Domain Name Registry

DNR, the acronym for domain name registry, is the database that manages domain names. It creates domain name extensions, domain name rules, and works with registrars to sell to the public. It allows a third party entity on the internet to request a domain name administrative control. The top and 2nd-level Domain Name System are the operating levels of registries.

Also referred to as NIC (network information centre), a registry operator maintains the domain’s administrative data, and generates a zone file for the addresses of the domain’s name servers. The registry manages the registration of domain names within the domains of its responsibility, controlling policies for domain name allocation, and operating the domain. The functions of a domain name registrar or delegation of such functions to another entity may also be performed by domain name registry.

IANA is known broadly as internet assigned numbers authority and manages through its hierarchy the domain names by using the root “name-servers” as the administrator. The intergovernmental organisation's registry, the protocol administration purposes with area zone, and critical zones like are operated by IANA. All domain name authority is delegated by IANA to other domain name registries. Country code top-level domains to national registries are delegated by IANA. For example, DENIC and Nominet in Germany and United Kingdom respectively.


Domain name registries operate differently. Government departments such as India’s; service providers for the internet like DENIC or Nominet UK which is for non-profit oriented companies. The US registry,, for example, operates as a commercial organisation.

WHOIS system allocates and designs domain names for registries via DNS (Domain name Servers). Registries may sell names directly or indirectly by relying on a separate entity for the sales. Examples of such names are sold as a wholesale by VeriSign at a controlled price. Retail as a name is sold to businesses and consumers by individual domain name registrars. Verisign is the official registration manager domain names and the accompanying domain name systems (DNS).


There are two major policies in the allocation of domain name registry. These are the Allocation and Dispute policies.

Allocation policies: A domain name registry is historically operated to serve on a first come basis for system allocation. It, however, has the discretion to reject specific domains allocation on a basis of one or a combination of religious, political, legal, historical or cultural reasons. Between 1996 and 1998, in the United States, InterNIC rejected domain name applications automatically on the basis of perceived obscenities.

Matters of interest to local communities may also be controlled by registries. For instance, registries in Germany, Japan, and Poland introduced internationalised domain names which allow the use of local non-ASCII characters.

Dispute policies: A dispute resolution policy called Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is often used by domains registered under ICANN registrars. However, in Germany, DENIC expects people to use the country’s civil courts to resolve disputes, while intellectual property disputes resolution service is dealt with in the UK by Nominet.


Third-level domains systems may be imposed on users by domain name registries. DENIC, Germany’s (.de) registry, however, does not enforce third-level domains. The French Registry (.fr), called AFNIC has third-level domains, but it’s not compulsory for registrants to use them.

The compulsory third and fourth level domain has been abandoned by many ccTLDS for the second level domains available for registrants. Examples include the April 2002 (.us), May 2009 (.mx), March 2010 (.co) and June 2014 (.uk).


Second level domain registrants often act like a registry as it offers sub-registrations to registration belonging to them. For instance, registrations are offered by the registrants, rather than by GPTC, Libya’s domain name registry.


1. Nameserver: They point the domain name to the DNS settings controlling company. It is usually the registration company for the domain name. They sometimes provide nameservers that need to be pointed to if the website is hosted by another company.

2. Zone File: The settings of the domain name server are stored by Zone Files. The company’s nameserver stores the domain name’s Zone File.

3. A Record: A Record uses the IP address to point the domain name to an individual server. Each domain name owns a primary A Record tagged “@” and it controls the actions of the domain name when it is finished directly.

4. CNAME: Subdomains are pointed by CNAMES to another server using a server name. CNAMES, unlike domain names, do not use IP addresses.

5. MX Records: The domain name’s email is pointed to the email provider by the MX Records.


IANA, broadly known as internet assigned numbers authority maintains the official list of all top-level domains. It is also in charge of the approval process for newly proposed top-level domains.

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