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What does it take to run a TLD registry?

That’s the question that has been reverberating around one of the mailing lists that covers Internet issues. It’s an important question, and once in which we hope our community have some answers – or, at least, some pointers.

What does it take to run a Top Level Domain Registry? And what’s more easy to run: a ccTLD or gTLD?

Opinions so far have ranged from “it’s easy” to “it’s a serious business” – both of which are obviously far too vague to being to measure what is an intriguing question. Some suggestions fall down in favour of the easy option: “only 5 ccTLDs show 24 x 7 support”, “registries are not difficult to run”. Others say, “it requires great technical skills, and business approach”. They maintain that the while technically and even theoretically it is easy to run a top-level domain, the realities mean providing and/or selling domains, advanced review systems, legal considerations and so on.

It would be good to hear what the registries and businesses think – is it really that difficult to run a TLD? Is it easy to decide what kind of machines to get, how to backup, what power supply you’ll need, Internet connectivity, UPS, 24×7 staff, backup of the power supply, backup of the Internet connection. Do you need staff, payments, social security, registration of a company, accounting, etc., or you think one could run the TLD from their garage? Are there differences between running a ccTLD, and a gTLD?

Let’s hear what you have to say.


    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."