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FAQs for Registrants: About ICANN

Q: Can I get a website or domain name from ICANN?

A: No, a website cannot be obtained from ICANN. Domain name registration is done by registrars. A list of ICANN-accredited registrars is available here. Some people assume that getting a domain name automatically means you have a website; however, it's important to know that you must either purchase a web hosting service or find one that offers free services in order to make a website fully functional and accessible to others.

Q: You are confusing me with all this registry, registrar and registrant talk. What does it all mean?

Through the process of registering for a domain name, you (the registrant) may have had exposure to some of the participants in the domain name industry. A more in-depth understanding of the roles of these and other participants within the domain name industry will help you be more informed and knowledgeable about managing your domain names.

Domain name registrars are companies that you can contact to register a domain name. The terms of your domain name registration, including fees, renewals and some transfer-related options, are governed by the registration agreement between you and your registrar. ICANN-accredited registrars have agreements with ICANN and registry operators to offer domain name registration services. Many registrars also offer other services such as web-hosting, privacy/proxy services for masking public registration data, website building services, etc. There are over 2,400 ICANN-accredited registrars throughout the world that provide registration services and support, including in local languages. A list of current ICANN-accredited registrars can be found here.

Domain name resellers are companies contracted by registrars to register domain names on their behalf and offer other services provided by the registrars. Resellers are bound by their agreements with the registrar(s) and are not accredited by ICANN in their capacity as resellers of registrar services. The registrars remain the responsible and accountable party for all domain name registrations serviced by their resellers.

Domain name registry operators are organizations that are responsible for maintaining the records of domain names registered under each top-level domain (TLD). They also set the rules for registration in their TLDs. The responsibilities of the registries include accepting domain name registration requests from registrars, maintaining a database of the necessary registration data associated with domain names, and providing nameservers to publish the zone file data (which is the list of all the domain names in the TLD). Registry operators have agreements with ICANN to operate generic top-level domains (gTLDs). A list of all gTLDs and their respective registry operators can be found here.

Web-hosting companies provide services for managing your domain name's configuration (also known as DNS resource records). These configurations connect your domain name to your website and email. Many registrars include web-hosting services with domain name registrations. Web-hosting companies typically provide server storage space and an IP address for your website. With an IP address, your website can then be accessed from a web browser.

Privacy and proxy service providers enable you to mask some or all of your contact information in the public Registration Data Directory Service. Privacy and proxy services are frequently offered by the registrar during the domain name registration process, but may also be obtained from the registrar at a later time or from a third-party service provider.

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.

ICANN's role is very limited, and it is not responsible for many issues associated with the Internet, such as financial transactions, Internet content control, spam (unsolicited commercial email), Internet gambling, or data protection and privacy.

Click here to learn more about what ICANN does and does not do.

Click here to learn more about what domain names are, and what they are not.

Q: Does ICANN take down inappropriate Internet content and regulate spam or trademark violations?

A: No, ICANN does not police the Internet. ICANN does not control Internet content or stop spam. ICANN works to ensure the security, stability, and interoperability of the Internet through creating fair policies and through the operation of the domain name system.

Learn more about the ICANN policies pertaining to domain name disputes:

Q: Does ICANN allocate IP addresses to individuals or organizations?

A: No, ICANN only allocates IP addresses to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and in-line with IETF direction. The RIRs then allocate addresses to Internet Service Providers, who sub-allocate to networks and individual users.

Q: Does ICANN help with domain ownership or registration disputes?

A: No, ICANN does not get involved in disputes regarding domain ownership or registration. ICANN's role is at the policy level, in ensuring that registries and registrars comply with policies related to those issues, developed through a bottom-up, consensus-based multistakeholder process.

Q: Does ICANN provide Authorization codes for Domain Transfers?

A: No, ICANN does not provide Auth-Codes for domain name transfers. The domain name transfer process is handled by your current domain name service provider or registrar. Contact your domain name service provider or registrar directly to obtain an Auth-Code.

For more information on transferring your domain name, please visit: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/transferring-your-domain-name-2017-10-10-en

Q: Can ICANN lift the 60-day lock on domains?

A: No, ICANN does not place, nor can it lift a 60-day lock on domain names. Registrars must impose a lock that will prevent any transfer to another registrar for sixty (60) days following a change to a registrant's information. Registrars may (but are not required to) allow registrants to opt out of the 60-day lock prior to the change of registrant request. Contact your registrar to see if they will allow you to opt out of the 60-day lock period.

For more information about Change of Registrant and 60-Day Lock After Change of Registrant, please follow this link: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/ownership-2013-05-03-en

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