Wandering Thoughts archives


The evaporation of lots of .ga domains

Over on the Fediverse, I talked about something that might not be widely known:

Today I found my (first) .ga site with useful information that disappeared in the recent great .ga purge, <web.archive.org link> (from 2019 and so not necessarily right for current Go, but it gives me/you some general ideas).

(I believe this is by @joakimkennedy who may either have re-homed it elsewhere or not done so because these articles are now obsolete and misleading.)

(Per the author, these articles are now available at tcm1911.github.io (in the blog section).)

The .ga top level domain (TLD) is the country code TLD (ccTLD) for Gabon. For many years, .ga domain registration was handled by Freenom, which allowed people to register domains in .ga for free, had lots of bad people set up .ga domains, and finally got sued by Meta (aka Facebook) and closed down .ga registration. In the wake of all of this, Gabon decided to take .ga back from Freenom and run it itself (press release (PDF), also some commentary). As part of taking .ga back, Gabon removed quite a lot of previously registered .ga domain names.

At one level, there is nothing wrong or surprising about this mass removal of .ga domain names, including non-cybercriminal ones like the example I encountered. Every country is ultimately fully in control of its ccTLD, and may allow, not allow, or remove domain names within that ccTLD at its own pleasure. A country can opt to let more or less anyone register a domain under its ccTLD, or they may decide that they want to restrict their ccTLD to people and organizations that are in their country or at least sufficiently associated with it. This is the bargain people take on when they register under some country code TLD, either because it's free or because they wanted a particular attractive domain name.

At another level this probably surprised people and surprises people. An organization waved its hand and millions of domain names evaporated with (probably) no warning and no recourse; they were there one day and gone the next. I'm sure there were people with .ga domain names who experienced quite some disruption as a result of this. Honesty calls for admitting this fact, even if it's a little bit inconvenient to a nice neat narrative of 'Gabon took back its ccTLD and purged the cybercriminal domains' (or even the one where we say 'people should have known better').

PS: This is obviously yet another example of how cool URLs definitely do change. Even if people have their own domain, operate their websites perfectly, and never change their URL structure, maybe their entire domain will get removed for reasons entirely outside of their own control. This can happen even in your own properly approved country TLD(s). For example, Canada could decide to make a new rule that <domain>.ca is not allowed any more and it has to be <domain>.<type>.ca, with all of the existing holders given some time to migrate.

(There's also the famous case of people in the UK who registered .eu domains when the UK was in the EU, and then the UK left the EU.)

tech/GabonCountryDNSEvaporation written at 22:15:13; Add Comment

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