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What are the rules for registration of gTLD names?

The rules vary depending on the nature of the gTLD. For an overview of all gTLDs, see You can get additional information on how to register gTLD names by contacting an ICANN-accredited registrar. A list of all ICANN-accredited registrars is also available here.

Are gTLD names available for registration on a global basis?

Yes, these domains are available for registration by Internet users across the globe; also, ICANN-accredited registrars are located in countries around the world.

I've seen domain names ending with two-letter combinations, like .uk. What are the rules for registering in these domains?

Two letter domains, such as .uk, .de and .jp (for example), are called country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location. The rules and policies for registering ccTLDs vary significantly and a number of ccTLDs are reserved for use by citizens of the corresponding country.

Some ICANN-accredited registrars provide registration services in the ccTLDs, however, ICANN does not accredit registrars or set registration policies for ccTLDs. For details about ccTLD registration policies, you should contact the designated country code manager.

The country-code top-level domain domain name I registered belongs with a country that is currently in conflict. How does this affect my domain?

Contact your country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) name operator/manager directly with questions about or problems with your ccTLD. You can use this IANA Root Zone Database to look up contact information for your ccTLD operator/manager. In theory, the geopolitical situation in a country where you've registered a domain name through a ccTLD organization/manager should not impact your domain name; however, if an ongoing conflict happening in a certain country impacts the ability of your ccTLD organization/manager to perform its work this may impact your domain name.

How is a country-code domain name different from a "regular" domain name?

Each country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) is operated by an independent registry operator that sets policies to govern the registration and use of that particular ccTLD. Consequently, each ccTLD and its domain names is governed by a unique set of policies.

Will my name and contact information become publicly available?

In some cases, your name and contact information will be made publicly available. Contact your registrar and registry to find out if this is the case. Keep in mind that you also have the option of using a privacy or proxy service.

How long does a registration last? Can it be renewed?

Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal registraions in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining unexpired term shall not exceed ten years.

How do I find out about becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar?

Click here for an explanation of what you need to do to become an ICANN-accredited registrar and ICANN's accreditation policies.

I already have a domain name registered, but I don't know who the sponsoring registrar is. How can I find out which company I registered my domain with?

To access information regarding registered domains; please go to the InterNIC Registry Whois Service. For some top-level domains, the results of a successful search will contain only technical information about the registered domain name and referral information for the registrar of the domain name. In the Shared Registration System model, registrars are responsible for maintaining Whois domain name contact information. Please refer to the registrar's Whois service for additional information.

Can I change registrars after registering a domain name?

Yes, you may change the registrar sponsoring your domain name (beginning 60 days after initial registration). For details on the transfer process, contact the registrar you would like to assume sponsorship of the registration.

I have seen advertisements for domain-name registration by companies not in the accredited registrar directory. Are these legitimate?

Many companies that are not accredited by ICANN offer domain registration services -- some are reselling names obtained from accredited registrars. ICANN recommends that you deal directly with an accredited registrar.

Someone else has registered my company's name as a domain name. What is the process for resolving my complaint?

All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the court rules on who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cyber-squatting" and "cyber-piracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.

Someone else has registered my domain name. I want it. What should I do?

If you are interested in a domain name that is currently registered by someone else, you may wish to consider the following alternatives:

  • Work out an agreement with the current registrant;
  • Wait and see if the current registrant lets the domain name expire and then attempt to register it;
  • File a lawsuit in the appropriate court against the current registrant if you believe the domain name had been obtained unlawfully; and/or
  • Begin an administrative proceeding under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) or Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system to enforce your trademark rights.

How do I stop someone from registering a domain name with my trademark without having to register it myself?

Having a trademark does not necessarily mean that you can prevent someone from registering a domain name with your trademark in it. See the question above for more information about disputing someone's domain name registration.

Someone has unfairly registered a similar domain name to mine, how do I dispute their registration of the domain name?

You may wish to consult an attorney who deals with intellectual property law to discuss your available options for disputing someone else's domain name registration. ICANN does not give legal advice. Also, the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) allows trademark and service mark holders to arbitrate certain claims against a domain name registrant before an approved dispute resolution service provider. The Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system is a rights protection mechanism that complements the UDRP by offering a lower-cost, faster path to relief for rights holders experiencing the most clear-cut cases of infringement.

Someone has said that I have registered a domain name in violation of their trademark. What do I do?

If you receive a communication from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or someone else claiming your domain name is infringing on their trademark, you should read the notice/communication carefully and consider consulting an attorney who deals with intellectual property law to discuss your available options. As a registrant of a domain name you have certain rights, including the right to defend yourself if your domain name registration is being disputed/challenged under the UDRP or URS. These procedures were adapted to combat cybersquatting. However, if you believe you have registered a domain name for a legitimate use and in good faith, you should certainly respond to a UDRP or URS claim in a timely fashion to be sure your side of the story is heard.

If I have customer service questions or problems related to my domain name registration, whom should I contact?

You should contact the registrar that registered your domain name.

If I'm having a problem with my registrar, should I report it to ICANN?

If you have a problem with one of the registrars, you should first try to resolve it with that registrar.

If you cannot resolve your complaint with the registrar, you should address it to private-sector agencies involved in addressing customer complaints or governmental consumer-protection agencies. The appropriate agency will vary depending on the jurisdiction of the registrar and the customer.

All registrars with direct access to the .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, ,.org, and .pro registries are accredited for this purpose by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN does not resolve individual customer complaints. ICANN is a technical-coordination body. Its primary objective is to coordinate the Internet's system of assigned names and numbers to promote stable operation.

Although ICANN's limited technical mission does not include resolving individual customer-service complaints, ICANN does monitor such complaints to discern trends. If you would like to submit a complaint about a registrar for ICANN's records, please use the Registrar Problem Report Form located at the InterNIC website. As a courtesy, ICANN will forward your complaint to the registrar for review and further handling. (Please note that there is no guarantee that the registrar will reply.)

My registrar won't let me transfer my domain, what do I do?

If you're having trouble transferring your domain from one registrar to another, you should contact the registrar you want to transfer to for assistance. If your preferred registrar is having any trouble processing your transfer, your registrar can obtain assistance from ICANN or the registry operator as appropriate.

Registrars are not permitted to deny transfer requests arbitrarily. ICANN has no policy that permits or requires registrars to deny outgoing transfer requests solely because the registration is within X number of days before expiration. In any case where a "losing" registrar does deny a transfer request, it is required to provide the "gaining" registrar with a notice of the denial and a specific reason for the denial.

Click here to file a transfer complaint with ICANN Contractual Compliance.

I want a domain that has recently expired, but the registrar won't release it. How can I get the name?

Section 3.7.5 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement requires registrars to delete domain registrations after a second notice and a grace period, unless there are "extenuating circumstances." Some examples of such "extenuating circumstances" might include ownership disputes, payment disputes, or lame server delegations. Only the registrar would know exactly why it hasn't yet deleted a particular name. No specific dates or deadlines are prescribed in the current provisions.

ICANN has not yet adopted a uniform policy concerning the handling of expired domain names. If you're interested in helping to craft such a policy, you can learn more about ICANN's bottom-up, consensus-based process for making new policies at ICANN's website.

What is ICANN?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System (DNS) to ensure that every address is unique and that all users of the Internet can find all valid addresses. It does this by overseeing the distribution of unique IP addresses and domain names. It also ensures that each domain name maps to the correct IP address.

ICANN is also responsible for accrediting the domain name registrars. "Accredit" means to identify and set minimum standards for the performance of registration functions, to recognize persons or entities meeting those standards, and to enter into an accreditation agreement that sets forth the rules and procedures applicable to the provision of Registrar Services.

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.

What is InterNIC?

The InterNIC website is operated by ICANN to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services.

Visit the InterNIC website to:

Is ICANN the proper authority to report spam?

No. ICANN is a private, non-profit technical coordination body for the Internet's name and numbering systems. The content of an e-mail message, ftp file, or web page bear no inherent relation to the assigned domain name, and therefore fall outside of ICANN's policy-making scope. If you have a problem with the way somebody is using the Internet, you should take it up directly with that person or with the applicable Internet Service Provider or governmental agency depending on the circumstances.

If you believe that Whois data was used as the source of address data for this mailing, we encourage you to complain to the sponsoring registrar. Use of Whois data to send spam is a violation of every ICANN-accredited registrar's terms of use for Whois data.

Also, if the content is of an illegal nature, or you believe that you are being spammed in violation of the law, you may want to seek legal advice and/or bring your concerns to the attention of a relevant governmental law enforcement agency.

What is the Domain Name System?

The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address - just like a telephone number - which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing, you can type It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.

What does it mean to "register" a domain name?

The Internet domain name system (DNS) consists of a directory, organized hierarchically, of all the domain names and their corresponding computers registered to particular companies and persons using the Internet. When you register a domain name, it will be associated with the computer on the Internet you designate during the period the registration is in effect. From that computer, you can create a website which will be accessible to Internet users around the world.

How do I register a domain name?

Domain names can be registered through many different companies (known as "registrars") that compete with one another. A listing of these companies appears in the Registrar Directory on this site.

The registrar you choose will ask you to provide various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of the contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site. You will also be required to enter a registration contract with the registrar, which sets forth the terms under which your registration is accepted and will be maintained.

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."