Who is a Domain Name Registrar?
Simply put, a domain name registrar is someone you go to, to register a domain name. A good example is godaddy.com.
They are an organization or commercial entity that are accredited by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and granted the authority by generic top-level domain registry (gTLD) and country code top-level domain registry (ccTLD) to sell their and manage the reservation of Internet domain name in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries.
ICANN is a private (non-government), non-profit corporation that has been given the responsibility of allocating IP addresses and managing the Domain Name System. ICANN currently accredits domain name registrars for the following top-level domains. They are .aero .biz .com .coop .info .museum .name .net .org and .pro.
Who then is a domain registry?
A domain registry is the operator that manages the registration of domain names within the top-level domains. For example Verisign, Inc. an American company based in Reston, Virginia is the authoritative registry for the .com and .net generic top level domain (gTLD). A domain registry manages the database of domain names within the top-level domains for which it is responsible and controls the policies of domain name allocation. They are distinctly different from a domain name registrar.
Up until, 1999, Network Solutions (NSI) operated the com, net, and org registries. In addition to the function of domain name registry operator, they are also the sole registrar for these domains. However, following pressure from the growing domain name registration business and other interested parties, NSI's agreement with the United States Department of Commerce was amended. The amendment required the creation of a shared registration system that supported multiple registrars. This system officially commenced service on November 30, 1999 under the supervision of ICANN. Since then, over 500 registrars have entered the market for domain name registration services. The competition created by the shared registration system enables end users to choose from many registrars offering a range of related services at varying prices.
Of the registrars who initially entered the market, many have continued to grow and outpace rivals. Go Daddy is the largest registrar. Other successful registrars include eNom and Tucows.
Responsibility of a Domain Name Registrar
Domain name registries maintain domain registration information. Domain name registrars have a contract with the registries provide registration services to the public. You the end user select a registrar to provide the registration service, and that registrar becomes the designated registrar for the domain chosen by the user.
Only the designated registrar may modify or delete information about domain names in a central registry database. It is not unusual for an end user to switch registrars, invoking a domain transfer process between the registrars involved. This is governed by specific domain name transfer policies.
When a registrar registers a com domain name for an end-user, it must pay an annual fee to VeriSign, the registry operator for com, and an annual administration fee to ICANN. Most domain registrars price their services and products to address both the annual fees and the administration fees that must be paid to ICANN.
In addition, many registrars offer registration through reseller affiliates. An end-user registers either directly with a registrar, or indirectly through one or more layers of resellers. As the time of writing, the retail cost generally ranges from a low of about $7.50 per year to about $35 per year for a simple domain registration. It is not uncommon for registrars often drop the price far lower – sometimes even free – when ordered with web hosting services.
A domain registrar can act for multiple domain registry operators. For example at godaddy.com you can register a variety of domain extensions such as .com .net .org .info .biz .name .asia .mobi .xxx etc.
You can view a list of domain name registrars at http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html
ICANN posts reports created by the registries of 16 gTLDs. These reports list absolute numbers of domains registered with each ICANN-accredited registrar. You can view them at http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/monthly-reports/index.html.
Length of Registration
The maximum period of registration for a domain name is 10 years. Some registrars offer longer periods of up to 100 years, but such offers involve the registrar renewing the registration for their customer. The 100-year registration would not be in the official registration database.
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