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Domain website goes live — briefly

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Digital age: a new Bermuda NIC website, where .bm top-level country code domains can be registered, briefly went live yesterday before being closed for maintenance

A website allowing Bermuda residents, organisations and businesses to register for an internet address featuring “.bm”, the country’s top-level domain, briefly went live yesterday.

However, it was taken offline after a few hours with visitors to the site being greeted with an “under maintenance” message.

The island has had the country code since 1993 and it was originally overseen by Bermuda College. However, it has fallen under the responsibility of the Registrar General since 2004.

Until this year it was free to register a .bm country code domain name. However, a fee structure has now been introduced.

“We were possibly the only jurisdiction that did not charge for its country code top-level domain name,” explained Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, in April, adding that the fees would support the online registration system and allow for more efficient administration of the .bm domain names for clients.

Registration of a new domain name costs $100, while a one-year renewal is $65.

The new Bermuda Network Information Centre website, where domain names can be registered, is at bermudanic.bm.

Other than the country code top-level domain .bm, there are options to secure second-level domains using com.bm, edu.bm, org.bm and net.bm.

The registration of .bm domain names was previously restricted to companies, charities and organisations who were registered to conduct business in Bermuda, or were resident in Bermuda. Now individuals can apply for a .bm domain, providing they have proof of Bermuda residency.

The cost of having a Bermuda domain is higher than a more universal top-level domain, such as .com, .org and .net, which in many instances can be registered with commercial companies for less than $10 annually.

Recognising this, Aubrey Pennyman, Registrar General, in April, said: “Although it is just as convenient, and in most cases cheaper, to have a .com domain name, having a .bm domain name is specific to Bermuda and is beneficial in targeting the local market.

“For entrepreneurs, whether providing goods or services on-island and/or overseas, a .bm domain name identifies your business as a Bermuda-based business.”

Payments for registering and renewing .bm domain names will be done through the Bermuda NIC website. The site will also allow customers to manage their own domain names by logging in or signing up to accounts, and there is a customer support section providing assistance when needed.

Government previously announced July 11 as the date when the online facility would be operational. Although it briefly went live yesterday, it was out of operation by late afternoon. As of press time last night there had been no explanation for the service interruption.

Up and down: a new Bermuda NIC website, where .bm top-level country code domains can be registered, briefly went live yesterday before being taken down and replaced with an "under maintenance" message