Registry dotPH Domains Inc.
Sponsor PH Domain Foundation
|TLD type country code top-level domain|
Intended use Entities connected with the Philippines
.ph is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Philippines.
The official domain registry of the .ph domain is dotPH Domains Inc. dotPH holds and maintains the database of PH domain names, specifically .ph, .com.ph, .net.ph, and .org.ph. Its domain name registrars are not only individuals, businesses, and organizations in the Philippines, but also those in other parts of the world.
The PH domain is currently administered by José Emmanuel "Joel" Disini, who is also dotPH's current CEO. Disini has been the domain administrator since Jon Postel assigned him the domain in 1990. The domain is sponsored by the PH Domain Foundation, a social outreach arm of dotPH which was also founded by Disini together with a group of IT professionals in August 1999.
In 1994, the administration of the .gov.ph domain was sub-delegated to the Government of the Philippines. In like manner, .edu.ph was sub-delegated to the Philippine Network Foundation, Inc. (PHNET).
Aside from being the registry, dotPH sells domains and web-related services such as web hosting, co-location, private registration and e-mail forwarding. dotPH also offers a free referral service which connects Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises with a network of over 300 accredited professional Filipino web designers. It formerly offered a free blogging service through .i.ph domains.
Birth of the .ph registry
In 1989, Joel Disini founded the Email Company (EMC), one of the earliest Internet service providers in the Philippines. At that time most networks (including EMC) were connected to the Internet via UUCP. Disini's network had a UUCP connection to UUNET. This network connection, along with Disini's credentials as a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering graduate of Caltech and five-year experience in Macintosh Networking & Communications software development in Cupertino, California, became Jon Postel's basis for delegating the .ph domain to him. The .ph country code top-level domain was officially delegated on September 14, 1990. Since then, .ph domains have been commercially available to the public.
In 1994, the PHNET wide-area network, a project funded by DOST, completed its development and was able to connect the Philippines to the rest of the world by establishing TCP/IP connections to the U.S. using 64 kbit/s international leased lines.
At this point, the PHNET Foundation wanted to take over the administration of the .ph domain registry. Protracted negotiations took place, and eventually the responsibility of administrating the .edu.ph and .gov.ph domains were transferred to the PHNET Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology, respectively.
At that time domain fees ranged from Php 450 to Php 1,350. Domains registered during this period had no expiration and therefore had no renewal rates, thus the label lifetime domains. However, a fee was charged for modifications to these domains. Lifetime domains were non-transferable, and were only valid for the lifetime of the original Registrant.
PH Domain Foundation and dotPH
In August 1999 Disini and the technical people at EMC formed the PH Domain Foundation. It sought to promote the Internet and free unlimited email services in rural areas. It also took charge of the domain selling business and the management of the .ph domain registry.
On October 1, 1999, the PH Domain Foundation launched a fully automated online system for domain registration. It also launched a flat .ph domain space, enabling people to register domains like "domainname.ph". Lifetime domain registration was halted, and all domains registered after October 1 subsequently carried expiration dates. These domain owners had to pay a fee to renew their domains.
At around this period, the "for-profit" business and technical side of the PH Domain Foundation became identified as dotPH. Activities related to domains and the business were now attributed to dotPH, such as the resolution on the dispute between Yahoo! Philippines and another Philippine company, the launching of the automated online registration system, and even the administration of the .ph domain registry itself. To this day, dotPH is the official domain registry of the Philippines.
In 2000, dotPH developed a system called the Shared Registry System (SRS) which enabled domain name registrars and ISP's to manage domains and accept registrations on their own website by connecting to the dotPH registry backend. This is done by downloading and installing on their server a module that does the actual communication with the registry backend using an XML-based protocol.
dotPH also became one of the first Philippine websites to accept online credit card payments.
In 2001 several complaints against dotPH were formally filed by members of PhilDAC with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). One complaint was formally withdrawn, and the rest were eventually dismissed with prejudice for reasons including "failure to prosecute" and "lack of interest".
After studies made by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in 2002, the Philippine Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) Commissioner, Ver Pena, created an Advisory Board composed of representatives from the academe and various industry groups, including PhilDAC, to draft guidelines for the operations of the PH ccTLD. After two public hearings conducted through the NTC in 2004, the "Guidelines in the Administration of the .ph Domain Name" was issued by the CICT in November 2004.
The administrator has publicly expressed doubts about the viability of the Guidelines, and raised questions about the manner in which the Advisory Board was appointed. In particular, that dotPH was excluded from participating in drafting the Guidelines and from the Board's subsequent deliberations; and that the Guidelines contain practically no input from dotPH representatives despite their submission of several position papers. PhilDAC, however, has responded by pointing out that the administrator was invited to participate in the two hearings but refused to do so.
The CICT came under fire for its involvement in the ZTE scandal, and was officially dissolved by President Benigno Aquino III on June 23, 2011.
The administration of the PH ccTLD has long been criticized by some members of the Philippine Domain-Name Authority Convenors (PhilDAC). Members of PhilDAC have been involved in five separate attempts to redelegate and seize control of the PH domain.