What Is A .ca Domain?




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Everyone is familiar with the top-level Domain, .com, the US commercial TLD? After all, we’ve been living in the .com age since the dawn of the internet. However, it’s by no means the only TLD in town.

Most countries have their own TLD operated by a national internet registration authority, and Canada has one of the most recognizable local TLDs in the world — .ca domain!

image of a keyboard with a .ca key. The words around the key say whats is a .ca domain.

Why Would You Choose .ca?

.ca Is Easy To Remember

Simple and snappy, internet users worldwide will commit your web address to memory without even trying, which is good if you share a similar second-level domain with a .com and need your visitors to specify your site with a TLD.

It’s Not Very Competitive

.ca sits right in the Goldilocks zone between the market saturation of .com and the obscure TLDs that no one knows, such as .wang — Hilarious, I know.

This means you’re not competing with as many sites for second-level domain names; thus, you won’t have to settle for a long web address.

More often than not, your first choice will be available, so you don’t have to compromise on your brand ideas. Yet, neither are you fighting for prominence with a TLD like .ca, as it’s recognized worldwide, which helps to build trust among your audience.

It Tells The World You’re A Canadian Operation

Speaking of brands, Canada has become a pretty great one in the eyes of the rest of the world, as, whether Canadians like it or not, the land of maple trees will always be compared and contrasted to the US.

In light of this, some domain experts now believe .ca to have more brand appeal on a global scale than .com.

.ca Implies Some Handy Bits Of Information

Not only will you benefit from the general branding of the .ca TLD, but your visitors will instantly benefit from the information it implies.

For example, they know as soon as they peep that sweet .ca.

  • You and your business prop up the Canadian economy.
  • Your currency of choice is the Canadian dollar.
  • Shipping rates within Canada will be reasonable.
  • Shipping will be efficient and pain-free to organize.
  • You contribute to the welfare of the nation by paying Canadian taxes.

Who Can Register A .ca Domain?

.ca all sounds pretty good so far, huh? But unfortunately, it’s not fair game for everyone to use, which is part of why it’s seen as such a valuable asset.

The Canadian Presence Requirements dictate eligibility. So, let’s look at them and see if you qualify for that prime TLD.

Valid entities include:

  • A Canadian citizen or at least a permanent resident of the age of majority.

This is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, and 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon.

  • An organization officially recognized as Canadian.
  • An indigenous resident of Canada, i.e., Inuit, Métis, or First Nation.
  •  A foreign resident of Canada with a trademark registered in the country.
  • An Indian Band as described in the Indian Act of Canada.
  • A legal representative of an individual or organization who qualifies for the .ac TLD, i.e., an executor or administrator.
  • A member of the Canadian monarch, which is to say, a member of the English monarchy.
  • A division of the Canadian government.
image is of someone typing on a keyboard. There are circles an lines in the image. The words say .ca & Third-Level Domains

.ca & Third-Level Domains

Most TLDs can be paired with second-level domains, third-level domains, and beyond, but CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) retired the option.

Not too long ago, a wealth of qualifying domain levels was mandatory in Canada. However, this was causing significant holdups in registration cues while simultaneously forcing people to use clunkier web addresses.

Eventually, Canadians began choosing to pay a premium for .com or other TLDs just to avoid the delay. Therefore, CIRA decided to democratize the simple .ca TLD, meaning all eligible parties could use it.

This led to a dramatic dip in the number of third-level domain requests. Thus, CIRA decided to do away with these elongated addresses altogether. Pre-existing third-level domains are still supported, but no longer can you apply to have one of the following regional third-level domains registered:

  • .ab.ca
  • .bc.ca
  • .mb.ca
  • .nb.ca
  • .nf.ca
  • .nl.ca
  • .ns.ca
  • .nt.ca
  • .nu.ca
  • .on.ca
  • .pe.ca
  • .qc.ca
  • .sk.ca
  • .yk.ca

.ca Naming Restrictions

Before you contact CIRA with your domain registration application, a few naming restrictions may apply to the average person trying to register a domain.

  • If only diacritical accents separate multiple domain names, they cannot be owned by multiple people. For example, if someone had a website called metro.ca, someone else couldn’t register a website called métro.ca.
  • Most expletives will not be registered, so keep it clean, folks!
  • Almost all two-letter names are reserved for other applications.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, .ca domain is Canada’s internet country code top-level domain. As far as TLDs go, it’s pretty well respected but not open to anyone.

To qualify to register a Canadian domain, you must belong to one of the groups established in the Canadian Presence Requirements.

Unlike many other TLDs that are, in one way or another, fighting for as much exposure as possible, Canada is happy for .ca to remain exclusive, thereby protecting the brand and ensuring the Canadian people benefit from their native land’s Domain.

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