Domain Registry Services FAQ


DOMAIN NAME OVERVIEW  

What is a domain name?
What is a TLD?
What is a second-level domain name?
What is a third-level domain name?
What is ICANN?
How are domain names registered?
What is an Internet domain name registry?
What is the difference between a thin registry and a thick registry?
What are the TLD Zone Files?
What is the domain name resolution process?
What domain name registries does Verisign operate?
How long will the Verisign registry be the exclusive registry for .com and .net?
What registry services does Verisign provide registrars?
What registry services does Verisign provide to registry owners?
What services does Verisign provide to Internet users?

REGISTRAR OVERVIEW  

What is a registrar?
What are the financial requirements for becoming a registrar?
What are the technical requirements for becoming a registrar?
If I am ICANN-accredited for .com and .net, can I add other TLDs?
What is the Shared Registry System?
What is the Name Store platform?
Is it possible to offer domain name registration without becoming a registrar?
What other services does Verisign provide to support registrars?

REGISTERING A DOMAIN NAME  

Who needs to register a domain name?
Help! My domain name has expired!
What is Whois?
How many domain names should I register?
How long should I register my domain name?

.NAME OVERVIEW  

What is a second-level domain name using .name?
What is a third-level domain using .name?
What is the impact of second-level registrations on third-level registrations (or, "how does it work?")?
What is the e-mail forwarding service for .name?
What are the restrictions for using the .name e-mail forwarding service?
Will there be any e-mail service on the second-level domain registrations?
How do the third and second levels interact? Is this a complicated rule for registrars to implement?
Are there different eligibility requirements for .name second- and third-level registrations?
What are the registration terms for a domain and/or e-mail forwarding?
What queries are searchable on the .name Whois?
What are the rules governing availability of second levels?
What is the NameWatch service?
What are Defensive Registrations?

 

DOMAIN NAME OVERVIEW ANSWERS

What is a domain name? 
A domain name is a unique word or phrase in a particular format that allows people to find information on the Internet. The Domain Name System (DNS) maps domain names to servers where the content resides, based on each server's Internet Protocol (IP) address (for example, 192.0.2.53 or 2001:503:A83:0:0:2:30). Instead of searching for information by IP address, a domain name allows people to search for websites and send e-mail using familiar, easy-to-remember domain names. Back to top

What is a TLD? 
Every domain name ends with a top-level domain (TLD), which are the two or three letters after ".", such as .com or .tv. Every TLD is managed by an authoritative registry, a single place where domain names are registered and the associated name servers are identified. There are currently two types of TLDs: generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .net and .org and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .de, .fr, .nl, .cc, .uk and .cn. ICANN has announced a timeline for the introduction of new extensions, commonly referred to as new gTLDs. Back to top

What is a second-level domain name? 
The portion of the domain name that appears immediately to the left of the top-level domain is the second-level domain name (e.g., the "verisigninc" in "verisigninc.com"). Many organisations and individuals register multiple domain names using the same second-level domain name with different top-level domain names (verisigninc.com, verisigninc.tv, verisigninc.cc, etc.). Back to top

What is a third-level domain name? 
The portion of the domain name that appears before the second-level domain name, separated by a dot, is the third-level domain name. The most common third-level domain name is www. Third-level domain names, also called subdomains, are often used to categorise special sections of a website, such as investor information at "investor.verisigninc.com." A third-level domain name does not have to be registered and is created on the website host server. However, the .name registry does allow registration of third-level domain names so that individuals may register domain names that match their actual names such as firstname.lastname.name. Back to top

What is ICANN? 
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates the unique identifiers used for computers connected to the Internet across the world. It is a not-for-profit, public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. Back to top

How are domain names registered? 
Registration is the provisioning process to register a domain name with the appropriate naming authority. When you create a website or set up an e-mail account, you have to tell the Internet where that content is located. Domain names are registered for a period of one to ten years by an individual or an organisation. A user requests a domain name from a registrar. The registrar verifies that the domain name is available by checking with the registry that manages the corresponding TLD. If it is available, the registrar registers the domain name with the registry, which adds it to the registry database. At the end of the registration period, the domain name registrant can either renew the domain name or let it expire. Back to top

What is an Internet domain name registry? 
For the Internet to function and to prevent duplication of domain names, there has to be one authoritative place to register a domain name. Each TLD has an authoritative registry, which manages a centralised database. The registry propagates the information about domain names and IP addresses in TLD zone files to enable communication over the Internet for applications such as credit card processing and bank transactions, as well as Web browsing and e-mail. A registry provides a direct service to registrars, who in turn provide a direct service to domain name registrants. Back to top

What is the difference between a thin registry and a thick registry? 
There are two different types of registry databases: thick and thin. A thin registry database contains only DNS information (domain name, name server names and name server IP addresses) along with the name of the registrar who registered the name and basic transaction data. A thick registry database also contains registrant, technical and administrative contact information. Verisign operates a thick registry for .name TLD and thin registries for other TLDs. Back to top

What are the TLD Zone Files? 
TLD zone files are files maintained by a registry that map active second-level domain names to the unique IP addresses of the name servers. Name servers have additional information about Internet services related to the domain name. A separate file is maintained for each TLD. The TLD zone files are maintained primarily to facilitate increased system throughput and overall Internet efficiency. Back to top

What is the domain name resolution process? 
When a user enters a domain name into a web browser or other Internet application, the Internet has to find out where to send the information. These domain name lookups require resolution. The resolution process uses the data in the DNS to determine which IP addresses correspond to a particular domain name. The technology, servers, guidelines and processes that make the system work form the DNS backbone. Verisign® Domain Registry Services support the industry's most scalable, reliable DNS resolution and provisioning systems. The Verisign DNS has maintained 100 per cent operational accuracy and stability for 15 years. Back to top

What domain name registries does Verisign operate? 
Verisign operates the exclusive domain name registries for .com and .net, as well as .name, .tv and .cc. We also provide registry services for .edu and .jobs on behalf of EDUCAUSE and Employ Media, respectively. ICANN maintains registry agreements with Verisign for the operation of .com, .net and .name. Verisign provides registration and resolution services to close to 900 ICANN-accredited registrars who submit over 252 million domain name transactions daily. Back to top

How long will the Verisign registry be the exclusive registry for .com and .net? 
Under the .com Registry Agreement, Verisign will continue to be the exclusive registry for .com until 30 November 2018, which may be extended or renewed. Under the .net Registry Agreement, Verisign will continue to be the exclusive registry for .net until 30 June 2017, which may be extended or renewed. The agreements can be found at ICANN Archived Registry Agreements. Back to top

What registry services does Verisign provide registrars? 
Depending on a registrar's business priorities—to increase registrations or renewals, expand to new markets or enhance services—we have many tools, resources and registry services to help. Using the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) SDKs developed by Verisign as part of the Shared Registration System (SRS), registrars may add new or delete existing domain names, modify name server information, transfer names from another registrar, add name servers, modify name servers, query the registry database and check availability of names. Verisign also provides a web-based tool for registrars to administer domains, manage name servers, manage registrar information and generate reports on the domain names under their management. Our global support desk is available 24/7 to assist you. Back to top

What registry services does Verisign provide to registry owners? 
It is no simple task to acquire and operate a top-level domain name extension. Verisign has an extensive history in operating the world's best-known extensions, .com and .net. new gTLDs provide organisations with the trusted support and reliable infrastructure needed to acquire and service new domain name spaces without having to invest in the critical infrastructure required for provisioning and resolution servers. Back to top

What services does Verisign provide to Internet users? 
Verisign processes as many as 77 billion DNS queries every day. Verisign provides critical infrastructure services that allow the Internet to function securely and reliably so that Internet users get to where they need to go. Many times a day, the Verisign registry updates the TLD zone files for the domains we manage and propagates those files to the Internet's TLD servers. TLD zone files enable a domain name to correlate to an IP address.

Verisign manages the authoritative Whois service for all second-level domain names registered in the top-level domains we manage. Anyone can search Whois by domain, registrar or name server. The search results display the domain name, registrar of record, registrar Whois server, registrar referral URL, name servers, domain status, creation date, expiration date and last updated date. The registrar of record maintains contact information for the actual domain name registrant. If a domain name is not registered, no match will be found. Back to top

REGISTRAR OVERVIEW ANSWERS

What is a registrar? 
Registrars process name registrations for domain name registrants and then send the necessary domain name system (DNS) information to a registry for entry into the centralised registry database. The registrar database contains customer information in addition to the DNS information contained in the registry database. The customers of the Verisign registry are registrars who have executed the appropriate Registrar-Registry and Name Store Agreements for the domains managed by Verisign and who have been accredited by ICANN. Become a Registrar. Back to top

What are the financial requirements for becoming a registrar? 
Verisign requires registrars to complete a credit application and establish a payment security based on expected monthly registration volume. The payment security is held without action unless invoices are not paid in accordance with the terms of Registry-Registrar Agreements. For details about each TLD’s financial requirements, choose the appropriate TLD for information on Become a Registrar. Back to top

What are the technical requirements for becoming a registrar? 
Registrars must demonstrate full and correct operation of their systems within the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) environment before connecting to the Shared Registration System (SRS). Registrar software and system requirements depend on each company's expertise, business model and registration volume. A low-volume registrar may require modest infrastructure investment; a high-volume operation may require a significant investment in people, software, hardware and network services. Verisign offers Software Development Kits (SDKs) and implementation guides to assist registrars. Our global support desk is available 24/7 to assist you. Back to top

If I am ICANN-accredited for .com and .net, can I add other TLDs? 
The .tv and .cc registries are ccTLDs and do not require ICANN accreditation for registrars. Verisign requires registrars to complete account information, meet financial requirements and demonstrate technical readiness to become a .tv or .cc registrar. The .name and .jobs registries are gTLDs and do require separate ICANN accreditation as well as Verisign certification to become a .name registrar or become a .jobs registrar. Back to top

What is the Shared Registry System? 
The Shared Registration System (SRS) was created in 1999 to help stabilise the Internet and protect consumers. SRS is a system of associated hardware and software developed by Verisign that permits multiple registrars to provide Internet domain name registration services within the top-level domains (TLDs) administered by Verisign. The SRS includes the following subsystems: a database server subsystem; a registration subsystem ensuring non-discriminatory access to the registry by all registrars; an invoicing subsystem; a systems development and testing subsystem; a TLD zone file generation subsystem; and a Whois subsystem. The SRS is consistent with, and supportive of, the provisions of the Statement of Policy on Domain Name System administration, Management of Internet Names and Addresses, 63 Fed Reg. 31741 (1998) (the "White Paper"), as well as the Cooperative Agreement NCR-92-18742 between the U.S. Government and Verisign. Back to top

What is the Name Store platform? 
The Verisign® Name Store platform supports provisioning for the .tv, .cc, and .jobs registries, the Name Suggestion Service and other Name Store services. The platform minimises implementation lead times. To add new products, complete the appropriate service order or registry-registrar agreements and then update your EPP mappings. Visit EPP SDKs for guides and updates Back to top

Is it possible to offer domain name registration without becoming a registrar? 
You do not have to be a registrar to offer registration services. For example, small and medium-sized Web hosting and design companies worldwide have partnered with certified registrars to resell .com and .net in their local markets. Social networking and community sites might resell .name domain names to help customers establish an individual identity online. Read more about the Verisign® Domain Services Reseller program. Back to top

What other services does Verisign provide to support registrars? 
Verisign is committed to your success as a domain name registrar. Depending on your business priorities—to increase registrations or renewals, expand to new markets or enhance services—we have many tools, resources and registry products to help. Value-added products for current registrars help you keep pace with industry trends and news, target customers using intelligence about the domain names you manage and provide administrative tools to improve renewals and offer more relevant domain name suggestions. Back to top

REGISTERING A DOMAIN NAME ANSWERS

Who needs to register a domain name? 
If you create a website or set up an e-mail account, you need a domain name to tell the Internet how to find you. A domain name is a unique word or phrase in a particular format understood by the Internet. Domain names are registered for a period of one to ten years by an individual or an organisation. A domain name allows people to find your site using a familiar, easy-to-remember domain name instead of the IP address of the server where the website is located. Back to top

Help! My domain name has expired! 
Verisign operates several domain name registries; however, we are not a registrar. If your domain name has expired, please contact your registrar about renewing. If you do not know who your registrar is, you may search the Whois database for your domain name. The results will show the registrar responsible for registering your domain name so that you can contact them. Back to top

What is Whois? 
Every registry maintains a Whois database with details about registered domain names. For each registered domain name, the Whois database includes the following information: domain name, registrar of record, the registrar's Whois server, referral URL, last updated date and name server information. The Whois database maintained by Verisign is an authoritative directory for all domain names registered in the .com, .net and .edu TLDs. Verisign also maintains Whois databases for .cc, .tv, .name and .jobs. Back to top

How many domain names should I register? 
A domain name is one of the most effective and affordable ways to promote your online identity and protect your brand. By creating a portfolio of domain names, you make it easier for people to find you and more effectively direct them to the most relevant content. If you register "samplebusinessname.com" for your website, you might as well add "samplebusinessname.net" for your internal infrastructure, "samplebusinessname.tv" for your rich media content, "samplebusinessname.jobs" for your recruitment and human resources department and so on. Many companies also register variations on a domain name, for example, "samplecorporatebrand.com" or "businessbrandsample.com". Your domain names can point to a single website or to a different landing page within your website. Why buy a keyword ad when you can own the domain name? Back to top

How long should I register my domain name? 
A domain name can be registered for one to ten years. Ten years may seem like a long time, however, if a domain name expires, your connection on the Internet is completely lost. Your website becomes unreachable, e-mail bounces back to senders and someone else can register your domain name. Even if your registrar can retrieve your domain name after it expires, it may take a few days for your website to come back online. Back to top

.NAME OVERVIEW ANSWERS

What is a second-level domain name using .name? 
The portion of the domain name that appears immediately to the left of the top-level domain is the second-level domain name (e.g., the "verisigninc" in "verisigninc.com").

The purpose of a second-level domain name using the .name top-level domain is to provide registrants with an opportunity to register their last name as a second-level domain name using the .name extension (e.g., last.name). Back to top

What is a third-level domain using .name? 
A third-level domain name is the portion of the domain name that appears before the second-level domain name, separated by a dot. The most common third-level domain name is www. Third-level domain names, also called subdomains, are often used to categorise special sections of a website, such as investor information at “investor.verisigninc.com”. A third-level domain name does not have to be registered and is created on the website host server. However, the .name registry does allow registration of third-level domain names so that individuals may register domain names that match their actual names such as firstname.lastname.name. Back to top

What is the impact of second-level registrations on third-level registrations (or, "how does it work?")? 
If someone has registered a second-level domain, such as smith.name, then no one can register a third-level domain, such as john.smith.name. The reverse is also true: if someone has registered a third-level domain, such as john.smith.name, then no one can register a second-level domain, such as smith.name. Back to top

What is the e-mail forwarding service for .name? 
.name uses technology that allows a registrant to order an e-mail address like firstname@lastname.name.

Using .name’s e-mail forwarding, the service will accept incoming e-mail to a firstname@lastname.name personal and unique address and will forward that e-mail to any address specified by the registrant. The registrant must have a pre-existing e-mail account (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo mail, an ISP mail ID, etc.) to use this service. The service will only offer incoming message forwarding to registered users and will not provide outgoing SMTP relaying for any users. Back to top

What are the restrictions for using the .name e-mail forwarding service? 
The .name registry has reserved the right to restrict the e-mail forwarding service to operate inside the following restrictions:

  • The maximum number of messages in the e-mail forwarding queue from one user at a time will be limited to 500, after which the .name registry may bounce messages.
  • The .name registry may bounce messages if the total e-mail forwarding queue for one user reaches a size of 50 MB.
  • The .name registry may stop forwarding messages that exceed 20 MB in size.
  • The .name registry may block users that receive more than 3,000 e-mails in any 24-hour period.
  • The .name registry may control the number of e-mails received and the quantity of e-mail forwarded by the e-mail forwarding service in order to maintain a stable, secure and reliable service.
Back to top

Will there be any e-mail service on the second-level domain registrations? 
No, the second-level domain name can never coexist with the e-mail forwarding. For example, smith.name and john@smith.name are always mutually exclusive. One can exist, but not the other. This is because the second-level domain name registration delegates the entire second-level domain name to the registrant, which would disable any registry MX record on smith.name for sharing. Back to top

How do the third and second levels interact? Is this a complicated rule for registrars to implement? 
It is actually very simple and no rules governing availability should need to be implemented on the registrars’ side. Availability checks via the registry will work well for a registrar. For a registrar registering a domain name on behalf of a registrant, the .name space has four kinds of statuses/objects:

  • Available third-level domain names and e-mail addresses (e.g. john.smith.name and john@smith.name)
  • Unavailable third-level domain names and e-mail addresses
  • Available second-level domain names (e.g. abc.name)
  • Unavailable second-level domain names
This is very simple and straightforward on the registrars’ side and domain name registrations on the third or second levels can be done independently of each other. Back to top

Are there different eligibility requirements for .name second- and third-level registrations? 
No, .name is a space for individuals' personal names. A personal name may be, without limitation, a name, nickname, pseudonym, alias, or something an individual or fictional character is commonly known as in its own social context. An individual can register a personal name or a company. Also, an individual can register a fictional character to which it has rights. This is valid for both third- and second-level registrations. A full description of the eligibility requirements is available on ICANN's website. Back to top

What are the registration terms for a domain and/or e-mail forwarding? 
The exact period of years you can register a .name domain name, at either the second or third level, or for an e-mail forwarding ID, varies from one to ten years at a time. Back to top

What queries are searchable on the .name Whois? 
The .name Whois allows for queries on third- and second-level domains, independently of each other. The Whois therefore has six possible responses, three for each domain name product:

  • Third-level domain name registered (and returns record)
  • Third-level domain name not registered
  • Third-level domain name unavailable due to second-level domain name already registered (shared second level)
  • Second-level domain name registered (and returns record)
  • Second-level domain name not registered
  • Second-level domain name unavailable due to third level already registered (shared second level)
Back to top

What are the rules governing availability of second levels? 
On the registry's side, the (somewhat simplified) rules governing availability are the following:

  • A third-level domain name/e-mail is available if:
    • It is not already registered;
    • It does not conflict with a Defensive Registration;
    • The second-level domain name on which the third level is requested (i.e. the "shared second level") is not registered as a second-level domain name.
  • A second-level domain name is available if:
    • It is not already registered;
    • It does not conflict with a Premium Defensive Registration or a Standard Defensive Registration registered prior to the second-level opening;
    • It is not already in use for a third-level domain name registration/e-mail.
Back to top

What is the NameWatch service? 
The NameWatch service provides subscribers with a report summarising all new registrations made under .name that match a key term. Both domain names and e-mail forwarding addresses registered at the .name registry will be covered in one report. Depending on the subscription term, a NameWatch subscriber would receive an electronic report on a daily, weekly or monthly basis (as they choose) for the duration of the subscription, featuring every name newly registered under .name that includes the key term(s).

NameWatch subscriptions appeal to intellectual property owners who want to protect their trademarks, as well as brand enforcement specialists or anyone else concerned with preserving the integrity of a trademark, brand or company name. Celebrities will also be concerned with who is registering variations of their names. Back to top

What are Defensive Registrations? 
Defensive Registrations sold by registrars prior to 1 October 2004 also cover the second-level namespace:

  • Standard Defensive Registrations (of the type "string1.string2") will be extended and "string2" will be blocked from registrations on the second level.
  • Premium Defensive Registrations (of the type "string3") will be extended and "string3" will be blocked from registrations on the second level.
Standard Defensive Registrations registered after 1 October 2004 does not extend to the second level as above. However, Premium Defensive Registrations always cover both the third-level and second-level namespace.

For clarification, a Premium Defensive Registration of "string3” will block registration of the following third-level registrations: "*.string3.name", "string3.*.name", "*@string3.name", "string3@*.name" and the following second-level registration: "string3.name". Back to top



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