ICANN Acronyms and Terms

ICANN has hundreds of acronyms and terms, which can be confusing. We created this multilingual tool to help explain what these terms mean and facilitate your work within the ICANN community.

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ICANN Acronyms and Terms

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IANA Considerations

A section within a Request for Comments (RFC) or Internet Draft that provides a set of instructions for any work required by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to maintain registries for a specific protocol.

ICANN Annual Operating Plan and Budget

A plan that describes ICANN’s work efforts for a specific fiscal year and identifies the resource commitments for each effort. Work efforts for the plan are drawn from the ICANN Five-Year Operating Plan.

ICANN Board of Directors

The body that reviews policy recommendations developed by the ICANN community and sends approved policies to the ICANN organization for implementation. The Board also performs strategic oversight for the ICANN org, ensuring that the organization acts within its mission and operates effectively, efficiently, and ethically.

Board members are representatives from the ICANN community, selected by their peers. It is composed of 16 members and 4 non-voting liaisons, from different geographies and with expertise relevant to ICANN's mission. The ICANN Bylaws include provisions to help ensure that the Board represents the diversity of the ICANN community. Board members are duty-bound to act in the best interest of ICANN and the global community, and not the interest of a particular constituency, employer, or organization.

The ICANN Bylaws describe the powers, responsibilities, and composition of the Board.

ICANN Bylaws

The document that articulates ICANN’s mission and core values and defines the organizational structures that carry out ICANN’s work. Rules in the Bylaws govern how Board members are selected and how the Board operates. The Bylaws provide similar information for other organizational structures, including the Empowered Community, Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees, constituencies, and stakeholder groups.

ICANN community

The volunteer-based collection of global stakeholders that provide advice, develop policy recommendations, conduct reviews, and propose implementation solutions for issues that relate to ICANN’s mission and scope. Together, these stakeholders, which include businesses, Internet engineers, technical experts, civil society, governments, end users, and many others, work through their respective Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees to shape policies that guide the operation and evolution of the Domain Name System.

ICANN Fellowship program

The ICANN organization manages a fellowship program designed to strengthen and diversify participation in its multistakeholder model by targeting individuals from underserved and under-represented communities. The program provides mentoring and training opportunities.

ICANN Five-Year Operating Plan

A plan that outlines concrete steps for achieving the goals identified in the ICANN Strategic Plan and arranges the steps in phases over a five-year period. This plan also identifies Accountability Indicators to monitor progress against ICANN’s five-year strategy.

ICANN Languages

The ICANN Languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.


ICANN’s free online learning platform offers courses on topics such as the ICANN ecosystem, Internet policy development, and Domain Name System security.

ICANN Managed Root Server(IMRS)

The collection of root server instances that is operated by ICANN. Formerly known as the L-Root server, the IMRS responds to the Internet Protocol (IP) address for the “L” authoritative name server. The IMRS is known within the Domain Name System (DNS) as L.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.

ICANN mission

As stated in the ICANN Bylaws, ICANN’s mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. The specific ways in which ICANN carries out its mission are enumerated in Section 1.1 of the Bylaws.

ICANN organization

The entity that implements the ICANN community’s recommendations at the direction of the ICANN Board of Directors. The ICANN org is led by a CEO and has staff in 40 countries. Its responsibilities include the operation of the root server system, management of generic top-level domains, accreditation of registrars, and oversight of contractual compliance. The ICANN org also hosts the authoritative registries of the codes, numbers, and parameter values associated with the Internet Protocol.

The ICANN org engages in outreach to the ICANN community and organizes the three annual ICANN Public Meetings.

ICANN Public Meeting

An open meeting that ICANN holds three times each year in different regions of the globe. ICANN Public Meetings are free and open to anyone who is interested in attending. For those individuals who cannot attend in person, ICANN offers a range of ways to participate remotely.

The ICANN Public Meetings are fundamental to ICANN's multistakeholder model. The meetings offer an array of speakers, workshops, and working sessions. They also provide a venue for community members to advance their policy work and learn more about ICANN and other members of the community.

Each ICANN Public Meeting is assigned a name using the notation ICANN##, where ## identifies the meeting’s position in the series of ICANN’s Public Meetings. For example, ICANN60 represents ICANN’s 60th Public Meeting.

ICANN Strategic Plan

A five-year plan that articulates ICANN's vision and restates its founding mission. This plan also identifies strategic objectives and defines specific goals, success factors (outcomes), and dependencies associated with each objective.

ICANN-accredited registrar

An entity that has entered into a Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN. ICANN-accredited registrars have access to add, delete, or update domain name records.

ICANN-accredited registrar

A registrar that has entered into a Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN. ICANN-accredited registrars can act as registrars for one or more generic top-level domains (gTLDs). A listing of ICANN-accredited registrars appears in the Accredited Registrar Directory on the ICANN website.

ICANN does not manage accreditation for county code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Instead, ccTLD managers determine how registration services are provided within the ccTLDs they manage.


A policy document from 1999 describing IANA’s role in the management and administration of top-level domains as detailed in RFC 1591. This document was formally obsoleted in 2015.


A policy document adopted in 2001 detailing the criteria for establishing new Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), which delegate responsibility for management of Internet resources within a given region of the globe.


A policy document adopted in 2001 reaffirming ICANN's commitment to a single, authoritative public Domain Name System root zone and to the management of that unique root in the public interest according to policies developed through community processes.

identifier ecosystem

The collection of individuals, groups, and organizations that develop, contribute, and maintain the unique identifiers on which the operation of the Internet depends.

Besides ICANN and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), participants in the identifier ecosystem include: The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and other bodies that work with Internet standards and their respective identifiers.