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Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) Pilot Program Launches

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced a voluntary Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) pilot program, which will begin on 5 September 2017 and conclude on 31 July 2018. RDAP enables users to access current registration data and was created as a replacement for the WHOIS protocol.

The goal of the pilot program is to develop a baseline profile (or profiles) to guide implementation, establish an implementation target date, and develop a plan for the implementation of an RDAP-based solution. Proceeding with a pilot program will provide an opportunity for Registration Data Services (RDS) operators to gain operational experience and for producers and consumers of RDS data to participate and provide valuable feedback.

The voluntary RDAP pilot program was initiated at the request [PDF, 93 KB] of the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group, with the support of the Registrar Stakeholder Group. Interested parties can participate in the pilot as described in the community wiki workspace.

About RDAP

Some of RDAP advantages over WHOIS protocol include:

  • Standardized query, response and error messages.
  • Secure access to data (i.e., over HTTPS).
  • Extensibility (e.g., makes it easy to add output elements).
  • A bootstrapping mechanism that makes it easy to find the authoritative server for a given query.
  • Redirection/reference mechanism (e.g., from a thin registry to a registrar).
  • Builds on top of the well-known web protocol HTTP.
  • Internationalization support for registration data.
  • Provides the option to enable differentiated access (e.g., limited access for anonymous users and full access for authenticated users).

For more information, send an email to globalsupport@icann.org with "RDAP Pilot Program" in the subject line.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."