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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A form of malware in which the attacker disables or disrupts a victim’s computer and demands payment to undo the damage. Often attackers threaten to disable the computer permanently or destroy the user’s data unless they receive payment within 24 hours. Attackers frequently demand payment in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to make their identities and the transactions difficult to trace.


A process by which any person or entity materially affected by an action or inaction of the ICANN Board or ICANN organization can ask the ICANN Board to review or reconsider that action or inaction. Reconsideration is one of the accountability mechanisms mandated by the ICANN Bylaws.

recursive resolver

A server that receives domain name requests from software applications and performs the necessary network queries to obtain the information using the Domain Name System.

Redemption Grace Period(RGP)

A 30-day period following the deletion of a domain name, during which a deleted domain name is placed on hold and removed from the zone. During the RGP, a registrant can redeem an expired registration through the sponsoring registrar.

Regional At-Large Organization(RALO)

An organization that serves as the main forum and coordination point for public input to ICANN for a particular geographic region. A RALO keeps the At-Large Structures (ALSes) in its community informed about significant ICANN news. RALOs also establish mechanisms to facilitate two-way communication between the ALSes and ICANN policymakers so interested individuals can share their views on pending issues.

The ICANN Bylaws recognize five Regional At-Large Organizations:

Each RALO elects its leadership and defines its own operating rules.

Regional Internet Registry(RIR)

One of the five registries responsible for the allocation of Internet Protocol (IP) address resources within a particular region of the world. Network operators apply to their RIR for these resources.


An individual or entity who registers a domain name. Upon registration of a domain name, a registrant enters into a contract with a registrar. The contract describes the terms under which the registrar agrees to register and maintain the requested name.

After registration, registrants manage their domain name settings through their registrar. To modify a setting, a registrant submits the changes to the registrar, and the registrar sends the change to the registry.


An organization through which individuals and entities (registrants) register domain names. During the registration process, a registrar verifies that the requested domain name meets registry requirements, and submits the name to the appropriate registry operator. Registrars are also responsible for collecting required information from registrants and making the information available through WHOIS. After registration, registrants can make updates to their domain name settings through their registrars.

A registrar that has entered into a Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN is referred to as an ICANN-accredited registrar. A listing of ICANN-accredited registrars appears on the ICANN website.

Registrars Stakeholder Group(RrSG)

A stakeholder group within the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) that represents the interests and concerns of generic top-level domain registrars accredited by and under contract to ICANN. The RrSG is a member of the Contracted Parties House within the GNSO Council.

Registration Data Access Protocol(RDAP)

An HTTP-based protocol that provides access to information about current domain name registrations and Internet Protocol address allocations. RDAP was designed as a replacement for the WHOIS protocol. Advantages of RDAP include secure data transmission via HTTPS, support for internationalization, and the ability to limit access to certain information about a registration.

Registration Data Request Service(RDRS)

A proof-of-concept for a ticketing system to handle requests for access to nonpublic registration data related to gTLDs.

Registration Directory Service Review(RDS Review)

A periodic review required by the ICANN Bylaws to assess the effectiveness of the generic top-level domain Registration Directory Services. The RDS Review is designed to assess whether the implementation of the Registration Directory Services meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement, promotes consumer trust, and safeguards registrant data.

Section 4.6 in the ICANN Bylaws provides details about performing an RDS Review. Reports from current and past RDS Reviews are available on the ICANN website.

Note: This review was formerly known as the WHOIS Review.

Registration Directory Services(RDS)

A set of online services that registrars and registry operators of top-level domains provide to enable public access to Domain Name Registration Data. Currently, Registration Directory Services are available for generic top-level domains through the WHOIS protocol and through HTTP-based directory services.

Individual Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) also use the Registration Directory Services to maintain a database of the Internet Protocol addresses that have been assigned in their region.

Registration Reporting Interface(RRI)

An interface that the ICANN organization provides to enable registry operators and data escrow agents to submit data in accordance with reporting requirements.

Registration Restriction Dispute Resolution Procedure(RRDRP)

A formal procedure that gives established institutions a way to resolve disputes related to the registration restrictions in the Registry Agreement for a generic top-level domain.

Disputes resolved through an RRDRP are administered by Dispute Resolution Service Providers approved by ICANN. Complainants are required to take specific steps to address their issues before filing a formal complaint. An expert panel determines whether a registry operator is at fault and recommends remedies to ICANN.

Registries Stakeholder Group(RySG)

A stakeholder group within the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) that represents the interests and concerns of the generic top-level domain registries under contract to ICANN. The RySG is a member of the Contracted Parties House within the GNSO Council.


An authoritative master database of the domain names registered in a top-level domain (TLD). Each TLD is associated with a registry that contains a record for each domain name that exists in its domain. The Domain Name System consults the TLD registry to obtain the authoritative name servers for the domain names registered in that TLD.

Registry Agreement(RA)

A contract between ICANN and the registry operator of a designated top-level domain (TLD). The agreement defines the rights, obligations, and provisions for the registry operator to operate the TLD.

Registry Agreement termination(RA termination)

A decision made by ICANN or a registry operator to end a Registry Agreement before the end date specified in the agreement. The RA describes the circumstances under which each party can terminate the agreement and the obligations of each party in the termination process.

registry operator(RO)

The organization that maintains the master database (registry) of all domain names registered in a particular top-level domain (TLD). ROs receive requests from registrars to add, delete, or modify domain names, and they make the requested changes in the registry.

An RO also operates the TLD’s authoritative name servers and generates the zone file. This information enables recursive name servers across the Internet to translate domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, so devices on the Internet can connect to one another.