How to choose a domain name

What kind of name should you choose?

For a company or an organization, it may be smart to choose a domain name that is easy to relate to the enterprise. It may be a company name, a product name, a trademark, or the name of a project. You can use the whole name, or just part of it. It should also be easy to market.

A private individual may as well choose her or his name, but some choose something completely different, like the name of their pet, a name from the area where they live, or the name of a club.

Where should your domain be positioned in the name tree?

Within .no there are several second level domain names indicating different branches. The branches represent the "name tree". Both companies and individuals may registerer domain names in several branches. here are the possibilities:

Directly within the .no top level

These are all registrations of the type chosenname.no. It is often logical and practical to have the name registered directly within .no.

Within a branch domain

Branch domains are used to gather organizations with common characteristics. An example is the branch domain folkebibl.no where all the municipal public libraries ("folkebiblioteker") in Norway are collected. For instance, one of the domain names registered in this category is trondheim.folkebibl.no. Other examples of branch domains are dep.no (Norwegian Government), idrett.no (sport), kommune.no (municipalities) and vgs.no ("videregående skoler" - upper secondary schools).

Private individuals can register in the category priv.no, which is for individuals only.

Check the list of branch domains managed by Norid and branch domains within .no that are managed by others. If your organization belongs to one of these categories, you should apply for a domain name in the form domain-name.generic-domain.no

Within a geographical domain
You can register the organization in the geographical name tree if you want to indicate a geographical affiliation. We recommend this if your organization works within a particular geographical area. You can then avoid being mistaken for other organizations that have similar names but are located in a different region. From 17 June 2014 this possibility will be opened also for private individuals. See the list of the geographical domains for counties, municipalities and urban areas.

Find out whether the name is available

Check if the name is available, or ask your registrar.

Investigate whether others have rights to the name you want

In principle, you are free to choose a domain name. However, you cannot choose a name that is in use by other organizations, or a name that is prohibited or reserved for technical, ethical or national considerations. You have also a duty to ensure that your registration of the domain name does not infringe another party's right to the same name.

  • Find out whether anyone else has registered rights to the name. Places to search are The Brønnøysund Register Centre, The Trademark Register and The Patent Register.
  • Some parties may have rights to names that are not registered; for example, a name may be protected because it has been in use for a long time, even if it does not represent a trademark. Here, caution is needed.

As an applicant you are responsible for evaluating how thoroughly you need to investigate the situation before you apply for a name. If you are not sure whether you can use the name, ask your registrar.

Which characters can you use in the name?

A domain name must consist of at least 2 and at most 63 characters. The name can consist of

  • letters according to this list of 49 letter characters
  • digits from 0 to 9
  • hyphen (but note that the name cannot start or end with a hyphen)

The character set covers all the official Norwegian written languages, that is, Norwegian bokmål, Norwegian nynorsk, North Sámi, South Sámi and Lule Sámi. Capital letters are not used in domain names.

Names containing only standard characters (a-z, 0-9, and hyphen) are more robust than names with special Norwegian or Sámi characters. This is because many email programmes do not support special national characters in addresses.

More about the use of special Norwegian characters in domain names..

How many domains can you have?

Companies and other organizations

Private individuals

  • up to 5 domains directly within .no
  • up to 5 domains within priv.no
  • up to 5 domains within each geographical domain administrated by Norid

If you have filled up your quotas and need more names, you must delete old names before you can register new ones.

Domain names within .com, .org or other top level domains are independent from registrations within .no, and are not counted in this quota.

Last modified 6 July 2014