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What Is SUNRISE PHASE and How to Register a domain in this phase?

gTLDs stand for generic Top-level domains. There are three phases of the release of the new gTLDs one of which is known as the Sunrise Phase.
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sunrise period

Contrary to its name, a gTLD makes a domain seem more unique and respected than other domains and thus helps your brand in marketing campaigns. 

The sunrise phase is a crucial step to ensure you get the gTLD you desire as these services allow you an advance opportunity to register the domain names corresponding to the trademark you hold.

To understand Sunrise Phase in detail, let us first understand what are TLDs and gTLDs.

Table of Contents

What are TLDs or Top-level Domains?

A website’s Top-level domain helps in distinguishing a website from another simultaneously helping in the identification of the content of the website. For example, the .com in the picture given below is the TLD of the website.

TLD or Top level domain

TLDs are mainly divided into two categories, 

  • Generic (gTLDs): These consist of the most popular top-level domains and cover a particular theme such as .org for organization, .com for commercial, and .net for network. The seven original gTLDs are as follows:
  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .int
  • .gov
  • .edu
  • .mil

You must have come across these on the internet every once in a while but nowadays brands are also opting for newer gTLDs to stay tech-savvy and updated. 

Talking about the newer gTLDs, the top 10 most popular are represented below.

top 10 gTLDs
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  • Country Code (ccTLDs): Unlike gTLDs, which are not limited to a geographical area, ccTLDs are used as Country-specific top-level domains. For example, .be is the ccTLD for Belgium, .us for the United States, and .uk for the United Kingdom. Although, it is seen that ccTLDs also help bring advantages if they are used efficiently.

What are gTLDs?

The first gTLD was initially introduced in the 80s when the first .com domain was registered by Hewlett Packard in 1986. Fast forward to 2013 eventually giving rise to the new gTLDs by ICANN or the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers. To understand gTLDS in-depth, we must understand what TLDs are first and what comprises them.

Generic Top-level domains or gTLDs are  divided into two subcategories, 

  • Sponsored gTLDs 

When a sponsor represents a specific community served by a specialized domain. The community involved can be based on any concept whether technical, geographical, ethnic, professional, etc. A sponsored TLD is maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). 

For example, .museum is an sTLD that is used exclusively by museums or anybody defined by the International Council for Museums (ICOM). 


  • Non Sponsored gTLDs 

A non sponsored TLD operates under the policies established by the global internet community and hence are offered to the public irrespective of background and are under the management of Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN). 

For example, .net is a non-sponsored TLD that was supposed to be reserved for Internet Service providers but currently is used by other businesses, companies, and private individuals. 

About gTLD Sunrise Phases

A Sunrise Phase refers to a period during which, the trademark holders can register domain names corresponding to their marks before names are accessible to the general public.

gTLD phases
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Sunrise period last for minimum 30 days.

Sunrise Procedures

For the sunrise period to take place, the first step is the authentication of the information provided by the right holders and supplying this information to the registries and registrars. This should only be done by the accredited registrars. 

To understand the Sunrise period let us take the example for the domain.IN.

Some eligibility criteria needed to be fulfilled by all the applicants. These were:

  1. The trademarks or services need to be registered under the Registrar of Trademarks, Government of India.
  2. As the registration for.IN net for the general public began on 16 February 2005, the trademark/service mark registration had to be valid (i.e., must have been issued to the applicant before December 31, 2004)
  3. The third condition is about the domain name is identical to the word elements/textual of the trademark. 
  4. To meet the trademark guidelines, the applicant must submit proof required of its trademark/service mark.

After the submission of documents required and fee payment, the applicant is supposed to send proof of trademark guidelines for verification. This helps in clearing out applications falling under pretense. 

In the end, if the application meets all the requirements, the applicant will be awarded the sunrise period under terms and conditions.

Last year, NIXI announced sunrise for 29 third-level domains. 

Yes, as per the Applicant Guidebook, ICANN imposes the Sunrise Phases to all registries managing a new gTLD.

How to register a domain in Sunrise Period?

As seen above, the domain name goes live through a series of phases that are regulated by ICANN.

In the Sunrise phase, only the trademark holders and their agents are eligible for this period and they must register their trademark with TMCH.

When the trademark is successfully verified, then you can claim your wished domain name with a Singed Mark Data (SMD) file that you receive which is generated by TMCH. This file allows you to confirm that you are a trademark holder. So, depending on the registry regulations you are able to register a domain for 1 to 10 years during the Sunrise Period.


Domain names are made available by the International Corporation for Assigned Numbers (ICANN). New gTLDs are being introduced with the constant hike in newer brands emerging. The Sunrise Phase of a gTLD refers to the amount of time during which the corresponding domain names to their respective trademark holders can be registered before the general public can. It involves different steps which the applicant has to fulfill for the required verification. Get your domain registered with Netspace India for the most renowned TLDs in the country.


The three phases of new gTLDs are Sunrise, Landrush, and General Availability phases.

  • Sunrise phase refers to the period for a domain to be registered by the corresponding trademark holder before it is available for the general public. 
  • Landrush Phase: After the trademarked domain names have been made available to buy, companies are permitted to buy non-trademarked names.

Prices are usually high in both of these phases.

  • General Availability: when the landrush phase is over, the registrars are allowed to register domain names of their choices for a particular price and are free to offer any price on their websites. For every domain string purchased, ICANN is paid a specific amount. 

Your domain turns active when the registration fee is paid. This requires you to keep in contact with your current registrar for at least 60 days after which you can transfer it to some other registrar if needed. This does not cause any problem whatsoever in your active domain period as it is already paid for. 

Cybersquatting is a term used to describe the act of registering, selling or using a domain name illegally from someone else’s trademark for one’s gain.

Anjali Tyagi

Anjali Tyagi

Building high-quality E-A-T based content is my main moto when it comes to article research and publication. Making sure my readers get highly verified content every time they go through my research.

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