The Ministry of Education is offering a free new DNS registration and hosting service to schools and kura across the country. Meet SchoolDNS, whose aim is to make life easier for you by centralising the registration and renewal process of domain names, as well as covering the annual costs.
When we type in a domain name, it’s easy to assume that the result we’re looking for will simply appear. But to ensure that this process occurs seamlessly – there is the small administrative task of ensuring that an organisation’s domain name is currently registered.
So, who registers your school’s or kura’s domain name each year? For busy schools, it can seem like such a low priority task. Even so, it’s an important task. As it might not be until a school’s website goes offline or staff and students can no longer receive emails – that it becomes apparent the domain registration has lapsed!
If a DNS registration expires and it’s not renewed quickly, someone else could purchase your domain, and in a worst-case scenario you may need to go through the courts to try to get access to that domain back. Or as an alternative, you may need to start over again with a brand-new domain name. All of which creates more admin and headaches that busy schools and kura simply don’t need.
To take this administrative burden away from schools, the Ministry of Education has set up a free new domain name system (DNS) service, called SchoolDNS. It offers DNS registration and hosting for schools and kura. By centralising the registration and renewal process of domain names, as well as covering the annual DNS registration and hosting costs, the Ministry aims to increase the level of security and control that schools and kura have over their domain name(s).
So, what’s included? The SchoolDNS service offers the following:
- Set up and running costs for up to two domain names. This includes any subdomains. Costs for any additional domain names need to be covered by the school.
- Access to the DNS portal where schools can easily make account changes, such as updating key people or contact details.
- Yearly registration renewal as a default. This ensures continuity of the domain and reduces the risk of losing access to the domain temporarily or permanently.
- Reduced administration risks – for example, if due to staff turnover, no-one at your school has knowledge about renewing or changing registration details.
- 24/7 support based in New Zealand.
- A higher level of reliability and security that meets New Zealand government requirements.
Own and manage
Schools and kura who opt-in to this Ministry-funded service will continue to own and manage their domain name directly. You, and your nominated IT partner, can log into the portal to view, manage or update your domain records.
Website hosting is not included as part of the service – for this schools will need to get their website hosted by a web hosting company.
For more information and to opt-in to receive the SchoolDNS service, please visit education.govt.nz/schooldns
What actually is DNS?
The Domain Name System (DNS) converts 9-digit (or longer) IP addresses into domain names, which helps us to navigate to websites. Instead of typing in an IP address – like 22.214.171.124 – to visit a website, you can type a domain name address into your browser to easily access a website, for example http://www.yourschool.school.nz. Essentially, domain names are used as an alias for an IP address.
To set this up, organisations pay for the address and redirecting service (from the alias to your IP address) each year. DNS registration and hosting is offered by various companies. In New Zealand, 95 per cent of schools use domains under .school.nz.
INTERFACE March 2023