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Domain Name Industry

The domain name ecosystem includes organizations, businesses, and individuals involved in the provision, support, and sale of domain names and related services.

Registries are organizations that are responsible for maintaining the registry for each Top-Level Domain (TLD). The responsibilities of the registries include accepting domain name registration requests from registrars, maintaining a database of the necessary domain name registration data, and providing name servers to publish the zone file data (i.e., information about the location of a domain name) throughout the Internet.

Registrars are organizations accredited by ICANN organization and certified by the registries to sell domain names. They are bound by the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) with ICANN organization, and by their agreements with the registries.

Resellers are organizations affiliated with or are under contract with registrars to sell domain names and other services provided by the registrars such as web hosting. Resellers are bound by their agreements with the registrar(s) whose services they sell and are not accredited by ICANN organization. The registrars remain the responsible and accountable party for all domain name registrations sold by their resellers.

Domain name registrants are individuals or organizations that acquired the right to use a domain name for a period of time via an agreement with a registrar or reseller. The domain name registrant is bound by the terms and conditions of the registrar with which it registers its domain name.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN organization) is the non-profit organization that enters into and oversees the agreements with registries and registrars. ICANN organization has the responsibility of overseeing the huge and complex interconnected network of unique identifiers that allow computers on the Internet to find one another. Read more about what ICANN organization does and does not do here.

This web page aggregates additional existing content across the icann.org website about the domain name system. If you have suggestions or would like to submit an inquiry, please contact ICANN organization's Global Support Center's Global Support Center.

Contractual compliance complaints can be submitted here.

What is a registrar?

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."