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Welcome to the global community!

ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. Through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

Icann 101 guide
Beginner's Guide

Download or view this document to learn more about how to get started. Available in several languages.

  • How it works

    At the heart of ICANN's policy-making is what is called a "multistakeholder model". This is a community-based consensus-driven approach to policy-making. The idea is that Internet governance should mimic the structure of the Internet itself- borderless and open to all.

  • Effect on the Internet

    ICANN plays a unique role in the infrastructure of the internet. Through its contracts with registries (such as dot-com or dot-info) and registrars (companies that sell domain names to individuals and organisations), we help define how the domain name system functions and expands.

  • Get involved

    Explore online forums and the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees or active mailing lists for participants. ICANN holds public meetings throughout the year. Many of the groups working on policy issues are seeking public input. Share your perspective, on the Public Comment forum.

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The ICANN community is a great place to meet people that understand Internet governance.
Everyone is very helpful, answering questions and helping you get more involved.

Join the conversation.
What do you care about— internet security, the digital divide?

ICANN’s inclusive approach treats the public sector, the private sector, and technical experts as peers. In the ICANN community, you’ll find registries, registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), intellectual property advocates, commercial and business interests, non-commercial and non-profit interests, representation from more than 100 governments, and a global array of individual Internet users. All points of view receive consideration on their own merits. ICANN’s fundamental belief is that all users of the Internet deserve a say in how it is run.

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Attend a meeting! Learn about our work.

ICANN holds international public meetings each calendar year in different regions of the globe. ICANN meetings are free and open to all. It is a great opportunity to connect with the community on issues you care about. Meet regional and global leaders as well as individuals working on issues that impact the future of the Internet.

Usually comprised of more than 300 different sessions, the four to six day meetings are a focal point for individuals and representatives of the different ICANN stakeholders (either attending in-person or participating remotely) to introduce and discuss issues related to ICANN policy. At the Community Forum and the Annual General Meeting, there are a Public Forum sessions that are specifically set aside for anyone that wishes to raise a point by walking up to the microphone and talking directly to Board members and to the rest of the ICANN Community. The vast majority of the other meetings are also open, and often welcome new and interested members.

Learn more about the next meeting and what issues will be discussed.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."