Is there any risk associated with purchasing a domain with a TLD for a politically unstable or authoritarian country?

ex, if I purchase a .ly domain and there is a dramatic political change in Libya, could the new government cancel existing registrations or something along those lines?

  • Good question. You might also add something I'm also curious about. Supposedly the TLD .co is the new .com. But that's also Columbia. What happend to that?
    – Keith
    May 3, 2011 at 4:19
  • .co is actually the one I'm concerned about. There are a ton of good names available, but the stability of their government is questionable.
    – Anonymous
    May 3, 2011 at 4:24
  • Asked and answered.
    – user5060
    May 3, 2011 at 4:34

4 Answers 4


There is definitely the possibility of running into conflict when registering domains in countries other than your own, particularly if those countries have very strict, unstable or conservative governments. For example, read "The .ly domain space to be considered unsafe", an account of how the domain vb.ly, a URL shortener, was taken down by the Libyan government.

Our domain ‘vb.ly’ (which was joint owned by myself and my partner Violet Blue) was deleted by NIC.ly without warning or notice on or around September 23rd 2010. We were subsequently told that our domain has been removed to us being “in clear violation of NIC rules and regulations” relating to “text referring to adult content and offensive imagery from [our] main page”.

The regulations for .ly domains are available at http://nic.ly/regulations.php. Aside from the fact that we contest that any adult content or offensive imagery exists on the site (vb.ly is a url shortener), what is more concerning is that there does not appear to be any regulation(s) written on that page that actually pertains to the violation notice we were given.

In other words we felt that the NIC.ly registry was claiming it has deleted our domain for infringements that do not actually form any part of their regulations.

Furthermore, Libyan domains shorter than 4 characters can no longer be registered by foreigners. For the time being, existing registrations are allowed to be renewed, but it is unknown how long that will last even.

This example just applies to Libya, but illustrates the point that any government could potentially start arbitrarily deleting domains registered under their TLD, without notice. I would take extreme caution registering domains in a country other than your own, particularly if it is politically unstable.

Even registering a domain under the .com TLD isn't necessarily safe though. The US Government has recently been taking down various websites for alleged copyright infringement, despite many of the sites not actually hosting any infringing content.


[Voted for @nhinkle's answer, but as a slightly different take on this:]
This underlying issue isn't just about "unstable" countries. You should also be careful when buying country TLD domains to check for any requirements that may not be immediately obvious.

In 2004, the organization that manages .ca decided to abruptly and aggressively start enforcing a residency requirement. Technically, the requirement had always been in place, but they'd been lazy about it and people who'd been exploiting that for years suddenly had to scramble to find new domains they could move to, never mind the huge amount of link rot this generated.


Put aside some risky countries like Libya, I think we can buy .co domains pretty safely as we can buy other major TLDs like .co.uk, .de, .com. .net, etc. Colombia is a stable republic and a growing economy as Brazil and Mexico.

Obviously any government can seize domains for important reasons, that's what US did with about 100 .com domains during the last months.


No need to buy a domain with a TLD from an unstable domain, a website can be at risk in many parts of the world.

Even if there is an agreement between the domain registrant and the registry operator, every single domain has to be in compliance with the local legislation. A .site is operated by Radix which is located in the United Arab emirates. Every .site website operates under the UAE legislation. Better not sell alcoholic beverages under a .site

When you buy a domain, you have to follow the law of the registry operator's country. In Morocco, there is a law against blasphemy so, there should be no blasphemy on .ma websites.

In any part of the world, the registry operator operates under its local jurisdiction. An individual, an association, a company or the local government can prosecute a domain and seize a domain. It means they can change the nameservers for your domain and you will not be able to change the nameservers anymore.

Example: .com and USA: For instance, look at the bodog.com story. The website was hosted in canada but since it was a .com and since it was sport gambling, the US enforcement authorities seized the domain because the .com registry operator is verisign and it is located in the USA. Verisign has the ability to change all nameservers from all the .com domains.

Reference: US Government admitted seizing hundreds of domains registered outside of US

Since there are more and more registry operators from all over the world, you have to choose a TLD with a registry operator in a country where the legislation fits your requirements the best. For instance, a dot kiwi operates under the new zealand law because it is operated by a NZ registry operator.

As i am writing this answer, it is 2015 and i think it is the beginning of stories around seized domains. When governments are going to be more aware of their power thanks to TLDs jurisdiction, they may seize lots of domains.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.