Domain Name Industry
Through the process of registering for a domain name, you may have had exposure to some of the players in the domain name industry. A more in-depth understanding of the roles of these and other players within the domain name industry will help you be more informed and knowledgeable about managing your domain names.
The domain name ecosystem includes organizations, businesses, and individuals involved in the provision, support, and registration of domain names and related services. When you registered your domain name, you might have come across one or more of the following entities.
Registrars are companies that you can contact to register a domain name. The terms of your domain name registration, including fees, transfers, and renewals 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, website builder, etc. There are over a thousand ICANN-accredited registrars throughout the world that provide support in local languages. A list of current ICANN-accredited registrars can be found here.
Resellers are companies affiliated with or are under contract with registrars to register domain names and offer other services provided by the registrars such as web hosting. Resellers are bound by their agreements with the registrar(s) and are not accredited by ICANN. The registrars remain the responsible and accountable party for all domain name registrations made by their resellers.
DNS hosts are companies that manage your domain's configuration (also known as DNS resource records). These configurations point your domain name to your website and email. Many registrars include DNS hosting service with domain name registrations.
Web hosting companies 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 the registration of a domain name without displaying your contact information in the Registration Data Directory Service. Privacy and proxy services are frequently offered by the registrar during the registration process but may also be obtained from a third-party service provider. ICANN org is currently implementing an accreditation program for privacy and proxy service providers, pursuant to policy recommendations developed through the multistakeholder policy development process.
Registries 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 under 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 name servers to publish the zone file data (e.g., the list of all the domain names and their associated IP addresses) throughout the Internet. 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.
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.
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?
- About registrars
- About resellers
- Registrants' benefits and responsibilities
- Concerned that your registrar is not on the accredited list? – If the company that registered your domain name is not in the accredited registrar directory, click here
- Listing of ICANN accredited registrars
- Contact info for ICANN-accredited registrars
- About no contact information on registrar's website
- About not being able to contact your registrar
- Notice of bankruptcy, convictions and security breaches
- Registrar information specification
- Failure to support DNSSEC, IDN, IPv6
- Registrar abuse reports
- Lifecycle of a typical gTLD domain name
- Domain name industry responsibilities
- Domain name industry ecosystem