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Differences between domain names and name

Domain names



A domain name is an identifier used on the Internet to locate a machine or group of machines on the network.


Machines on the Internet are identified with a unique number called an "IP address" (for example IP addresses are not intuitive or simple to remember, so it is necessary to create an entity that helps remember a machine or group of machines providing services on the Internet (Web, mail, ftp…) more intuitively.


Why have a domain?


A Domain enables a person or company to be present on the Internet, making it possible to access them from any point in the network. The domain becomes the reference name of a given person or company on the Internet, and all the services the user needs can also be articulated from this domain (Web, mail, ftp,… ).


What are "Top level domains"?


A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the highest category level of a name on the Internet. In the Internet domain names system, the top level occupies the highest hierarchy rank offered on the network.


What types of "Top level domains" exist?


Two types of "Top level domains" exist: generic domains, with no territorial link, the best known being ".com", ".org", ".net", and ".edu".


Territorial or (ccTLD) domains are those corresponding to the territorial codes of each country (such as ".es", ".fr", ".uk", ".pt" …). These domains are managed by the assignment authority in each country that freely establishes the regulations for the assignment.


What is the difference between a ".com" and ".es" domain?


Domain names registered under ".com" and ".es" are second-level names; ".com" is a generic Top Level Domain; ".es" is also a top level domain but, rather than being generic it is territorial. The basic difference is with regard to the rules and assignment authority. Domains under ".com", like the other generic domains (".com", ".net", ".org", ".info" or ".biz"), are granted internationally by different registries, and there are very few assignment regulations.


Domains under ".es" are assigned by the Spanish assignment authority and it is essential for the applicant to be linked to Spain, with regulations to guarantee the security of the assignment, preventing the occupation of domains for speculative purposes, and therefore offering the user more security.




Where are .es domain names registered?


The public business entity, attached to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation through the Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, is legally entrusted with a series of functions aimed at improving public services through the development of a digital economy and digital convergence with Europe.


Along with other functions,  is assigned the management of the registration of Internet domain names under the country code corresponding to Spain ".es". This includes the processing of requests and assignment of domains in accordance with the corresponding regulations. It also performs the technical functions necessary for guaranteeing the correct functioning of the domain system in Spain and in the global Internet network, participating in the international organisations that co-ordinate the management of the domain name system.


What is


The unit integrated in the Public Business Entity', is responsible for the management  of the registration of domain names on the Internet  under the country code ".es":


To apply for the registration of a domain,  it is necessary to check that it is available,  determine the type of domain and establish who can apply for it.



You can register second level (under the ".es" code) or third level (under any of the following codes:,,, and, subject to different regimes. The rules for second level names offer a large degree of certainty to the entrepreneur and the requirements for registration of a name are more restrictive than in the third level. The third level has lower requirements, which allow access to the register much more easily than the second level.


On 1 June 2005, Ministerial Order ITC/1542/2005, of 19 May 2005, came into force, approving the National Plan for Internet Domain Names under the Code corresponding to Spain (".es") and establishing the regulatory framework for the different types of domain names under ".es".


You can apply for any of the following domains with complete freedom:


  • Domains assigned automatically:


  • ".es", to identify your name, your company, your organisation on the Internet. Examples:










  •  “” for any type of activity at a highly reduced price; for example,


  • "" for your name; for example,


  • "" for your organisation; for example,


  • Domains requiring advance verification:


  • "" if you are an officially recognised teaching organisation; for example,


  • "" Reserved for government institutions; for example,


Your ".es" domain will be assigned immediately and automatically on a first come, first served basis, so the first applicant will be the first to obtain it. You must bear in mind:


  • That it has not previously been assigned.


  • That if complies with the syntax rules.


  • That it is not included on the prohibited term list.


  • That it is not included on the reserved term list.


The Third Level Domains, "", "" and "" offer you all the agility necessary to have your domain in Internet immediately and with complete freedom. For example:








The "" and "" codes provide Public Organisations and Entities and Institutions related to Teaching or Research in Spain with their identification on the Internet. These domains require advance verification, and need a maximum time limit of 24 hours for their registration. For example:






With a Registrar


Domain names can be applied for through the authorised Registrars. To do so, access the website of the Registrar you have chosen and apply for your domain name providing the information necessary for registration.


The Registrars offer a series of additional benefits that, in addition to providing you with the management of the registration and the renewal of domain names, will enable you to optimise and exploit the use of your domain.


Directly with ESNIC


You can register your domain name directly with ESNIC. To do so, you must access the form where you enter the information necessary for the registration. If you have applied for domains under the ".es","", "" and "" codes, they will be assigned automatically once you have paid for them.


Applications for the "" and "" domains require advance checks, and therefore the average time limit for assignment is 24 hours.


Information necessary to register

The information you must provide when registering your domain name is as follows:


  •  Chosen domain name (use the search engine to check that it is available)
  •  Your personal details:
  •  Name and surname(s)
  •  Address
  •  Tax ID No.
  •  Telephone
  •  Organisation e-mail details (if you are registering the domain for your company or organisation):
    • Name
    • Address
    • Tax ID code


All this information, including an e-mail address for communications, is essential. There is more information (DNS servers, technical or invoicing contact persons) that you can provide ESNIC with if you consider it appropriate.


Company names





The companies registration organisation in Spain is formed by the Central Companies Register and the regional Companies Registers, both institutions dependent on the Ministry of Justice.


The Central Companies Register, already foreseen in the reform of the Commercial Code of 21 July 1973 (articles 17 and 18), is legally set out in the Mercantile Reform Act 19/1989 of 25 July 1989, and subsequently in Royal Decree 1784/1996 of 19 July 1996, approving the Mercantile Register Regulations, which replaced the previous Mercantile Register Regulations of 22 December 1989. The Central Commercial Register started operating on 1 January 1990.


The current head office of the Central Companies Register is located in Madrid, in Calle Príncipe of Vergara, number 94.




The basic functions of the Central Companies Register, pursuant to section 379 of the current Companies Register Regulations, are the following:


  1. Classification, processing and purely informative publicity of the data received from the Companies Register.
  2. Filing and publicity of the names of companies and incorporated entities
  3. The publication of the "Official Companies Register Gazette".
  4. The register of companies and entities that have transferred their domicile abroad without losing their Spanish nationality.
  5. The communication to the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities of the information referred to in Article 14 of Council Regulation EC 2157/2001 of 8 October 2001 on the Statute for a European Company.




The company name fulfils the function of identifying a company in commercial trade as the subject of legal relations and to which, consequently, rights and obligations are attributed. It is the equivalent of the name and surname of a natural person, but in this case it would be that of a company operating in the course of business.


Therefore, it is necessary to recognise the conceptual differences between company names and the distinctive signs of the companies (trade names, trademarks, etc.), aimed at the protection of commercial activities carried out by the company.


Some of the differences between distinctive signs and company names are:


  1. A company has a single company name, but may have a varied portfolio of distinctive signs for its different goods or services.
  2. The company name is mandatory for the incorporation of a company, while distinctive signs are not, although they are a powerful tool for commercial and business strategy.
  3. The distinctive character of a sign is a requirement for its registration, and registration is not granted when it is a merely descriptive element. By contrast, company names can be strictly descriptive (with some exceptions for generic terms).
  4. The examination of the company name is based on the search for equivalence between the earlier names, while the examination of the distinctive signs also examines similarities because the essential criterion is whether or not there is a likelihood of confusion with them.
  5. Distinctive signs can consist of drawings, images, sounds, multimedia and even holograms. Company names must in all cases be words.


The company name and the distinctive signs of the company do not have to coincide. The former is used in legal transactions and the latter in trade.




Not necessarily. Not all companies created adopt the legal form of a trading company. Therefore, it is recommendable to previously consult a specialised advisor (lawyer, notary...) concerning whether it is convenient or not to incorporate a trading company, and the corporate form that it would, if applicable, adopt.




Yes. There is the possibility of previously consulting whether a name is available or not before applying for the corresponding certification.


A simple note on names has a purely informative nature, and merely states if the name is registered or not.


The content of said query does not condition or prejudice the later classification of the Central Companies Register upon issue, if applicable, of the corresponding negative certification.


Prior consultation of the name may be carried out directly at the registry office by means of a printed form, by ordinary mail by sending a request or a letter or by telematic means via the website of the Central Companies Registry.






The following details should be entered in the application:


  • INTERESTED PARTY or BENEFICIARY of the certification:


The certification application must include the name of one of the founders or instigators. In the case of modification of the name, the interested party or beneficiary is the actual company or entity registered that seeks to change its name.




A maximum of three names must be entered, in order of preference, in each negative Certification application.




The company type or its abbreviation should be indicated in the company name; however, it should not form part of the chosen company name.


The applications can be submitted:


  • In-person request: Directly in the offices of the Central Companies Register, by completing the corresponding certification application form. When it is filed, a receipt will be given to collect the certification after a period of four working days have elapsed from the date the request was filed.


  • Request by ordinary post or courier: By ordinary post or courier: by sending a name application to the offices of the Central Companies Register. The Register will send the certification, whether favourable or not, cash on delivery, to the address indicated on the application.


  • Electronic request: The form, which appears on the website , should be completed and sent electronically. An alphanumeric reference will immediately be provided electronically, confirming receipt of the application in the Register. On the following day, the filing number corresponding to the application within the general order of company name applications, will also be sent electronically. The Registry will send the favourable or unfavourable certification by the means indicated by the user in the application form (by ordinary post, registered post, collection from the Central Commercial Registry or electronically, with the Registrar’s electronic signature). On the website, we offer the possibility of monitoring the status of the company name certification applications processed by these means.


The Central Companies Register will consider if the composition of the name complies or not with the criteria established in the prevailing legislation on company names, within a period of three working days following filing the application.



Once the certification has been issued stating that the name requested is not registered, said name is reserved in favour of the interested party or beneficiary of the certification  through their provisional inclusion in the section on names for a period of SIX MONTHS as from its date of issue. If the application for registration is not submitted within this period, the name shall lapse and shall be automatically cancelled.


Nevertheless, for the purposes of executing a deed before Notary, negative certifications will be valid for THREE MONTHS from the date of their issue by the Central Companies Registrar. Once the certification expires, the interested party can request its renewal. The expired certificate should be attached to the renewal application (section 414 Companies Register Regulations).



In accordance with art. 15 of the Ministerial Order of 30/12/91, "If the person in whose favour the negative certificate was issued wishes to obtain a duplicate claiming lost or destruction of the original, the situation must be published in the Legal Announcements Section of the Official Gazette of the Companies Register.


If nobody expresses opposition to the Central Companies Register within fifteen days following publication, the Registrar shall issue the duplicate, indicating its nature and the date of publication. (...)"