Skip to main content
Resources

About Zone File Access

Registry operators must provide to ICANN bulk access to the zone files of the Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) at least on a daily basis. For gTLDs, a zone file contains information about domain names that are active in that gTLD. In general, Internet users may be able to access and download zone file data at no cost for certain purposes. The Internet user must either sign an agreement with the registry that operates that TLD, or electronically sign the agreement via ICANN Centralized Zone Data Service (CZDS), depending on which version of the base registry agreement governs the relationship between ICANN and the registry operator. Approved users can access zone data for at least three months, and download the zone data once per 24-hour period. Under certain circumstances a Registry Operator may deny or revoke access. Please note the Registry Agreement (contract) does not define a time period by which registry operators must process zone file access requests. Therefore, you are encouraged to check the zone file access policy or procedure of a gTLD, where it exists, for more information.

The zone file access agreement for each gTLD (including approved uses) is in Appendix 3 of Registry Agreement for a TLD delegated into the root zone prior to the year 2013; or Specification 4, section 2, for a TLD delegated during and after 2013. ICANN maintains a webpage with all current registry agreements.

This contractual obligation does not apply to any ccTLD (such as .us, .de, or .uk). If you have a complaint about gTLD zone file access, please submit a Zone File Access Complaint Form.

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."