Latest update: Apply for your .africa domain name during General Availability with these Domain Registrars (Open to anyone)

What is EPP?

Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) is a new way of registering and maintaining domain names.


How EPP works

EPP is a client-server protocol where all communications use XML as defined by a series of schemas.


The normal conversation between a client and the server will be:

* Client connects to server over SSL.
* Server identifies itself and the commands and extensions that it supports.
* Client logs in by supplying login name and password.
* Client polls the server to see if there are any notifications waiting to be collected and then collects them (or it could do this later).
* Client issues commands to server, which then replies immediately with response status.
* Client then idles until it has more commands to send, polling periodically for any notifications.


Benefits of using EPP

The main benefits of using EPP are:

  • Responses to commands are generally instant. A command can be issued to register a domain, get a response and then confirm with the customer that this has happened all in real time.
  • Investment in EPP client programming should be transferrable when integrating with the EPP service of other registries.
  • Choosing when to collect notifications that we send you and can be sure that you have received them.


What you need to use EPP


You will either need to write your own EPP client or buy one off the shelf. EPP is not intended for an individual to type out an EPP command in the same way that you can with the Automaton. Your software will then need to be able to connect directly to the EPP server using SSL.

To connect to our EPP server you need to register for this service. We also provide an EPP testbed to allow you to test your EPP implementation.


CO.ZA custom extensions of EPP

EPP is an international standard, and is specified in RFCs 5730 to 5734. However, it was developed largely by those working for gTLD registries, who have a very different data model from us.  As a result the .co.za registry extended the standard definitions for domains, contacts and hosts to enable EPP to be used with its own data structure and to have access to the larger range of domain management commands used in the .co.za domain name system. Currently in development is a standard EPP implementation that more closely matches other gTLD registries. Standard EPP can be used with .co.za, however registrars will not have access to a number of functions that are specific to the .co.za registry.


All of the extensions creaetd and implemented by the .co.za registry conform to the guidelines for extending EPP given in RFC 5730.


To summarise the differences with the .co.za registry:


  • Developed unique mapping for domains and contacts to reflect the stored data.
  • Added a new object; named account; that represents account structure.
  • Used the EPP transfer command to represent unique release operation. This was considerably simpler to understand than using the EPP command extension mechanism.
  • Objects use local timestamps rather tha UTC timestamps. The timestamp returned in the element is UTC as specified in RFC 5730.


The EPP Protocol uses various commands to address and perform registry related functions. Below are links to examples of the current available functions of the co.za registry system.


Contact Operations

1. Create

2. Delete

3. Update

4. Info


Domain Operations

1. Check

2. Create

3. Delete

4. Update

5. Info

6. Renew

7. Transfer


Custom Extensions

1. Contact Extensions

2. Domain Extensions

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask your Domain Registrar or ISP about dotAfrica domain registrations. You may wish to participate in Sunrise if you have any rights to the name. Find a dotAfrica Domain Registrar here.

For the latest status updates, please visit dotafrica.org.

The .africa TLD will be launched in two phases, namely:

  • Sunrise and Landrush. For the Sunrise phase, trademark & brand names will be the priority. Landrush applications are usually for premium or sought-after domain names.
  • General Availability: This is the general open registration and continuous operations phase.

If you are a trademark holder ICANN prescribes a process, which we as the Registry Operator need to follow to ensure that genuine trademarks are protected and sold to the valid entity. The trademark holder will need to register their trademarks with the ICANN Trademark Clearing House or the Mark Validation System.

This will depend on individual Registrar pricing, in which launch phase you register the domain and if the domain is a premium name or not.

There are various protection mechanisms and policies, which the Registry Operator needs to adhere to and we are also bound by ICANN to make these policies part of our operations.

The various policies include:

  • Rights Protection Policies
  • Dispute Resolutions
  • Sunrise Policy
  • Landrush Policies, etc

See the Policy menu item above for more information.

Pre-registration .africa domain names will not be possible. Any application submitted during the dotAfrica Sunrise phase must have a corresponding validation token (SMD) in order to obtain the highest possible priority allocation.

If an applicant wants to secure the best possible claim to a domain name application during the launch, it must be associated with a pre-validated trade mark in either the TMCH or MVS. Without this a claim to the corresponding domain name is relegated to lesser priority status. The official way in which you can best secure your rights to a name in the new .africa namespace would be through the pre-validation of a registered mark.

See the MVS at www.markvalidation.com for more information.

For more detailed information on the launch program with the anticipated timelines, click here. If you have any rights to the .africa domain/s name you want, you should apply during Sunrise.

dotAfrica is the new Top Level Domain (TLD) for the African continent: It is an African initiative created by Africans for Africans and the worldwide audience of companies, organisations and individuals interested in, associated with and connected with the African community and markets.

The dotAfrica initiative is fully endorsed by the African Union (AU) and has widespread support across the continent - from African governments, the business sector, civil society and the technical community. dotAfrica is led by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee from across the continent.

Benefits of a dotAfrica TLD

  • Identify with the continent.
  • Showcase your brand and commitment to Africa's growth and development.
  • Expand your footprint and influence in the region.
  • Establish a home for Africa-specific services, products and information.
  • Acquire valuable online reale-state in a fast-growing high potential market.
  • Secure and protect your Intellectual Proerty Rights (IP).
  • Participate in Africa's online renaissance.