Everything you should know about .vn domain names

Since our creation in 2018, our agency, knok-studios, has set up dozens of websites for our customers based in Vietnam.

We have often been asked questions like: Should I buy a .vn domain name for my website, and if yes, how do I do it?

Our answers on that, along with other key points to know if you are considering registering a .vn domain name, are below:

 

What are the benefits of a .vn Domain?

The two most common benefits of having a .vn (or any country code top-level domain) are:

  • Local Vietnamese Presence: A .vn domain conveys a strong connection to Vietnam, fostering trust and familiarity among Vietnamese users
  • SEO Value in Vietnam: Search engines may prioritize .vn domains in search results for users in Vietnam, as these domains send geo-targeting signals indicating relevance to the region.

While these benefits are real, do not overestimate them, especially the SEO impact. It is perfectly possible to operate a business in Vietnam from a .com domain name. Also note that if you buy a .vn name, it is advisable to ALSO own the .com equivalent to avoid domain squatting.

 

Do I legally need to have a .vn domain name to operate a business in Vietnam?

The Vietnamese law does not mention any obligation for businesses to have their online presence exclusively located from a .vn domain name.

The situation is more complex regarding hosting (Having a .vn domain name does not mean that your website is hosted in Vietnam.)

According to Decree No. 53/2022/ND-CP, issued on August 15, 2022, a large scope of businesses may be forced in the future to host a significant part of their data in Vietnam.
We will develop this topic in more detail in a dedicated article about hosting in Vietnam.

 

Will a .vn make my website faster for Vietnamese users?

Your website speed is part of what Google names the Core Web Vitals that help determine if the search engine should rank your page well or not.

It’s important but… Your domain name does not impact website speed. However, your hosting (how and where your website data is stored) has an influence.

 

How to buy a .vn Domain Name?

Buying a  .vn domain is pretty simple if you know where to do it.

If you do not see the  .vn registration option on your usual domain registrar like GoDaddy.com, it’s because only registrars approved by the Vietnamese authorities can sell .vn domains.

Currently, less than a dozen approved companies have this capability. Some of the most notable .vn approved registrars are:

 

How much does a .vn domain name cost?

The price will depend on the domain registrar. Common .vn names usually start at 350K-400K VND (approx $15), so slightly more expensive than regular .com domain names.

 

Can a foreigner buy a .vn domain name?

Yes, there is no specific rule prohibiting foreign nationals from buying .vn domain names but you will be most of the time asked to provide a local address.

 

Can you anonymously buy a .vn domain name?

According to our experience, no. The Vietnamese registrar will ask you to pass a KYC (Know Your Customer) process, which means submitting an identity document.

 

Do I need to prove a local presence in Vietnam to buy a .vn domain name?

For regular .vn domain names, there is no such obligation, but rules exist for some specific categories of .vn domains such as .edu.vn and .gov.vn, etc.

 

What are the specificities of .vn domain names?

Allocation and management of domain names in Vietnam generally follow the principle of equality and non-discrimination, and first registration has the right to first use – like most of the world.

Upon registration, the domain must be maintained for a minimum of one year and a maximum of 50 years.

 

Renewal and Expiration:

After expiration, there’s a 20-day grace period to renew. The domain operates normally for 1-3 days post-expiration but is temporarily suspended from the 4th to the 20th day. If not renewed within 20 days, it’s deleted and released.

 

Additional provisions

Just be aware that national sovereignty and related symbols are not something to be taken lightly in Vietnam.

This explains why you’ll find the following provision in the Vietnamese law regarding domain names:

a) No phrases that infringe upon national sovereignty, interests, and security or violate social ethics, fine customs, and traditions of the nation;

b) Names must be clear, neat, not misleading or distorting due to polyphony, multi-meaning, or incorrectly used accents in Vietnamese;

c) Unrelated organizations and individuals may not register domain names that are names of Party organizations, state agencies, socio-political organizations, etc.

d) Unrelated organizations and individuals may not register domain names related to national security, defense, and diplomatic activities.

 

Is it possible to have a second level domain such as edu.vn / Biz.vn / gov.vn?

Yes, Vietnam offers a large panel of second level domains.

Below here the most common one. Be aware that specific rules are associated to most of these sub- categories:

.COM.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in business and commercial activities;

.BIZ.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in business and commercial activities (equivalent to the domain name COM.VN);

.ORG.VN  for organizations operating in the fields of politics, culture and society;

.INT.VN for international organizations;

.EDU.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in activities in the field of education and training;

.GOV.VN for central and local state agencies;

.NET.VN for organizations and individuals involved in the establishment and provision of online services;

.ORG.VN  for organizations operating in the fields of politics, culture and society;

.INT.VN for international organizations;

.AC.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in research activities;

.PRO.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in activities in highly specialized fields;

.INFO.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in activities in the field of information production, distribution and provision;

.HEALTH.VN  for organizations and individuals involved in activities in the field of pharmacy and health;

.NAME.VN  for organizations and individuals who want to register full names, abbreviations, trade names, aliases… of organizations and individuals.

To be noted – There are also second-level domains linked to administrative regions such as hanoi.vn /binhduong.vn etc.

 

How to handle disputes related to a .vn domain name?

Addressing disputes over a .VN domain name can be complex. If you’re facing a serious issue, it’s recommended to seek assistance from a law firm.

For an overview of how complaints about domain names are handled in Vietnam:

  • When it comes to disputes over generic top-level domains like .com or .net, Vietnam follows the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) managed by ICANN. Local Vietnamese registrars typically enforce UDRP decisions without significant hurdles.
  • As for country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .vn, these disputes are subject to Vietnamese legal jurisdiction. Your options might include arbitration, civil court cases, or administrative proceedings. In essence, to resolve a conflict over a .VN domain name, you would need to engage with Vietnamese local authorities.
  • Administrative proceedings are the most common method used, which is similar to the UDRP but adapted for Vietnam. However, legal experts have noted that some changes proposed in 2023 might limit these options, leading to most domain disputes being directed to lengthier court cases.

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