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Upgrade on .mw Domain Registry

  1. Registries for Domains: The registry is the repository where Internet users or registrants register their domains like and specify their details which are then activated on the Internet domain name system (DNS) for use for websites, e-mails, banking and other electronic transactions on the Internet. In Malawi the .mw TLD registry is managed by Malawi SDNP, see

  2. .mw Registry Upgrade: SDNP is pleased to announce that it has upgraded the .mw registry to introduce multiple registrars that users and registrants can use to register and manage their domains instead of relying only on Malawi SDNP as a registrar. The current registry uses the 2R model where registrants get access directly to the registry at SDNP to register and update their domains. This has been upgraded to the 3R model where registrants are required to go through a registrar of their choice to access the registry.

    The 2R registry system was built in-house at Malawi SDNP in 2002 when SDNP took over the delegation of the .mw ccTLD from Tarsus of USA. It has worked well so far, however, the increasing number of transactions per day, the demand for added security and the need to further automate require that the manual aspects of the 2R registry such as manual approval for requested domains that required manual DNS updates be automated with added network security and improve efficiency.

    The 3R registry model at SDNP uses the FRED Registry System (FRED) implementation of the extensible provisioning protocol (EPP) in order to put in place multiple registrars that connect to the registry on behalf of clients and registrants to facilitate domain registration and updates with added security that uses digital certificates. A domain registrant and/or reseller will then be required to go through a registrar in order to register and update his or her domain.

  3. Transition from 2R to 3R: In order to have a smooth transition from 2R to 3R, SDNP has set up a System Registrar which will manage the transition from this single registrar to multiple registrars as can be seen at A policy framework has also been put in place and is online to facilitate the transition.

    A digital form has been put online for potential registrars to apply for accreditation to become a registrar on the .mw registry.

    Once a registrar is accredited, the new registrar can request to move all the domains that they currently manage under .mw from the System Registrar to their management. From then onwards, registrants who own those domains will have to go through the new registrar to manage their domains and it will be the responsibility of the registrar to connect to the registry at SDNP using EPP with added security of digital certificates to manage the domains.

    The prospective registrar will hence need to have adequate online capability to support registrants, to support secure connections to the registry and a website to support users, registrants and clients.

    SDNP is therefore inviting those that already handle domains on behalf of their clients including ISPs and content developers in Malawi and abroad to complete the online registrar expression of interest form to start applying to become a registrar on the .mw registry.

    Registrants and owners of domains are also encouraged to consider and make a choice of who they want to be their registrar so as to be ready to move to the 3R registry. All domains currently registered under .mw have been moved to the new 3R registry system and are ready for your review. You can do a WHOIS query both via the website as well as via Internet port 43.

    It is the desire of Malawi SDNP to transfer all domains to accredited registrars so that at the end of the transition period SDNP only runs the registry for .mw domains, services and manages only registrars while the registrars service and manage all the registrants.

  4. Policy: In upgrading from a 2R to a 3R registry, a policy upgrade or revision also became necessary so as to cover new areas such as introduction of multiple registrars. The new policy framework is available at The new policy framework includes (i) Domain Registration Policy, (ii) Registrar Accreditation Policy, (iii) Registrar Agreement, (iv) Fees Policy and (v) Registrant Agreement. Registrars and Registrants are required to be aware of the details of the policy. SDNP welcomes comments and proposals on the policy documents for evaluation during the first quarter of 2016.

  5. .mw Registrar: A .mw registrar is an accredited legal entity that is designated to provided domain name registration services to other companies, persons or registrants that would like to own or already own a particular address on the Internet. The registrar is required to understand and follow the policy for .mw domains as documented at including that on accreditation. In addition the registrar must be technically capable to securely connect, using EPP, to the registry to register and manage domains on behalf of registrants.

  6. Accreditation: As the registry operator for .mw ccTLD, Malawi SDNP will process requests for the accreditation of any entity that desires to become a registrar of .mw domains based on the policy for .mw domains. Eligible companies are encouraged and invited to apply for accreditation as shown at

  7. Digital Certificates: For a registrar to connect to the 3R registry at SDNP, the registrar needs to have a valid registrar handle or username, a password and a digital certificate as a minimum. SDNP has set up a Certification Authority (CA) to issue digital certificates needed for such requirements and will provide support for registrars or anyone else who want to use the CA or who want tom use a different CA.

  8. Registrant: A registrant is a natural person, company or organization who has submitted an Application for or holds a Domain Name registration. Registrants will have to use a registrar in the 3R registry system and can no longer connect directly to the registry as was the case in the 2R system. Registrants need to be aware of and abide by the Domain Registration Policy as well as the Registrant Agreement for .mw domains.

  9. DNS automation: With increased automation in the upgraded 3R registry, the activation of the DNS for a new domain or for a modified domain will now be automatically done at set times during the day using a software zone generator. At the beginning this will take place every two hours and as the volume and frequency of transactions increases this will be done more often as needed.

    The automation of the DNS zone generation requires that registrars and registrants need to submit accurate and complete DNS specifications for their domains. SDNP can no longer accept domain registration request where the DNS information is missing.

  10. WHOIS: The WHOIS service provides a facility where any user on the Internet can query the registry to find out who owns a particular domain. In the 3R registry operation, SDNP provides this facility on a web interface as well as online on port 43 of the Internet so that a query can be made on the command line as well. This is an upgrade from the 2R registry system where only the web WHOIS service is available. It is always recommended that a registrant should check the WHOIS for a desired domain name just in case someone has already registered that domain name.

    SDNP hence invites everyone to take a look at the upgraded .mw registry system, to check the WHOIS to make sure that their domains have been migrated properly and to choose a registrar as those accredited registrar become available.

  11. Coordinator, Malawi SDNP -
    Tel: 01874979 - 0882089166 - 0999888461