.help Glossary of Technical Terms
A top-level domain devoted solely to international treaty organizations that have independent legal personality. Such organizations are not governed by the laws of any specific country, rather by mutual agreement between multiple countries. IANA maintains the domain registry for this domain.
The representation of an IPv4 address in the DNS system.
The representation of an IPv6 address in the DNS system.
Majority of the registries require 4 contacts for a successful domain registration: Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing. The Administrative contact is intended to represent the Registrant(owner) of the domain, in any non-technical matters, regarding the management of the domain. Certain extensions require Administrative contact to confirm requests and accept notices about the domain name.
The ASCII-compatible encoded (ACE) representation of an internationalized domain name, i.e. how it is transmitted internally within the DNS protocol. A-labels always commence the with the prefix "xn--". Contrast with U-label.
Originally a reference to the US Government agency that managed some of the Internet’s initial development, now a top-level domain used solely for machine-readable use by computers for certain protocols — such as for reverse IP address lookups, and ENUM. The domain is not designed for general registrations. IANA manages ARPA in conjunction with the Internet Architecture Board.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
The standard for transmitting English (or "Latin") letters over the Internet. DNS was originally limited to only Latin characters because it uses ASCII as its encoding format, although this has been expanded using Internationalized Domain Names(IDN) for Applications.
Authoritative Name Server
A domain name server configured to host the official record of the contents of a DNS zone. Each Services Domains .help domain name must have a set of these so computers on the Internet can find out the contents of that domain. The set of authoritative name servers for any given domain must be configured as NS records in the parent domain.
The service of automatic renewal allows the customers the convenience of automatic billing for the services ordered through the domain registrar. If the automatic renewal is selected, customer's credit card will be automatically charged for the service, which will avoid the interruption in service.
Majority of the registries require 4 contacts for a successful domain registration: Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing. The Billing contact is responsible for the payment of the domain, and is usually assigned to the registrar managing the domain.
The combination of a recursive name server and a caching name server.
Domains can be forwarded to another URL by using a forwarding service. Cloaking forwarding differs from Apache 301 forwarding by showing the content of the URL being forwarded to, however the URL bar displays the original domain name.
A CNAME record is an abbreviation for Canonical Name record and is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System (DNS) used to specify that a domain name is an alias for another domain, the "canonical" domain. CNAME has a very specific syntax rule. CNAME can only be set up for the unique subdomain, meaning that it cannot be set up for any subdomain, which has already been set up for the domain. Thus CNAME is most commonly set up for WWW subdomain.
Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD)
A Class of Top Level Domains, generally assigned or reserved by a country, sovereign state, or territory. IANA is the organization, responsible for the ccTLD assignments. Since 2010 there 2 types of ccTLDs: 2 letter ASCII characters TLDs and IDN TLDs, which consist of the native language characters. Each country/territory is able to implement certain restrictions and requirements on the ccTLD assigned to them.
Cross-Registry Information Service Protocol (CRISP)
The name of the working group at the IETF that developed the Internet Registry Information Service (IRIS), a next-generation WHOIS protocol replacement.
Any transfer of responsibility to another entity. In the domain name system, one name server can provide pointers to more useful name servers for a given request by returning NS records. On an administrative level, sub-domains are delegated to other entities. IANA also delegates IP address blocks to regional Internet registries.
Deletion of the domain results in the domain record being removed from the registry's database. Domain deletion procedure and availability differs depending on each of the TLD's policy. Certain extensions require additional payment to delete a domain name.
A section of the Domain Name System name space. By default, the Root Zone contains all domain names, however in practice sections of this are delegated into smaller zones in a hierarchical fashion. For example, the .com zone would refer to the portion of the DNS delegated that ends in .com.
A technology that can be added to the Domain Name System to verify the authenticity of its data. The works by adding verifiable chains of trust that can be validated to the domain name system.
In order to prevent unwanted changed to the domain names, customers have an ability to change the locks on their domain names. The domain lock availability depends on individual TLD, and includes clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited, clientDeleteProhibited, clientRenewProhibited.
A unique identifier with a set of properties attached to it so that computers can perform conversions. A typical domain name is "icann.org". Most commonly the property attached is an IP address, like "18.104.22.168", so that computers can convert the domain name into an IP address. However the DNS is used for many other purposes. The domain name may also be a delegation, which transfers responsibility of all sub-domains within that domain to another entity. domain name label a constituent part of a domain name. The labels of domain names are connected by dots. For example, "www.iana.org" contains three labels — "www", "iana" and "org". For internationalized domain names, the labels may be referred to as A-labels and U-labels.
Domain Name Registrar
An entity offering domain name registration services, as an agent between registrants and registries. Usually multiple registrars exist who compete with each other, and are accredited. For most generic top-level domains, domain name registrars are accredited by ICANN.
Domain Name Registry
A registry tasked with managing the contents of a DNS zone, by giving registrations of sub-domains to registrants.
Domain Name Server
A general term for a computer hardware or software server, which answers requests to convert domain names into something else. These can be subdivided into authoritative name servers, which store the database for a particular DNS zone; as well as recursive name servers and caching name servers.
Domain Name System (DNS)
The global hierarchical system of domain names. A global distributed database contains the information to perform the domain name conversations, and the most central part of that database, known as the root zone is coordinated by IANA.
Dot or “."
Common way of referring to a specific top-level domain. Dot generally precedes the Top Level domain, such as dot com is written down as “.help”.
The expiration date determines when the domain registration period ends. In order to avoid downtime for the domain, renewal of the domain at least two weeks before expiration date is strongly encouraged. After the expiration date passes, some registries maintain the record of the domain name under the same owner, however the DNS services are put on hold.
Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
A protocol used for electronic communication between a registrar and a registry for provisioning domain names.
Refers to the last portion of the domain name, located after the dot. Domain extension helps determine the registry, to which domain pertains, and allows to accurately classify the domain name.
First Come, First Served (FCFS)
Multiple applications for the same domain name are not accepted. The domain will be awarded to the first registrar who submits a registration request.
File Transfer Protocol does exactly what it says. The standard network protocol allows the transfer of files from one host to another. There are many FTP clients(programs) available, which allow you to connect to your host and transfer your completed content to your hosting provider's space.
Fully-Qualified Domain Mame (FQDN)
A complete domain name including all its components, i.e. "www.icann.org" as opposed to "www".
A document, formally known as the Principles for the Delegation and Administration of ccTLDs. This document was developed by the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee and documents a set of principles agreed by governments on how ccTLDs should be delegated and run.
General Availability Phase
Domains are awarded on first come first serve basis, granted that the domains are available after the previous phases have concluded.
Generic top-level domains (gTLDs)
A class of top-level domains that are used for general purposes, where ICANN has a strong role in coordination (as opposed to country-code top-level domains, which are managed locally).
An explicit notation of the IP address of a name server, placed in a zone outside of the zone that would ordinarily contain that information. All name servers are in-bailiwick of the Root Zone, therefore glue records is required for all name servers listed there. Also referred to as just "glue".
A file stored in DNS software (i.e. recursive name servers) that tells it where the DNS root servers are located.
The name of a computer. Typically the left-most part of a fully-qualified domain name.
HyperText Transfer Protocol serves as the cornerstone protocol for World Wide Web, which allows the transfer of data between clients and servers.
See Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
A component of RFCs that refer to any work required by IANA to maintain registries for a specific protocol.
The contract between ICANN and the US Government that governs how various IANA functions are performed.
See Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) is responsible responsible for the coordination of maintenance and methodology of several databases of unique identifiers related to the namespaces of the Internet, and ensuring the network's stable and secure operation.
Internal transfer refers to a transfer of a domain name within the same registrar. This procedure may be simpler, than starting a domain transfer, which involves 2 different registrars. The internal transfer is possible, after two parties involved in the internal transfer come to an agreement about the terms of the transfer.
Internationalized domain name (IDN)
Internet domain name, which allows the use of a language-specific script or alphabet, such as Arabic, Cyrillic, and Chinese. Adoption of IDN domain names is a significant step towards including non-English speakers into the world of Internet. Internationalized domain name is stored in Domain Name System as ASCII strings, which are transcribed by the use of Punycode.
Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
The oversight body of the IETF, responsible for overall strategic direction of Internet standardization efforts. The IAB works with ICANN on how the IANA protocol parameter registries should be managed. The IAB is an activity of the Internet Society, a non-profit organization.
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
A department of ICANN tasked with providing various Internet coordination functions, primarily those described in a contract between ICANN and the US Government. The functions relate to ensuring globally-unique protocol parameter assignment, including management of the root of the Domain Name System and IP Address Space. ICANN staff within this department is often referred to as "IANA Staff".
Internet Coordination Policy (ICP)
A series of documents created by ICANN between 1999 and 2000 describing management procedures.
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG)
The committee of area experts of the IETF’s areas of work, that acts as its board of management.
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
The key Internet standardization forum. The standards developed within the IETF are published as RFCs.
Internet Protocol (IP)
The fundamental protocol that is used to transmit information over the Internet. Data transmitted over the Internet is transmitted using the Internet Protocol, usually in conjunction with a more specialized protocol. Computers are uniquely identified on the Internet using an IP Address.
A unique identifier for a device on the Internet. The identifier is used to accurately route Internet traffic to that device. IP addresses must be unique on the global Internet.
Internet Protocol version 4. Refers to the version of Internet protocol that supports 32-bit IP addresses.
Internet Protocol version 6. Refers to the version of Internet protocol that supports 128-bit IP addresses.
This phase allows you a greater chance to obtain a domain name prior to General Availability, typically for an increased fee. The fee generally varies depending on how early you want to register. Priority is either first-come, first-served or will go to an auction cpr144449003101 if there are multiple applicants, depending on registry rules. A common fee structure that will be in use is the Early Access Program (EAP). Further details on a specific extensions landrush phase can be found under the landrush section for that a particular domain.
Mail exchange (mx) record
MX record determines which server the mail client will be retrieving the mail from. The MX records for individual domains can be set up in the DNS records section of the client's control panel.
New Generic Top Level Domain (New gTLD)
Starting on July 15th, 2013 ICANN has started process of delegating new Generic Top Level Domains, opening up new opportunities for the internet community. New extensions include popular categories like professional domains, IDNs, general interest domains, and brand domain names.
a type of record in a DNS zone that signifies part of that zone is delegated to a different set of authoritative name servers.
The domain above a domain in the DNS hierarchy. For all top-level domains, the Root Zone is the parent domain. The Root Zone has no parent domain as it is as the top of the hierarchy. Opposite of sub-domain.
Many of the registrars offer a free service of domain parking. This allows the customer to quickly register a domain name, and choose the hosting solution at a later date. Very often the registrar's parking DNS servers allow DNS record modification.
Paid pre-registration allows you to purchase the domain in the General Availability phase, and the domain will be submitted as soon as the General Availability phase opens.
Primary name server
Practically every domain extension requires minimum 2 DNS servers in order for the domain to be successfully registered. Primary name server is responsible for storing information about the domain routing and making it available for requests.
The representation of a IP address to domain name mapping in the DNS system.
Recursive Name Server
A domain name server configured to perform DNS lookups on behalf of other computers.
The transfer of a delegation from one entity to another. Most commonly used to refer to the redelegation process used for top-level domains.
A special type of root zone change where there is a significant change involving the transfer of operations of a top-level domain to a new entity.
Redemption Grace Period
Redemption Grace Period(RGP) is a period after the expiration date, in which the domain still belongs to the same client, however the functionality is put on hold. The domain can usually be restored after paying for RGP fee. gTLDs often have a Renewal Period of 30 days before the Redemption Grace Period starts.
Regional Internet Registry (RIR)
A registry responsible for allocation of IP address resources within a particular region.
See Registrant Contact
Majority of the registries require 4 contacts for a successful domain registration: Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing. The Registrant contact is the owner of the domain, and is the entity that holds right to use the particular domain name.
Registrar for .help
An entity that can act on requests from a registrant in making changes in a registry. Usually the registrar is the same entity that operates a registry, although for domain names this role is often split to allow for competition between multiple registrars who offer different levels of support.
Registry Services Domains
The authoritative record of registrations for a particular set of data. Most often used to refer to domain name registry, but all protocol parameters that IANA maintains are also registries.
Registry Operator for .help Services Domains
The entity that runs a registry.
A method of translating an IP address into a domain name, so-called as it is the opposite of a typical lookup that converts a domain name to an IP address.
A series of Internet engineering documents describing Internet standards, as well as discussion papers, informational memorandums and best practices. Internet standards that are published in an RFC originate from the IETF. The RFC series is published by the RFC Editor.
The highest level of the domain system.
The authoritative name servers for the Root Zone.
The top of the domain name system hierarchy. The root zone contains all of the delegations for top-level domains, as well as the list of root servers, and is managed by IANA.
Root Zone Management (RZM)
The management of the DNS Root Zone by IANA.
A project to automate many aspects of the Root Zone Management function within IANA. Based on a software tool originally called "eIANA".
Secondary name server
Practically every domain extension requires minimum 2 DNS servers in order for the domain to be successfully registered. Secondary server is responsible for copying information from the primary server. The original purpose of secondary server is to take over the requests, if the primary server is down. Some of the registries no longer put an emphasis on which server is primary or secondary, but many international registries still use the old standard.
The entity acting as the trustee of a top-level domain on behalf of its designated community.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a cryptographivc protocol, which is designed to provide communication security over internet. The data entered on the websites, using SSL, is encrypted, thus making it less susceptible to data theft.
In the domain hierarchy, or structure, subdomain is a domain, which is a part of a larger domain. For example, "www.icann.org" is a sub-domain of "icann.org", and "icann.org" is a sub-domain of "org". Subdomains can generally be setup through a DNS server management utility as A records or CNAME records.
A phase in which holders of eligible trademarks have the opportunity to apply and register domain names that correspond to their trademarks. To participate in Sunrise for new gTLDs, trademark holders must validate their trademarks with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) first and must provide a valid Signed Mark Data (SMD) file for submission.
Majority of the registries require 4 contacts for a successful domain registration: Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing. The Technical contact is intended to assist the Registrant(owner) contact in any queries that pertain to the technical aspects of managing the domain name.
Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
The central database of verified trademarks that was created by ICANN to provide brand protection to trademark holders during ICANN’s new gTLD program. Its' a centralized database of verified trademarks, that is connected to each and every new Top Level Domain (TLD) that will launch.
Top-level domain (TLD)
The highest level of subdivisions with the domain name system. These domains, such as ".help" and ".uk" are delegated from the DNS Root zone. They are generally divided into two distinct categories, generic top-level domains and country-code top-level domains.
Most commonly, the term transfer refers to a inter-registrar transfer of registrations. The procedure of the tranfer will largely depend on the TLD, and is most commonly completed by requesting an authorization code from the current registrar and initiating the transfer at another registrar.
A known good cryptographic certificate that can be used to validate a chain of trust. Trust anchor repository (TAR) Any repository of public keys that can be used as trust anchors for validating chains of trust. See Interim Trust Anchor Repository (ITAR) for one such repository for top-level domain operators using DNSSEC.
An entity entrusted with the operations of an Internet resource for the benefit of the wider community. In IANA circles, usually in reference to the sponsoring organization of a top-level domain.
The Unicode representation of an internationalized domain name, i.e. how it is shown to the end-user. Contrast with A-label.
A standard describing a repertoire of characters used to represent most of the worlds languages in written form. Unicode is the basis for internationalized domain names.
Uniform resource locator (URL)
Uniform Resource Locator(URL), commonly known as web address, is an address to a resource on the internet. The URL consists of two components: Protocol Identifier(i.e. http, https) and the Resource name(i.e. icann.org)
Unsponsored top-level domain
A sub-classification of generic top-level domain, where there is no formal community of interest. Unsponsored top-level domains(.COM, .NET, .ORG, etc.) are administered according to the policies and processes established by ICANN.
URL Forwarding or URL redirection refers to the most common type of forwarding offered by domain registrars. Forwarding occurs when all pages from one domain are redirected to another domain.
A standard used for transmitting Unicode characters.
In the context of internationalized domain names, an alternative domain name that can be registered, or mean the same thing, because some of its characters can be registered in multiple different ways due to the way the language works. Depending on registry policy, variants may be registered together in one block called a variant bundle. For example, "internationalise" and "internationalize" may be considered variants in English.
A collection of multiple domain names that are grouped together because some of the characters are considered variants of the others.
A type of IDN table that describes the variants for a particular language or script. For example, a variant table may map Simplified Chinese characters to Traditional Chinese characters for the purpose of constructing a variant bundle.
Web host (Hosting Provider)
Web host is a type of an Internet service, which allows users to host content and/or email services by providing hosting space. Most often the hosting providers include control panels and tools for building a website and maintaining mail records.
A simple plain text-based protocol for looking up registration data within a registry. Typically used for domain name registries and IP address registries to find out who has registered a particular resource. (Usage note: not "Whois" or "whois")
Used to refer to parts of a registry’s database that are made public using the WHOIS protocol, or via similar mechanisms using other protocols (such as web pages, or IRIS). Most commonly used to refer to a domain name registry’s public database.
An interface, usually a web-based form, that will perform a look-up to a WHOIS server. This allows one to find WHOIS information without needing a specialized computer program that speaks the WHOIS protocol.
A system running on port number 43 that accepts queries using the WHOIS protocol.
The format of data when it is transmitted over the Internet (i.e. "over the wire"). For example, an A-label is the wire format of an internationalized domain name; and UTF-8 is a possible wire format of Unicode.
A machine-readable file format for storing structured data. Used to represent web pages (in a subset called HTML) etc. Used by IANA for storing protocol parameter registries.
Zone (DNS Records)
The zone file, also know as the DNS records is a vital component of DNS system, which contains various DNS records, which point to the location of content and email servers for each individual domain. Editing zone is made possible in the client's control panel.
Signed Mark Data (SMD)
A Signed Mark Data (SMD) is file that will allow you to register domain names during the sunrise period of new gTLD’s and request other services. It validates that you trademark has been verified within the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).
The trademark claims period extends for 90 days after the close of the Sunrise period. During the Claims period, anyone attempting to register a domain name matching a trademark that is recorded in the Trademark Clearinghouse will receive a notification displaying the relevant mark information. If the notified party goes and ahead and registers the domain name the Trademark Clearinghouse will send a notice to those trademark holders with matching records in the Clearinghouse, informing them that someone has registered the domain name.