Domain registration is the process by which a company or individual can secure a website domain, such as www.yoursite.com.
Once you have completed domain registration the domain becomes yours for the period of the contract, usually one year. Before registration expires it must be renewed, or the domain reverts back to being available to the general public.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the international Domain Name Server (DNS) database.
ICANN insures that all registered names are unique and map properly to a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. The IP address is the numerical address of the website that tells other computers on the Internet where to find the server host and domain.
Domain registration is available to the public via a registrar. Fees and services vary from company to company, but the process is generally inexpensive. Before a domain registration can be approved, the new name must be checked against existing names in the DNS database. The online registrar provides a field into which you can enter your desired name and hierarchy —- that is, the letters that come after the “dot.” Familiar hierarchies are .com, .net, .org, .name, .info and .biz. If the name is not already taken, it is available for domain registration.
During the domain registration process, you will be required to give contact information that will be publicly available through the WHOIS database. Anyone can go to a WHOIS search engine and enter a domain name to see who has registered it. Registrars require that this information be accurate and true. If you feel uncomfortable providing personal information, there are some registrars that will act as your proxy, supplying their information in place of your own as the contact for the domain. There may be a small fee for this service and potential drawbacks to balance against the ability to maintain your privacy, so read the Terms and Conditions carefully before deciding to opt for a domain by proxy.
Also important, be sure you will own the domain name, as some registrars maintain control over the domains they register. And be sure you retain the option to transfer the domain to another registrar, if you wish. There might be an initial period after which this becomes possible. Look for any fees that might be incurred as a result of transferring the domain. This could become important down the road if you wish to take advantage of another registrar’s products or services.
Upon completing the domain registration process, it will take a period of hours to a few days to be able to see the domain online. The domain can be “parked” with an “in construction” page that acts as a kind of placeholder. Parking a domain is very inexpensive and most registrars offer this service for a small fee to give you time to come up with content. Once a registrant is ready to supply content, a web server must host the domain. The registrar might also provide hosting services, or you may wish to transfer your domain to another web hosting company.
If you are considering domain registration, ICANN recommends dealing with an accredited registrar. These registrars have entered into an official agreement with ICANN to meet minimal requirements for providing domain registration.
How To Register a Domain Name
With hundreds of online domain registration companies available on the World Wide Web, you can register domains easily and cheaply. With the variety of registrars online, you will find a wide range of fees and prices charged for the service of registering a domain name. Some of these fees involve domain registration only while other fees might include additional services provided. The cost to register domain will depend heavily on the domain name registration company you sign up with.
When you register a domain, the minimum period of registration is usually a year, where you have the option of renewing your registration after that year is up. Most registrars will also give you the flexibility of registering your domain name for 3, 5 or even 10 years. Registering your domain for a longer term could help lower your yearly registration fee as many registration companies offer discounts if you choose to register your domain for more than a year.
One thing to keep in mind when you register domain is to maintain and keep-up the quality of your domain name. Quality domains can be easily recognized as they possess the element of effectiveness in drawing visitors to the website they represent. Keeping your domain name short will help people remember that name and will also reduce the probability of errors (spelling or otherwise) when typing that name into a web browser. You want to limit any possibility of losing potential web visitors with a long, difficulty-to-remember and complicated domain name.
Keeping your domain name as relevant to the content you intend to publish on your website, or to the nature and type of products or services you are offering on your website, will also help draw appropriate visitors to your site. By appropriate visitors, we mean people who are genuinely interested in the offerings and content of your website. If you are keeping an online business, these visitors are more likely than others to be potential customers.
Before you confirm your domain name and complete your registration, remember to check the spelling of that name to prevent any spelling errors. Once registered, it is near impossible to change the spelling of your domain name and you will be stuck with an ineffective name you may not want to use. Some registrars, however, may offer you the option of a refund (if you’ve made a mistake with your domain name) within a certain time frame after purchasing your domain. Different companies have different refund policies, so it is always wise to check all terms and conditions before signing up with any domain registrar.
Finally, we highly recommend that you register domain name with a reputable registrar. One like Active-Domain.com would be ideal as we ensure your security and are almost a guarantee of quality and timely customer service.
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:
* Search domain records in the Registry Whois
* Find registrar contact details in the Accredited Registrar Directory
* File a registrar complaint through the Registrar Problem Report Form
* Report inaccurate Whois data through the Whois Data Problem Report Form
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.
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 220.127.116.11, you can type www.internic.net. 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.
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 http://www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html. 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.
* View a list of Domain Name Registrars Sorted by Country
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.
* View a list of all delegated ccTLDs & their designated managers
Will my name and contact information become publicly available?
Information about who is responsible for domain names is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws. The registrar will make this information available to the public on a “Whois” site. It is however possible to register a domain in the name of a third party, as long as they agree to accept responsibility — ask your registrar for further details.
How long does a registration last? Can it be renewed?
Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining unexpired term shall not exceed ten years.
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.
* Registrar Directory
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.
* View a complete list of ICANN-Accredited Registrars
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.
* Learn more about ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy
* Visit UDRP Frequently Asked Questions on the InterNIC website
* View a list of ICANN’s Approved UDRP Providers
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.
* How do I find out who my registrar is?
* Find registrar contact details in the Accredited Registrar Directory
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.)
* Find registrar contact details in the Accredited Registrar Directory
* Submit a registrar complaint through the Registrar Problem Report Form
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.
For your reference, the “Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations Between Registrars” is set forth in Exhibit B to the Registry-Registrar Agreement. For details on updates to ICANN’s transfer policies, please refer to <http://www.icann.org/transfers/>.
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.
* Participate in ICANN
The Accredited Registrar Directory
The following companies have been accredited by ICANN to act as registrars in one or more TLDs:
Alphabetical Listing by Company/Organization Name
Listing by Location of Registrar
Listing by Language Supported
Since new accredited registrars are establishing registration services on an ongoing basis, this directory will be updated frequently. It is suggested that you refer to this directory often for new, up-to-date information.
For information on the ICANN registrar accreditation process, please refer to the ICANN Accredited Registrar Information Page.
Submitted by T.Padmanabhan, First M.A., Communication, PSG CAS, Coimbatore, October, 2009