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Domain Registrars

In order to get and register a domain name you will need to register your domain name with an ICANN accredited domain registrar. This article explains what a domain name registrar can do for you, and what the qualifications of becoming a domain registrar are.

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When you want to get a domain name, you have to go through a domain registrar. A domain name registrar is an organization (usually a business) that can help you find a domain name and the claim it, linking that domain name to a string of numbers – and IP address – on a server. The location of your Web page is set by the domain registration, and connected to you. Domain registrars are an important part of online infrastructure, and regulated by the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN). You cannot set up a domain name without going through an ICANN-accredited domain registrar. This is so that domain names remain unique all over the world, and so that the global Internet can be an interconnected effort.

You will have to pay for domain name registration. You can pay for this for as little as six months up to 10 years. Most people choose to register a domain for between two and five years. There are considerations to be able to register a domain name for up to 99 years, however. When you buy a domain registration, you should realize that it is only for a set period of time. You have to pay to re-register the domain name if you want to keep it beyond the initial period.

Qualifications for a domain registrar

One cannot just be a domain registrar. ICANN receives applications from potential domain registrars and reviews them. In order to receive approval from ICANN to sell domain name registrations, a registrar must meet the following conditions:

  • Offer a secure and authenticated way to register.
  • Have scalable operations that can handle increased volume of registrants.
  • Be able to promptly handle issues related to second level domain holders who want to change their registration data.
  • Have the ability to keep electronic copies of all transactions.
  • Be able to reliably backup data related to operations.
  • Develop policies and procedures designed to provide top-notch security.
  • Have policies that allow registrants to change their registrar without changing domain names or experiencing a problem with service.
  • Demonstrate sound business practices, including competent management and the ability to hire qualified employees. Adequate capital and good cash flow is required as part of the ability to engage in sound and solid business practices.
  • Have backup plans in place for the benefit of customers should the registrar go out of business.
  • Continue to provide evidence that the registrar consistently meets these standards in order to maintain accreditation.

Disqualification can come if a registrar has misled or misrepresented information, or if the registrar has received some sort of legal action or some sort of censure by a government for practices that might be considered unethical or a misuse of funds. These are stringent qualifications that ICANN considers in order to make sure that even if a domain registrar goes down, the Internet as a whole is not affected. What happens if a registrar with millions of customers suddenly has a serious problem? Without ICANN making sure that things are in train before that registrar is approved, the disruption could be massive. It is vital that domain registrars are held to high standards.

In order to apply for accreditation as a domain registrar, it costs $2,500 for a testbed application. Other applications cost $1,000. If a potential registrar is rejected for a testbed, it is possible to be considered for another application, without having to pay another fee.

In the end, if you want to set up shop on the Internet, you have to go through a domain registrar, or one of that registrar’s resellers. It is necessary that you search your domain name to make sure it is unique, and it is vital that your contact information be available to ICANN. ICANN does not control content or access to the Internet – other than making sure that domain names match up to IP addresses, and making sure that each domain name is unique.

Related Article: Domain Registrar vs. Registry >>

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