This glossary includes various terms relevant to the contents of this site.
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Registrar that has been certified as meeting certain minimal criteria to act as a registrar for a specific TLD. This term is almost solely used when referring to ICANN-certified registrars.
Individual, role or organisation authorized to interact with the registry or registrar on behalf of the domain holder. The administrative contact should be able to answer nontechnical questions about the domain name’s registration and the SLD holder. In all cases, the administrative contact is viewed as the authoritative point of contact for the domain name, second only to the registrant.
Registrar authorized by PIR to register .ORG domain names. Authorized registrars have completed a rigorous business and technical process. All .ORG-authorized registrars also are accredited by ICANN.
Individual, role or organisation designated to receive the invoice for domain name registration and re-registration fees.
Individuals or entities associated with domain name records. Typically, third parties with specific inquiries or concerns will use contact records to determine who should act on specific issues related to a domain name record. Typically, there are three contact types associated with a domain name record: the administrative contact, the billing contact and the technical contact.
Globally used standard for time. UTC and GMT are essentially the same — both refer to time on the zero or Greenwich meridian. Bodies such as ICANN and WIPO often use universal time when referring to election dates and legal deadlines.
TLD containing a two-character abbreviation, as defined by ISO 3166-1 (Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions). As of November 1999, there were 243 registered ccTLDs. Some examples are .US for the United States, .CA for Canada, .JP for Japan and .DE for Germany. ccTLDs often are contrasted with gTLDs. ccTLDs often have more restrictive registration requirements, including regional requirements, whereas gTLDs tend to be open to all registrants around the world.
See Domain Name System.
Addressing construct used to identify and locate computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember text-based Internet addresses, which can be translated by the DNS into the numeric addresses (IP numbers) used by the network. A domain name is hierarchical and often conveys information about the type of entity using the domain name. A domain name is simply a label that represents a domain, which is a subset of the total domain name space. Domain names at the same level of the hierarchy must be unique. For example, there can be only one .ORG at the top-level of the hierarchy and only one pir.org domain name at the next level of the hierarchy.
Hierarchical system by which easy-to-remember, text-based names such as “pir.org” are associated with numeric Internet locations.
Markup language for documents containing structured information. Structured information contains both content (words, pictures, etc.) and some indication of what role that content plays (for example, content in a section heading has a different meaning than content in a footnote, which means something different than content in a figure caption or table). Almost all documents have some structure. A markup language is a mechanism to identify structures in a document. The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup to documents.
Connection-oriented, application layer client-server protocol for the provisioning and management of objects stored in a shared central repository. Specified in XML, the protocol defines generic object management operations and an extensible framework that maps protocol operations to objects. EPP is being discussed in the IETF “provreg” Working Group.
TLD name that is open to registrants around the world, in contrast to ccTLDs, which often are restricted to registrants located in a particular country or region. .ORG, .INFO, .COM and .NET are examples of gTLDs.
Greenwich Mean Time. See UTC.
A computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to link domain names to IP numbers; also called a name server.
The ownership of ideas and control over the tangible or virtual representation of those ideas. Typical examples are trademarks and service marks.
The authority originally responsible for the oversight of IP address allocation; the coordination of the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in Internet technical standards; and the management of the DNS, including the delegation of TLDs and oversight of the root name server system. Under ICANN, IANA continues to distribute addresses to the regional Internet registries, coordinate with the IETF and others to assign protocol parameters, and oversee the operation of the DNS.
The nonprofit organisation that manages and coordinates the Domain Name System. It focuses on preserving the stability of the Internet; promoting competition; achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and developing policy through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.
A large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. The task force is open to any interested individual.
InterNIC was the name given to a project that originated in 1993 under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) enabling Network Solutions, Inc., to provide domain name registration services in .COM, .NET, .ORG and .EDU. The InterNIC name is no longer used by Network Solutions for its services. InterNIC currently is the name of a Web site provided by ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Communications protocol underlying the Internet. IP allows large, geographically diverse networks of computers to communicate with each other quickly and economically over a variety of physical links.
The numerical address by which a location on the Internet is identified. Computers on the Internet use IP addresses to route traffic and establish connections among themselves; people generally use the text-based names made possible by the DNS.
Maintains and makes available the hardware, software and data needed to perform link text-based domain names and numeric IP addresses. Many ISPs operate name servers and provide their customers with name service when they register a domain name. Most individuals are not in a position to operate a name server on their own and will need to make arrangements for name service with an ISP or some other person or organisation.
Trademarks of national effect are intended to explicitly encompass national trademark registrations and European community trademark registrations (CTMs). Explicitly excluded from this definition are U.S. state and other local registrations, as well as any registrations on a supplemental or equivalent register.
NSI Registry Registrar Protocol (RRP):
Developed by the Network Solutions Registry for use within the .COM/.NET/.ORG SRS. As defined in RFC 2832, NSI RRP is a TCP-based 7-bit US-ASCII text protocol that permits multiple registrars to provide second-level Internet domain name registration services in the TLDs administered by a TLD registry. This protocol is considered obsolete, superceded by EPP.
Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E):
Process in which ICANN-accredited registrars develop client systems and software to register and manage domain names and name servers prior to live operation in the Shared Registration System (SRS). The SRS includes an isolated, shared OT&E server environment that is used for both initial registrar system development and ongoing registrar development and testing. Prior to operation in the live SRS, registrars must complete a basic functional evaluation in the OT&E environment to demonstrate full and correct operation of their client systems. The evaluation must be completed without error before registrars are given access to the Production SRS.
Individual or organisation that registers a specific domain name. This individual or organisation holds the right to use that specific domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and the registration fees are paid. This person or organisation is the legal entity bound by the terms of the relevant service agreement with the registry operator for the TLD in question.
Person or entity that, via contract with ICANN, registrants and a registry, provides front-end domain name registration services to registrants, providing a public interface to registry services.
Person(s) or entity(ies) responsible for providing registry services, via contract with ICANN. Registry services include customer database administration, zone file publication, DNS operation, marketing and policy determination in accordance with the general principles outlined in RFC 1591. A registry may outsource some, all or none of these services. PIR is the registry for .ORG.
A protocol for the registration and management of SLD names and associated name servers in both TLDs and ccTLDs. See NSI RRP and EPP.
WHOIS services made available by specific registries for the domain names over which they have authority.
The IETF document series, begun in 1969, that describes the Internet suite of protocols and related experiments. Very few RFCs describe Internet standards, but all Internet standards are written up as RFCs.
Some ICANN-accredited registrars have “resellers.” The registrar provides its resellers with the tools, such as back-end systems and customer service, required to register domain names. Using its registrar’s systems, the reseller then has the ability to sell domain names to whomever it wishes, such as the general public. In some ways, this is akin to the affiliate programs that many online retailers have with other Web sites.
Process by which domain names are matched with corresponding IP numbers. Resolution is accomplished by a combination of computers and software, referred to as name servers, that use the data in the DNS to determine which IP numbers correspond to a particular domain name.
A machine that has the software and data needed to locate name servers that contain authoritative data for the TLDs (e.g., root servers know which name servers contain authoritative data for .COM, .NET, .FR, .UK, etc.). The root servers are, in fact, name servers and contain authoritative data for the very top of the DNS hierarchy. Technical specifications currently limit the number of root servers to 13. These machines are located around the globe, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Japan.
Second-Level Domain (SLD):
The second level of the DNS hierarchy. For example “pir” in “pir.org” is a second-level domain.
A security protocol that provides communications privacy over the Internet. The protocol allows client/server applications to communicate in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering and message forgery.
A domain name registration system in which registry services are shared among multiple independent registrars. Shared registration systems require a loose coupling between registrars and a registry.
Registrar responsible for the submission of the domain name to the registry.
The individual, role or organisation responsible for the technical operations of the delegated zone. This contact likely maintains the domain name server(s) for the domain. The technical contact should be able to answer technical questions about the domain name and the delegated zone, as well as work with technically oriented people in other zones to solve technical problems that affect the domain name and/or zone.
Registry in which all of the information associated with registered entities, including both technical information (information needed to produce zone files) and social information (information needed to implement operational, business or legal practices), is stored within the registry repository. While .ORG was run as a thin registry by VeriSign, PIR converted .ORG into a thick registry.
Registry in which some element of the social information associated with registered entities is distributed between a shared registry and the registrars served by the registry.
See Top-Level Domain
A file that contains data describing a portion of the domain name space for a specific TLD. Zone files contain the information needed to link domain names to IP numbers. Zone files contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers.
Name at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. TLDs appear in domain names as the string of letters following the last (rightmost) period, such as “org” in “www.example.org”. The administrator for a TLD controls what second-level names are recognized in that TLD. The administrators of the root domain or root zone control what TLDs are recognized by the DNS. Commonly used TLDs include .ORG, .INFO, .NET, .EDU, .JP and .DE.
Name, symbol or other device identifying a product; officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer.
All registrars in.ORG, .COM, .INFO and the other TLDs follow this policy from ICANN. Under the policy, most types of trademark-based domain-name disputes must be resolved by agreement, court action or arbitration before a registrar will cancel, suspend or transfer a domain name.
The distinct address that identifies each resource on the Internet. More formally, a URL is the networked extension of the standard filename concept that can exist on any machine on the network and can be served via any of several different methods. An example of a URL is http://www.afilias.info/.
See Coordinated Universal Time.
A World Wide Web interface to WHOIS services.
A searchable database maintained by registries and registrars that contains information about domain name registrations in the .COM, .NET, .ORG, .EDU and ISO 3166 country code top-level domains. Also, the protocol, or set of rules, that describes the application used to access the database.
The application server providing the WHOIS service.
organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual rights throughout the world. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies in the UN system of organisations.
An international industry consortium founded in October 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the evolution of the World Wide Web and ensure its interoperability. W3C provides, among other services, a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, reference code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate the use of new technology.
Files that contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to IP numbers.