Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

FAQs

What are the rules for registration of gTLD names?

The rules vary depending on the nature of the gTLD. For an overview of all gTLDs, see http://www.icann.org/registrar-reports/accredited-list.html. You can get additional information on how to register gTLD names by contacting an ICANN-accredited registrar. A list of all ICANN-accredited registrars is also available here.

Are gTLD names available for registration on a global basis?

Yes, these domains are available for registration by Internet users across the globe; also, ICANN-accredited registrars are located in countries around the world.

I've seen domain names ending with two-letter combinations, like .uk. What are the rules for registering in these domains?

Two letter domains, such as .uk, .de and .jp (for example), are called country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location. The rules and policies for registering ccTLDs vary significantly and a number of ccTLDs are reserved for use by citizens of the corresponding country.

Some ICANN-accredited registrars provide registration services in the ccTLDs, however, ICANN does not accredit registrars or set registration policies for ccTLDs. For details about ccTLD registration policies, you should contact the designated country code manager.

Will my name and contact information become publicly available?

Information about who is responsible for domain names is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws. The registrar will make this information available to the public on a "Whois" site. It is however possible to register a domain in the name of a third party, as long as they agree to accept responsibility -- ask your registrar for further details.

How long does a registration last? Can it be renewed?

Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining unexpired term shall not exceed ten years.

How do I find out about becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar?

Click here for an explanation of what you need to do to become an ICANN-accredited registrar and ICANN's accreditation policies.

I already have a domain name registered, but I don't know who the sponsoring registrar is. How can I find out which company I registered my domain with?

To access information regarding registered domains; please go to the InterNIC Registry Whois Service. For some top-level domains, the results of a successful search will contain only technical information about the registered domain name and referral information for the registrar of the domain name. In the Shared Registration System model, registrars are responsible for maintaining Whois domain name contact information. Please refer to the registrar's Whois service for additional information.

Can I change registrars after registering a domain name?

Yes, you may change the registrar sponsoring your domain name (beginning 60 days after initial registration). For details on the transfer process, contact the registrar you would like to assume sponsorship of the registration.

I have seen advertisements for domain-name registration by companies not in the accredited registrar directory. Are these legitimate?

Many companies that are not accredited by ICANN offer domain registration services -- some are reselling names obtained from accredited registrars. ICANN recommends that you deal directly with an accredited registrar.

Someone else has registered my company's name as a domain name. What is the process for resolving my complaint?

All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the court rules on who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cyber-squatting" and ?cyber-piracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.

If I have customer service questions or problems related to my domain name registration, whom should I contact?

You should contact the registrar that registered your domain name.

If I'm having a problem with my registrar, should I report it to ICANN?

If you have a problem with one of the registrars, you should first try to resolve it with that registrar.

If you cannot resolve your complaint with the registrar, you should address it to private-sector agencies involved in addressing customer complaints or governmental consumer-protection agencies. The appropriate agency will vary depending on the jurisdiction of the registrar and the customer.

All registrars with direct access to the .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, ,.org, and .pro registries are accredited for this purpose by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN does not resolve individual customer complaints. ICANN is a technical-coordination body. Its primary objective is to coordinate the Internet's system of assigned names and numbers to promote stable operation.

Although ICANN's limited technical mission does not include resolving individual customer-service complaints, ICANN does monitor such complaints to discern trends. If you would like to submit a complaint about a registrar for ICANN's records, please use the Registrar Problem Report Form located at the InterNIC website. As a courtesy, ICANN will forward your complaint to the registrar for review and further handling. (Please note that there is no guarantee that the registrar will reply.)

My registrar won't let me transfer my domain, what do I do?

If you're having trouble transferring your domain from one registrar to another, you should contact the registrar you want to transfer to for assistance. If your preferred registrar is having any trouble processing your transfer, your registrar can obtain assistance from ICANN or the registry operator as appropriate.

Registrars are not permitted to deny transfer requests arbitrarily. ICANN has no policy that permits or requires registrars to deny outgoing transfer requests solely because the registration is within X number of days before expiration. In any case where a "losing" registrar does deny a transfer request, it is required to provide the "gaining" registrar with a notice of the denial and a specific reason for the denial.

For your reference, the "Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations Between Registrars" is set forth in Exhibit B to the Registry-Registrar Agreement. For details on updates to ICANN's transfer policies, please refer to <http://www.icann.org/transfers/>.

I want a domain that has recently expired, but the registrar won't release it. How can I get the name?

Section 3.7.5 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement requires registrars to delete domain registrations after a second notice and a grace period, unless there are "extenuating circumstances." Some examples of such "extenuating circumstances" might include ownership disputes, payment disputes, or lame server delegations. Only the registrar would know exactly why it hasn't yet deleted a particular name. No specific dates or deadlines are prescribed in the current provisions.

ICANN has not yet adopted a uniform policy concerning the handling of expired domain names. If you're interested in helping to craft such a policy, you can learn more about ICANN's bottom-up, consensus-based process for making new policies at ICANN's website.

What is ICANN?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System (DNS) to ensure that every address is unique and that all users of the Internet can find all valid addresses. It does this by overseeing the distribution of unique IP addresses and domain names. It also ensures that each domain name maps to the correct IP address.

ICANN is also responsible for accrediting the domain name registrars. "Accredit" means to identify and set minimum standards for the performance of registration functions, to recognize persons or entities meeting those standards, and to enter into an accreditation agreement that sets forth the rules and procedures applicable to the provision of Registrar Services.

ICANN's role is very limited, and it is not responsible for many issues associated with the Internet, such as financial transactions, Internet content control, spam (unsolicited commercial email), Internet gambling, or data protection and privacy.

What is InterNIC?

The InterNIC website is operated by ICANN to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services.

Visit the InterNIC website to:

Is ICANN the proper authority to report spam?

No. ICANN is a private, non-profit technical coordination body for the Internet's name and numbering systems. The content of an e-mail message, ftp file, or web page bear no inherent relation to the assigned domain name, and therefore fall outside of ICANN's policy-making scope. If you have a problem with the way somebody is using the Internet, you should take it up directly with that person or with the applicable Internet Service Provider or governmental agency depending on the circumstances.

If you believe that Whois data was used as the source of address data for this mailing, we encourage you to complain to the sponsoring registrar. Use of Whois data to send spam is a violation of every ICANN-accredited registrar's terms of use for Whois data.

Also, if the content is of an illegal nature, or you believe that you are being spammed in violation of the law, you may want to seek legal advice and/or bring your concerns to the attention of a relevant governmental law enforcement agency.

What is the Domain Name System?

The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address - just like a telephone number - which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 207.151.159.3, you can type www.internic.net. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.

What does it mean to "register" a domain name?

The Internet domain name system (DNS) consists of a directory, organized hierarchically, of all the domain names and their corresponding computers registered to particular companies and persons using the Internet. When you register a domain name, it will be associated with the computer on the Internet you designate during the period the registration is in effect. From that computer, you can create a website which will be accessible to Internet users around the world.

How do I register a domain name?

Domain names can be registered through many different companies (known as "registrars") that compete with one another. A listing of these companies appears in the Registrar Directory on this site.

The registrar you choose will ask you to provide various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of the contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site. You will also be required to enter a registration contract with the registrar, which sets forth the terms under which your registration is accepted and will be maintained.

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