Introduced20 June 1997
TLD typeCountry code top-level domain
RegistryThe Internet Foundation in Sweden
SponsorInternet Users Society - Niue
Intended useEntities connected with Niue
Actual useUsed for a multitude of sites, few with any connection to Niue; especially popular in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium as the word nu in Swedish, Danish and Dutch means "now"
Registered domains227,485 (31 March 2024)[1]
Registration restrictionsNone
StructureRegistrations permitted at second level
DocumentsTerms and conditions
Dispute policiesUDRP
Registry websiteinternetstiftelsen.se

.nu is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) assigned to the island state of Niue. It was one of the first ccTLDs to be marketed to the Internet at large as an alternative to the gTLDs .com, .net, and .org. Playing on the phonetic similarity between nu and new in English, and the fact that nu means "now" in several northern European languages, it was promoted as a new TLD with an abundance of good domain names available. The .nu domain is now controlled by the Internet Foundation in Sweden amid opposition from the government of Niue.

Google treats .nu as a generic top-level domain (gTLD) because "users and website owners frequently see [the domain] as being more generic than country-targeted."[2]


Unlike most ccTLDs, .nu is not administered by a representative of its country.

In 1997, IANA awarded administration of .nu to The IUSN Foundation (formerly 'Internet Users Society - Niue'), a Massachusetts-based non-profit organisation.[3][4][5][6] The administration and technical operation of the domain were transferred to The Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS) in September 2013.[7][3] The IIS said that 66.7 percent of "active" .nu domains at the time were registered to Swedish users.[3]

The government of Niue has been trying to administer the .nu ccTLD since at least 2003.[8][9] In November 2018, the government of Niue initiated a lawsuit against the IIS in the Stockholm District Court to obtain control over the domain. It stated that the Foundation had "taken over Niue's .nu domain without consent in 2013", resulting in a significant loss of revenue for the country. Niue's government stated that the .nu domain was a "national asset of Niue" and had been taken over "unfairly", estimating that it had earned between $27 million and $37 million for the IIS.[10][3] A later estimate by Niue's legal team stated that the country had missed out on a total of US$150,000,000 (equivalent to $176,597,660 in 2023) during the combined time that the domain had been administered by IUSN and the IIS.[11] The IIS responded by saying that "It was and is essential for the Swedish internet infrastructure that .nu works in a stable and secure way", and that it had "done the necessary investigations before deciding to become the registry in 2013, involving several leading legal specialists and a direct contact with the relevant governmental institutions".[3]

The government of Niue continues the legal discussion on two fronts: directly with ICANN to get the domain name back, and with the Swedish government to reclaim the lost profits.[12] Toke Talagi, the Premier of Niue from 2008 to 2020, called it a form of neo-colonialism.

Usage of .nu

The .nu domain is particularly popular in Sweden, Denmark, and the Benelux region, as nu is the word for "now" in Swedish, Danish and Dutch[13] – an example of a domain hack. Although nu in Norwegian is an archaic word for "now", with being used instead,[14] .nu was initially more popular than .no, with 43,000 .nu addresses being registered in Norway in 1999 compared to 30,000 .no ones.[15] Partially owing to restrictive domain rules for the ccTLD assigned to Sweden, .se, .nu was used for creative marketing of websites such as www.tv.nu to show what is currently showing on TV, and in the Netherlands for websites like waarbenjij.nu (lit.'whereareyou.now').

A former political party in Israel, Kulanu, used the domain www.koola.nu[16] until its dissolution in 2020.

Internationalised domains

In March 2000, .NU Domain Ltd became the first TLD to offer registration of Internationalized domain names,[17] supporting the full Unicode character set.[18] Unlike other TLDs, no browser plugin or punycode capable browser was required on the client side for use of these names, as .NU Domain's web servers converted and redirected any web queries issued in a variety of international character encodings. However, in March 2010, .NU Domain announced at ICANN that they had recently disabled their general wildcard domain name resolution technology, and thus were implementing IDNs only by the now standard punycode implementation, and were reducing the accepted set of IDN characters for .NU Domain names to a subset of the ISO-8859-1 western European characters.[19]

Domain revocation policy

.NU domain names are revoked without refund for displaying images of child pornography, being involved with phishing, spamming, email theft, search engine abuse, or any unlawful purpose.[20]

In February 2012, library.nu, a site listing links to scanned books, a substantial number of which are claimed to be pirated copyrighted material, went offline after a coalition of the world's largest book publishers obtained an injunction against the site. A few days later the site also had its domain name revoked by domain registrar Nunames. The domain revocation was recorded in screenshots taken at the time.[21]


A 2005 UDRP case regarding nudomain.com[22] made the assertion under "Factual background" that "The Complainants [WorldNames, Inc. and NU Domain Ltd] own and operate the .NU ccTLD". The companies in question are operating the registry for .nu on behalf of the Internet Users Society, but it is incorrect to state that they "own" the TLD, as TLDs in general are delegated and managed rather than "owned".[23][24] The case does, however, point out that these companies own a registered trademark to ".nudomain" in several countries.


  1. ^ "Growth .nu". Internetstiftelsen. Retrieved 2024-03-31.
  2. ^ "Managing multi-regional and multilingual sites". Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 5 Oct 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Murray-Atfield, Yara. "Niue is suing a giant Swedish foundation over a domain name". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  4. ^ "About". IUSN Foundation. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  5. ^ "The IUSN Foundation". Internet Niue. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  6. ^ "History - IUSN". IUSN Foundation. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  7. ^ ".SE completes successful transition of the .nu domain". iis.se.
  8. ^ "Niue ccTLD delegation issues" (DOC). International Telecommunication Union. 4 March 2003. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  9. ^ Tiakia, John (12 December 2003). "World Summit on the Information Society" (PDF). International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Niue launches legal action in Sweden over domain name", Radio New Zealand, 10 December 2018
  11. ^ "Niue loses fight for internet domain". Radio New Zealand. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  12. ^ "The Government of Niue Launches Proceedings With ICANN to Reclaim Its .nu Top-Level Domain". CircleID. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  13. ^ "nu". OmegaWiki. 2006-07-22. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  14. ^ "Det Norske Akademis ordbok". naob.no. Retrieved 2020-08-21.
  15. ^ ".nu større enn .no", IT Avisen, NO, 11 August 1999.
  16. ^ "Koola.nu". Archived from the original on 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  17. ^ "NU Domain Ltd Challenges .Com With Announcement of First Non-English Internet Addresses; Microsoft endorses NUBIND as compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, and Windows 2000". Thefreelibrary.com. 2000-03-07. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  18. ^ "IDN details". Nunames.nu. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  19. ^ "Mozilla - add .nu to IDN whitelist". Mozilla. 2010-04-19.
  20. ^ "NU Domain Terms and Conditions, section 12, "Acceptable Use"". Nunames.nu. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  21. ^ "Domain Registrar Profits From Revoked Library.nu Domain". torrentfreak.com. 2012-02-24. Archived from the original on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  22. ^ See the WIPO Administrative Panel Decision
  23. ^ Computerworld NZ: Niue struggles against ‘digital colonialism’ Archived 2007-09-11 at the Wayback Machine, 27 March 2007
  24. ^ "Niue government criticised over internet stance". Radio New Zealand International. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2011.

Further reading