GLOSSARY

A-Z LINKS

A C D E G H I L M N O P R S T U W Z

A

ADD GRACE PERIOD

The Add Grace Period refers to the five calendar days following the initial registration of a domain name, during which the domain name may be deleted and a credit may be issued to the registrar.

ADVANCED TRANSACTION LOOKUP AND SIGNALLING (ATLAS)

Advanced Transaction Lookup and Signalling (ATLAS) is Verisign’s next generation infrastructure platform built to be a protocol agnostic, highly scalable, highly reliable and secure directory infrastructure for a broad range of identity or transaction data lookups.

ATLAS

See Advanced Transaction Lookup and Signalling

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C

CCTLD

See Country Code Top-Level Domain

CONSTITUENCIES

The ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organisation consists of a Names Council, several Constituencies and a General Assembly. Each Constituency is self-organised. The initial Constituencies consist of: 1. ccTLD registries; 2. commercial and business entities; 3. gTLD registries; 4. ISP and connectivity providers; 5. non-commercial domain name holders; 6. registrars; 7. trademark, other intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting interests. Any group of individuals or entities may petition the ICANN Board for recognition as a new or separate Constituency. Please review the new constituency petition and charter, which includes the directions for submission.

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT

A type of contractual agreement often used by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) that facilitates cooperation between private organisations and the U.S. government for the purposes of encouraging the development of new technology with the ultimate goal of transferring that technology over to the private sector.

COUNTRY CODE TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN (ccTLD)

A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is a top-level domain containing a two-character abbreviation as defined by ISO 3166-1 (Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions). There are approximately 250 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) registered. Some examples are .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .jp for Japan, .de for Germany, etc. ccTLDs are often contrasted to generic top-level domains (gTLDs). ccTLDs often have more restrictive registration requirements including regional requirements, whereas gTLDs tend to be open to all registrants around the world.

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D

DDoS

See Distributed Denial of Service

DISTRIBUTED DENIAL OF SERVICE (DDOS)

A denial of service (DoS) attack occurs when traffic is sent from one host to another computer with the intent of disrupting an online application or service. A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple hosts (such as compromised PCs that are part of a “botnet”) are used to carry out and amplify an attack. Attackers usually create the denial-of-service condition by either consuming server bandwidth or impairing the server itself. Typical targets include Web servers, DNS servers, application servers, routers, firewalls and Internet bandwidth.

DNS

See Domain Name System

DNSO

See Domain Name Supporting Organisation

DNSSEC

See Domain Name System Security Extension

DOMAIN NAME

Domain names are an addressing construct used for identifying and locating computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system with easy-to-remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol (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. Thus, for example, there can be only one .com at the top-level of the hierarchy, and only one verisigninc.com at the next level of the hierarchy.

DOMAIN NAME SUPPORTING ORGANISATION (DNSO)

The Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO) is a supporting organisation of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It advises the ICANN Board with respect to policy issues relating to the Domain Name System. The DNSO consists of: (i) a Names Council (“NC”), consisting of representatives of constituencies elected by those Constituencies and 9(ii) a General Assembly (“GA”), consisting of all interested individuals and entities.

DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM (DNS)

The domain name system is a distributed database of information that is used to translate domain names (which are easy for humans to remember and use) into Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, which are what computers need to find each other on the Internet. People working on computers across the globe maintain their specific portion of this database and the data held in each portion of the database is made available to all computers and users on the Internet. The DNS is comprised of computers, data files, software and people all working together. Explore how the Domain Name System works

DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM SECURITY EXTENSION (DNSSEC)

Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC) adds security to the DNS. It is designed to address man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and cache poisoning by authenticating the origin of DNS data and verifying its integrity while moving across the Internet.

DRAFTING COMMITTEES

Drafting committees are bodies of Domain Name Supporting Organisation General Assembly members that are established by the DNSO Names Council to carry out its consensus-building responsibility. Each recognised DNSO Constituency may participate in any drafting committee.

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E

EPP

See Extensible Provisioning Protocol

EXTENSIBLE PROVISIONING PROTOCOL (EPP)

EPP is a flexible protocol designed for allocating objects within registries over the Internet. EPP uses XML (Extensible Markup Language) to pass commands and responses from the registrar to the registry and back.

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G

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The General Assembly (GA) is an open forum for participation in the work of the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO). The participants in the GA should be individuals who have a knowledge of, and an interest in, issues pertaining to the areas for which the DNSO has primary responsibility, and who are willing to contribute time, effort and expertise to the work of the DNSO, including work item proposal and development, discussion of work items, draft document preparation and participation in research and drafting committees and working groups.

GENERIC TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN (GTLD)

A generic top-level domain is a top-level domain name that is open to registrants around the world in contrast to country code top-level domains that are often restricted to registrants located in a particular country or region. gTLDs include .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info and .name.

GTLD

See Generic Top Level Domain

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H

HOST

A host can also be called a name server. A computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers is a host.

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I

IANA

See Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

ICANN

See Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

IETF

See Internet Engineering Task Force

INTERNET ASSIGNED NUMBERS AUTHORITY (IANA)

The Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) controls numbers for protocols, the country code top-level domains and maintains the IP Address allotments.

INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS (ICANN)

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management in addition to root server system management functions. These services were originally performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities. ICANN now performs the IANA function.

INTERNET DOMAIN NAME

An addressing construct used for identifying and locating computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol (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. Thus, for example, there can be only one .com at the top-level of the hierarchy, and only one verisigninc.com at the next level of the hierarchy.

INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE (IETF)

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.

INTERNET NETWORK INFORMATION CENTRE (INTERNIC)

Internet Network Information Centre (InterNIC) is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce. InterNIC was the name given to a project that originated in 1993 under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF), which enabled Network Solutions, Inc. (now Verisign) to provide domain name registration services in .com and .net. The InterNIC name is longer used by Verisign for its services. The InterNIC is currently the name of a website provided by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

INTERNET PROTOCOL IP

A unique, numeric identifier used to specify hosts and networks. Internet Protocol (IP) numbers are part of a global, standardised scheme for identifying machines that are connected to the Internet. Technically speaking, IP numbers are 32-bit addresses that consist of four octets, and they are expressed as four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by dots, for example: 198.41.0.52. IP allocation for the Americas, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa is currently handled by the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). IP allocation for Europe is currently handled by Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE). IP allocation for the Asia/Pacific region is currently handled by the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

INTERNET PROTOCOL VERSION 6 (IPV6)

IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol address standard intended to supplement and eventually replace, the IPv4 protocol most Internet services use to transact on the Internet today. IPv6 preparedness is increasingly urgent as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool for available IPv4 addresses is already exhausted and IPv4 exhaustion at several of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) is expected throughout 2011.

IP

See Internet Protocol

IPV6

See Internet Protocol Version 6

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L

LAME DELEGATION

Lame delegation is listing a host (name server) that does not contain a Start of Authority (SOA) record for a domain name when registering a domain name with a registry or registrar.

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M

MALWARE

Malware, short for malicious (or malevolent) software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content and other software. Malware is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.

MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE ATTACK (MITM)

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack surreptitiously intercepts and modifies communications between two systems. The attacker can potentially modify the communication to redirect traffic to an illegitimate address or website. End users do not detect the "man in the middle" and assume that they are communicating directly with their intended destination.

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N

NAMES COUNCIL

The Names Council (NC) is a part of the Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO), one of three supporting organisations for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It consists of three representatives from each DNSO constituency recognised by the ICANN Board, with the temporary exception of the gTLD Registry Constituency that currently has only one representative. The NC is responsible for the management of the consensus-building process of the DNSO.

NAME SERVER

A name server is also called a host. It is a computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.

NAME SERVICE

Name service is providing individuals or organisations with domain name-to-Internet Protocol (IP) number resolution by maintaining and making available the hardware, software and data needed to perform this function. Many Internet Service Providers (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 another person or organisation.

NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION (NTIA)

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Executive Branch’s principal voice on domestic and international telecommunications and information technology issues. NTIA is the agency within DoC that manages the cooperative agreement with Verisign and the Memorandum of Understanding with ICANN.

NOT CONFIGURED DOMAIN NAMES

Not Configured domain names are domain name registrations that are not configured with name servers at the Top-Level Domain (TLD) registry and therefore not published to the TLD zone file.

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O

OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION (OT&E)

Operational test and evaluation is a process in which registrars licensed by the registry develop client systems and software to register and manage domain names and name servers prior to live operation in the Shared Registration System. The Shared Registration System includes an isolated, shared Operational Test and Evaluation server environment that is used for both initial registrar system development and ongoing registrar development and testing. Prior to operation in the live Shared Registration System, registrars must complete a basic functional evaluation in the Operational Test and Evaluation environment to demonstrate the full and correct operation of their client systems. The evaluation must be completed without error before registrars are given access to the live Shared Registration System.

OT&E

See Operational Test and Evaluation

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P

PRIMARY SERVER

The primary server is the name server that will be used first and will be relied upon before any of the other name servers that may be listed when a domain name is registered with the registry. When registering names with the Registry, registrars must provide the name and IP address of a primary server for the name.

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R

REGISTRANT

A registrant is the individual or organisation that registers a specific domain name with a registrar. 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 Domain Name Registration Agreement with the registrar. Note that the Verisign registry provides direct services to the registrars only, not Internet end-users. The registry database contains only domain name service (DNS) information (domain name, name server names and name server Internet Protocol (IP) numbers) along with the name of the registrar that registered the name and basic transaction data. It does not contain any domain name registrant or contact information. Registrars provide direct services to registrants.

REGISTRAR

A registrar provides direct services to domain name registrants. The registrar database contains customer information in addition to the DNS information contained in the registry database. Registrars process name registrations for Internet end-users and then send the necessary DNS information to a registry for entry into the centralised registry database and ultimate propagation over the Internet. There are multiple registrars providing registration services via Verisign.

REGISTRAR LICENSE AND AGREEMENT

A registrar license and agreement is the contract that registrars must enter into with Verisign in order to be able to provide registration services through the Verisign registry.

REGISTRAR WHOIS

The registrar Whois is a searchable database maintained by registrars that contains information about networks, networking organisations, domain names and the contacts associated with them for the .com, .net, .edu and ISO 3166 country code top-level domains. Each registrar implements the Whois protocol and maintains a separate and distinct Whois database for its respective domain name registrations.

REGISTRY

An Internet domain name registry is an entity that receives domain name service (DNS) information from domain name registrars, inserts that information into a centralised database and propagates the information in Internet zone files on the Internet so that domain names can be found by users around the world via applications such as the World Wide Web and e-mail. Verisign is the exclusive registry for the .com and .net top-level domains.

REGISTRY AGREEMENT

The registry agreement is an agreement that was executed on 10 November 1999 between ICANN and Verisign. The agreement contains the terms and conditions under which Verisign is authorised to be the exclusive registry for all second-level domain names in the .com and .net top-level domain names.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce approved the renewal of Verisign's agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to serve as the authoritative registry operator for the .com registry until 30 Nov. 2018.

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Verisign renewed Verisign's contract to serve as the authoritative registry operator for the .net registry for another six years.

REGISTRY WHOIS

The registry Whois is the authoritative Whois service for all second-level Internet domain names registered in the .com and .net top-level domains. This service is available to anyone. For all registered second-level domain names in .com or .net, information as illustrated in the following example is displayed:

Domain Name: LIBERTY.COM
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Referral URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/
Name Server: NS1.VIAWEST.NET
Name Server: NS2.VIAWEST.NET
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 19-Apr-2013
Creation Date: 22-Mar-1993
Expiration Date: 23-Mar-2023

Note that no end-user contact information is displayed because Verisign does not maintain that information.

RESOLVE

Resolve is the term used to describe the process by which domain names are matched with corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. "Resolution" is accomplished by a combination of computers and software, referred to as name servers that use the data in the Domain Name System to determine which IP numbers correspond to a particular domain name.

ROOT

The root is the top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, often referred to as the “dot.”

ROOT SERVER

The root server is a machine that has the software and data needed to locate name servers that contain authoritative data for the top-level domains (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 Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. Currently, technical specifications limit the number of root servers to 13. These machines are currently located around the globe, in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden and Japan.

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S

SECONDARY SERVER

The secondary server is a name server that will be used in addition to, and as a backup for, the primary name server for a domain name. Names and IP addresses of secondary servers are provided by registrars when they register names with Verisign registry.

SECOND-LEVEL DOMAIN NAME

In the Domain Name System (DNS), the next level of the hierarchy underneath the top-level domains is the second-level domain names. In a domain name, it is that portion of the domain name that appears immediately to the left of the top-level domain (e.g., the "verisigninc" in "verisigninc.com"). Second-level domain names are used to represent businesses and other commercial concerns on the Internet.

SHARED REGISTRATION SYSTEM (SRS)

The Shared Registration System developed by Verisign permits multiple registrars to provide Internet domain name registration services within the top-level domains (TLDs) administered by Verisign. The System (a protocol and associated hardware and software) includes the following sub-systems: a database server sub-system, a registration sub-system ensuring equivalent access to the registry by all registrars; a billing sub-system; a systems development and testing sub-system; a TLD zone file generation sub-system; and a Whois sub-system. The System 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 Amendment No. 11 to Cooperative Agreement NCR-92-18742 between the U.S. Government and Verisign.

SOA

See Start of Authority

SRS

See Shared Registration System

START OF AUTHORITY (SOA)

The Start of Authority (SOA) record has core information about your zone. It defines which server is your primary name server, your contact information (e-mail), how your secondary name servers get updated and the default (minimum) time-to-live values for your records.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS

The ICANN Supporting Organisations serve as advisory bodies to the SOA Resource Board, with the primary responsibility of developing and recommending substantive policies regarding those matters falling within their specific responsibilities.

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T

TLD

See Top-Level Domain

TLD ZONE FILES

TLD zone files contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific top–level domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Zone files contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers. Verisign updates TLD zone files for the .com and .net TLDs every five minutes. Registrars can subscribe to domain name zone alerts about the domain names they manage to facilitate administration and improve customer service. To add this service, contact Customer Support.

TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN (TLD)

In the Domain Name System (DNS), the highest level of the hierarchy after the root. In a domain name, the portion of the domain name that appears furthest to the right. For example, the “.com” in “verisigninc.com.”

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U

Universal Resource Locator (URL)

Universal Resource Locator (URL) is an address used to locate websites on the Internet (e.g., http://www.verisigninc.com).

URL

See Universal Resource Locator

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W

WHOIS

Whois is 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. (Also see Registrar Whois and Registry Whois.)

WHOIS SERVER

The Whois server is the URL (Web address) where the Whois service for a particular registry or registrar may be found. This is one of the items of information provided by the Verisign Whois.

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Z

ZONE FILE ACCESS AGREEMENT

An agreement with Verisign that must be executed by parties requesting access to the Verisign TLD zone files.

ZONE FILES

Zone files contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific top-level domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Zone files contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers. Verisign updates zone files for the .com and .net TLDs every five minutes.

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