New dot-ca registry goes live

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority unveiled its revamped dot-ca domain registration system on Wednesday, which now lets users auto-renew their domains.

The announcement means CIRA, the organization responsible for managing dot-ca domain names, has officially moved off of its aging proprietary system and replaced it with a system that uses the same industry standards other popular top-level domains use. CIRA’s new system, which enables Web site registrars such as Inc. and Tucows Inc. to validate addresses in the dot-ca database, has been in development for about two years.

The most noticeable change for IT administrators who manage dot-ca domains will be the new auto-renewal capability. The new feature will allow domain purchasers to indefinitely roll over their registration until they proactively request to halt it, said Byron Holland, president and CEO at CIRA.

“Large enterprises don’t want to worry about this and the average IT shop can have a lot of staff turnover,” he said. “We heard the demand for this loud and clear and this will be a significant benefit for large portfolios.”

Under the old system, users would receive multiple notices from CIRA and their Web site registrar to renew their dot-ca addresses. Additionally, anytime a user purchased a new domain name from a registrar, CIRA’s system required it to send a follow-up e-mail or call to the purchaser for security verification.

“This often led to surprise and confusion from users,” Holland said.

While the extra step bolstered security in the early days of the Internet, he added, the domain registration industry isn’t the “wild west” anymore. With the registry rewrite, CIRA decided to put more responsibility into the hands of the domain registrars and streamline the process for customers.

“We’re pulling back a bit from the transaction, empowering registrar partners, and demanding more responsibility from them,” Holland said.

“We’re getting out of their kitchen, which is something they’ve long asked for,” he added.

Jody Kolker, director of registrar services at, said the rollout of the new CIRA changes have gone smoothly. The streamlined process will be noticeable anytime a user registers a new domain or makes a change to an existing one.

“Go Daddy is all about making things easy for our customers and the changes CIRA is making is doing just that,” Kolker said in a statement to ComputerWorld Canada. “Customers will notice it is much easier to perform certain tasks with their dot-ca domain name, saving them time to work on what’s really important — their website.”

In addition to giving up some control to domain registrars, CIRA also scrapped the 27-page registrant agreement dot-ca buyers were required to sign and created a much smaller terms of agreement.

“It’s about a third of the size of the old one,” Holland said.

CIRA is also promising a faster system that will increase the speed of getting domains registered and running. Holland said rather than taking a few seconds to create and model a domain, the system can now handle several domains per second.

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