Securing an online presence with SchoolDNS

Issue: Volume 102, Number 4

Posted: 30 March 2023
Reference #: 1HA_9G

As part of an ongoing series on digital security, Education Gazette explores how you can secure your school’s online presence with SchoolDNS – a free new service.

What 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 to visit a website, you can type a domain name address into your browser to easily access a website, for example: 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 percent of schools use domains under  

Technology is an integral part of rangatahi education.

Technology is an integral part of rangatahi education.

When typing in a domain name, it’s easy to assume that a result 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 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! 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, anyone else could purchase the domain, and in a worst-case scenario, schools may need to go through the courts to try to regain access.

Or as an alternative, a school or kura 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 is offering a new, free 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).

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. 
  • Schools and kura who opt-in to this Ministry-funded service will continue to own and manage their domain name directly. Schools and kura, and their nominated IT partner, can log into the portal to view, manage or update 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, visit link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:00 am, 30 March 2023

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