of receiving queries for the domain name and responding thereto. The Registrant may contract a third party to provide these DNS servers in accordance with the provided requirements.

What are the differences between domain name hosting and web hosting and which one of them comes first?

A domain name hosting is to setup two active name servers on the Internet that store all the information about the domain name and reply for any query about it. While a web hosting is a service that comes after domain name hosting which hosts the web pages related to that domain name.

Dose SaudiNIC provides Web/Email hosting and Web designing?

No, it does not. However, you can get them from any entity that provides these services on the Internet (like ISPs in Saudi Arabia).

Are there any companies that provide domain name hosting? Is it possible to recommend any of them?

Yes, there are many available companies whether locally in the Kingdom or outside that offer domain name hosting services mostly ISPs. SaudiNIC staff are not allowed to give any recommendations regarding those companies .

What is an Arabic domain name ?

This name refer to a specific type of domains that are registered by SaudiNIC under the Saudi IDN ccTLD (.السعودية). They are totally written in Arabic. They are used exactly like the normal domain names.

How can we host Arabic domain names, and where ?

Hosting Arabic domain names is exactly like hosting any other domain and it is done in the same way, but the first step is to convert the domain name from IDN to ASCII using any tool ( one is published on SaudiNIC website) , the result from the converting is what will be actually hosted .

You can link (fetch) a domain name to your account by following the "Steps for fetching a domain name"

Does the SaudiNIC’s portal provide a domain control panel?

User accounts represent the main channel to enter SaudiNIC portal and then get the services related to Saudi domain names. This includes reviewing registered domains, submitting and reviewing service requests, as well as crating and reviewing e-tickets.

I have an account on SaudiNIC’s portal, and I forgot the password?

You can reset your password by filling out a special form designated for that. For more detail, please see "Password reset steps" These steps require the following:

Your ability to access and use the email address associated with this account for the purpose of activating the password reset. knowing the correct answer to the secret question.

But, if also you have forgotten the answer to the secret question, then you should use the following form. For more details, see "Steps for obtaining password and secret question after forgetting them both". This requires providing SaudiNIC with the mobile number associated with. So that, after validating the input data with account information stored in the system, you'll receive an SMS message with the new password.

Nevertheless, in the case the mobile number is also inaccurate or has been changed, then there is no remedy except creating a new account and then fetching the required domains to it.