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SSL Validation FAQ's - What is a domain registrar?

A domain name registrar is a company accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to sell Internet domain names. ICANN has authority over gTLDs, or Generic Top Level Domains. Examples of gTLDs include .com, .net and .org. ICANN does not have authority over ccTLDs, or Country Code Top-Level Domains. Registrars compete with each other to provide the best support and services at the lowest price.

A domain registry is database which keeps track of which domain name maps to which IP address in the domain name system on the Internet. Such a registry has two main tasks:

1. giving out domain names under their top-level domain (TLD) to those who ask for them; and
2. making the database of domain name registrations available to the world at large.

Registries can only operate if the top level domain they run has been delegated to them by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Hence, there can only be one registry for each top level domain. If there is more than one index, confusion would result (as has happened to a limited extent with the .biz top level domain).

The endings of the domain name dictate which organization controls them. In practice, this is the organization that controls the name servers for that domain. Therefore ICANN has de facto control of the overall Domain Name System (DNS) because it controls the root name servers.

Registries make the index available to the world via Whois systems and via their name servers, for the direction of internet traffic. Such systems have to be fully redundant because loss of name servers can affect all internet traffic sent to that domain.

(Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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