.CA Domain Registration FAQ

Please note that this FAQ adds .CA specific information to our general domain FAQ, which defines terms like domain name, registry, and registrant.


  1. Who is CIRA?
  2. What is different about .ca domains?
  3. What is a registrant?
  4. What if I change e-mail addresses?
  5. How to change DNS servers
  6. Updating Registrant and/or Contact Data.
  7. Transferring .CA domains.
  8. RegistRAR transfers.
  9. RegistRANT transfers.
  10. RegistRANT MERGE.
  11. Creating a new RegistRANT.
  12. Expiring domains.
  13. Registering TBR domains.
  14. How Long does it take?
  15. Registration of municipal and conflicting domains
  16. Selling a .CA domain name.

Who is CIRA?

CIRA is an acronym for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. They are the registRY for all .CA domains.

What is different about .ca domains?

The biggest difference is that _everyone_ registering a .ca domain name has to accept CIRA's registRANT agreement, and this process is kept visible. The registrant agreement IS significant. CIRA takes a far more active role than most registries do.

What is a registrant?

A registrant is a person or an organization which has accepted the CIRA registrant agreement, and therefore can 'own' .ca domains. (This is a pretty crucial item for .CA domains.) Accepting the agreement requires meeting the "Canadian Presence Requirements" (details).

What if I change e-mail addresses?

If your old e-mail address still works, this process is pretty simple (lots of steps, but they are all just a matter of following directions). Go to and take the "manage domain" menu item, then hit the .ca link, and then enter your domain in the box and press the 'manage this domain' button. After you enter your change, a confirmation code will be e-mailed to the old admin contact address. That e-mail contains instructions for entering that confirmation code at the baremetal website.

The old MCACE process is no longer available (October 6th, 2010). New procedures will take effect after the EPP transition (October 13th) and will be similar to the process we use for .COM domains (a FAX).

How to change DNS Servers

The quickest way to change the DNS servers for a .ca domain registration is to use your baremetal billing id and billing password (should be on your first registration receipt) to login to the my-account area of the baremetal site. Then click on domain-registrations, then click on the domain you want to update. In the resulting screen there is a link for "Change DNS servers". Clicking on that link should drop you right into the update-dns server page of our "normal" .ca management interface. Going in via this process allows you to skip the email authorization-code process which is required when changing registrant details (which may affect multiple domains).

Updating Registrant and/or Contact Data

Take the 'manage domain' link from the homepage. The current system uses an "authorization code" to authenticate change requests. The "auth code" is sent via e-mail to the admin (or tech contact if eligible). Auth codes timeout in 5 days, so anyone getting access to an old email account, or old backup of your email will not be able to take over your .ca domains.

Changing the actual registrant name. There are three ways to do this (all require you to contact Minor typos can be fixed via a manual process with CIRA. In some cases a registrant "merge" can be done to move the domains to a new registrant with the correct name. If neither of the above apply, then a registRANT transfer needs to be done (which costs the same as a registration, but extends the registration by a year). Contact for help.

Transferring .CA domains.

Since CIRA switched to be an EPP registry, the only "transfer" still existing is a registRAR transfer. Transfering a domain between registRARs renews a domain for a year and consequently has a cost (see our rates page).

Before the EPP change, changing ownership of a .CA domain was a registRANT transfer. Now an ownership change is just a contact update (and perhaps a move of the domain to a new billing id).

RegistRAR transfers.

A .CA registRAR can "pull" a domain from another registrar. This is a simple "registRAR" transfer, and adds a year to the domain registration (for a fee).

RegistRAR transfers are pretty simple. The one gotcha is that to transfer a domain to a new registrar, you need to get an "EPP Authorization key" (sometimes called an transfer code or some combination of those terms) from the OLD registrar. This key is entered as part of the transfer request. Assuming it is right, and the new contact information is validated and the credit card charge goes through (for pay now orders), the transfer should be effectively instant.

RegistRANT transfers.

As of October 13th 2010, there basically is no such thing as a registRANT transfer. It is just a special form of a contact update.


As with registRANT transfers, MERGEs basically cease to exist under the EPP system (October 13th, 2010)... a merge is part of contact management.

Creating a new RegistRANT

If you need to create a new registRANT, use our .CA management system. Take the 3rd button ("create a new registrant").

You will need to visit the CIRA website to accept the registrant agreement before the registRANT becomes "active". The system will tell you that, and CIRA will e-mail you (the admin contact) instructions if it is not done within 30 minutes.

Expiring domains

As of the Oct 13th 2010 EPP cutover, .ca domains which are left to expire will run through a sequence of life stages. Upon expiry the domain will enter a stage called "auto-renew grace". This stage can last for 45 days, but if the domain is not going to be renewed then the registRAR will submit a delete request sometime in the 45 day interval. When the domain is "deleted" it will enter a life stage called "redemption grace". This stage will last 30 days (unless the domain is renewed). After 30 days the domain enters a TBR stage. Domains which have been TBR for at least 60 hours (2.5 days) will be available for registration in a special "TBR session" that starts at 2pm eastern time on Wednesdays. Domains which are not registered during the TBR session enter a stage called "Pending delete", which lasts 24 hours. The domains then become available for normal registration.

As of Oct 27th 2010, auto-renew grace is quite confusing, because CIRA's whois service is not aware of the new EPP life cycles and shows domains in auto-renew grace as "registered" with a 1 year renewal. Domains in redemption period also show as "registered", but show the real/expired expiry date.

One item not yet mentioned is when a domain gets 'suspended'. A domain in 'auto-renew grace' may or may not be published in the .CA zone files (which controls whether it "works" or not). This is under registrar control, and different registrars will have different policies.

BareMetal currently (Oct 29, 2010) suspends .CA domains on their expiry date and "deletes" them (sends them to redemption grace status) 35 days after they expire.

Registering TBR domains

The best method to register TBR domains, is to use our TBR queuing system. (We only charge for successful registrations, and at our standard rates, unless you bid extra to get the domain closer to the front of the queue.) For more details please see this page or contact

How Long does it take?

For changes affecting the DNS system: CIRA updates the main .ca root server approximately every hour. Allowing a few more hours for the rest of the root servers to get a copy of the the information, and you can expect most changes to be visible at the root servers in 1 to 4 hours. However, DNS information gets cached, so while new domains should show up that quickly, dns server changes can take days before all the ISPs around the planet see the changes.

New registrations paid via credit card are processed "instantly". The registration is completed immediately, and the only delay in using the domain is the DNS system (see above paragraph).

New registrations paid via cheque should be processed within a day or two of the cheque arriving. If it shows up by courier, we will probably put it through faster :-).

Renewing expired domains. These have the same delays as new domains.

Making changes to contacts, transferring between registrants, and other changes affecting whois listings. CIRA's whois server appears (December 2010) to update within a few minutes.

Registering Municipal and conflicting domains.

Municipal domain registrations need to be done directly by CIRA. Contact CIRA for further instructions.

Conflicting domains are no longer allowed. CIRA no longer allows registering the provincial domains so obviously owning will not allow you to register (If you still have a provincial domain, we CAN help you get the .ca version of it.)

Selling a .CA domain name

Two things should happen when you sell a domain. You move the domain to the buyer's (new?) BareMetal account, and then the buyer updates the contact information for the domain. Alternately, the buyer can transfer the domain to a new registRAR.

So the steps are: 1) have the buyer create a new billing id at the my-account page. 2) login to YOUR account, click on domain-registrations, click on the domain to be transferred, click on 'Change Billing ID', enter the buyers billing id and email address hit 'Move' and the domain is moved to their account. 3) The buyer _should_ then login and update the contact information.