Domain Name Registrar is a company which reserves website names to firms and individuals for payment. Such company must be accredited by ICANN and certified by registries. It must be noted that by purchasing an available name, you actually lease it out for up to 10 years at a time. You can renew it anytime.
In this article, we’ll explain the difference between registrar and registry, get into the details of domain registration process and dispel common misconceptions about this relevant topic.
Domain Name Registration process explained
Wondering what is the difference between registrar, registry and registrant? Technical terms often confuse people. Especially when they all sound so similar! Therefore, before we begin the explanation of the entire registration procedure, let’s clear out the definitions of participants of it.
The domain name registrant is whoever buys a name for a website. It can be an individual or a company. The interested party visits registrar’s website to check name availability and price.
Note that people usually think that paying money to registrar means that they are buying the name. In theorical terms, it’s not possible to buy the domain name, because you pay money for the right to use it. A minimum term to rent a name is one year and the maximum is ten years.
As a registrant, you have the right of using the domain name as long as you pay for doing so, access data regarding registration, management, transfers, renewals and restoration of it. You are also responsible for providing correct contact data and responding to registrar’s requests.
Domain Name Registrar definition
As stated previously, a domain name registrar is an organization that needs to have ICANN’s accreditation and agreements from registries to sell domain names for registrants. Some of the most popular dealers are NameCheap, GoDaddy, 1&1 and others.
Contrary to a popular belief, you can’t take full ownership of the domain for a lifetime. In fact, you reserve the name for a chosen period of time (for up to 10 years at a time).
As you may know already, names that are not renewed within given period of time can be found on the market or in auctions again. Then, other people can reserve it.
Registrar resellers are third-party businesses who sell website names on behalf of domain name registrars. It is wise to know that ICANN-accredited dealers are not the only ones selling names for registrants.
Usually, these sellers do not disclose the information about their status. Likewise, novice computer users might struggle to identify ICANN-accredited ones from resellers. Luckily, you can find the list of these on the mentioned organization’s official website.
Domain Name Registry
Domain Name Registry is a large database which consists of all website names and associated registrants. The database is managed by Registry Operators that are obligated to follow the rules of the department of ICANN, which is known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
Registries are responsible for maintaining records about each TLD and setting policies for them. They accept registration requests from registrars and registrants, keep information about registration details and generate the zone file.
The Registration Process
Domain name registration is an pretty easy process. Taking an available name is the first step when launching a new website, and it is an extremely important decision to make. You can find an easy explanation below.
- First, come up with an idea for your website name. You can check our guide on how to choose the best one.
- After choosing the perfect name, check its availability. You can do it via name generators or on different registrar’s sites. Please note that prices on different sources differ, so don’t rush!
- Register the domain name via chosen registrar or a reseller. You’ll need to use a bank card for this, so make sure you have it. You can choose to reserve the name from 1 to 10 years. Of course, you can renew your reservation later.
- After the registration, the registry creates a WHOIS record. The registrant may choose to remain anonymous, for example, using WhoIsGuard services. Generic information then will be displayed instead of private registrant’s data. The registry also sends domain zone files to master servers.
In simple terms, paying for the domain name is leasing it out for as long as you pay for it. Once you stop paying, someone else can take it over!
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Meanwhile, those who are confused should consider the hierarchical structure where ICANN is at the top, and the registrant (the user) is at the bottom. Likewise, people who want to obtain a particular website must place a request at the ICANN-accredited registrar.
The authorized Registrar takes the order and asks the Registry Operator to reserve the particular name so that other people could not take hold of it. Since the operator manages the Registry with all domain names, it can reserve it and create a Whois record with registrant’s information.
As mentioned before, ICANN is at the top of the hierarchy. It is a non-profit organization which supervises both registrars and registry operators as well as the assignment of IP addresses and domain names. Since it manages not only TLD name system but also the root system, it is the foundation of the Whois system.
Domain Name WhoIs Record
WHOIS website provides records about domain name holders. System archive delivers data in a form that every user can understand. When the user wants to check WhoIs record, it sends requests to the database holding the records of registrants, IP address blocks and other information.
Usually, the database provides the following information:
To check yours or some other website’s registrar, follow these instructions:
- Visit WhoIs Lookup. Enter the URL of the site you want to inspect.
- In Domain Information, check the field Registrar.
Since anyone can use the WhoIs lookup, companies and individuals might start receiving phishing emails, calls from online fraudsters, or less than reliable offers by marketing firms. Domain name registrars provide Whois privacy services to avoid scams.
You can look for registrar reviews on rankapage.com to find the prices of Whois privacy services. Usually, the registrar works as a proxy for the registrant, replacing private information with generic details.
Although the security of these services are dependent on the registrar as the actual data of the registrant is held in its database.
Most common questions answered
Price depends on many factors – TLD, the uniqueness and the length of it. Usually, without the discount it starts from 10$ for one year.
It depends where you choose to register the name. It can be added as free extra, although elsewhere you may be charged around $10 per year.
The domain name registrar is a company responsible for selling domain names.
Hosting server holds all data of a website, including files, images, etc.
Some companies only offer name reservation services. Some registrars offer hosting services as well. The main point of choosing registrar is its reputation and price.