Most often, beginners in the technology industry have many doubts about registrars, their functions, how they look and much more. But, we often fail to realize that you can’t understand the more profound knowledge if you don’t know the basics.
For instance, if you wish to know about Domain Registrars, you also need to know what Domain names are. If you’re a beginner, I’m sure you might have come across the concept of the domain name and its importance if one wishes to start a website.
Nonetheless, many a time, people get confused with website hosting services and domain names. It is understandable as all these technical terms seem complicated initially, but don’t worry, this article will cover up all the doubts for you. So, let’s begin!
It’s your website’s address that the people use to visit your site by typing it in the URL bar. The internet world is a vast place filled with tons of computer networks, websites and much more.
Each computer has a specific IP address that helps in easy navigation, but how difficult it would have been to remember a set of lengthy numbers to visit a website.
Therefore, the creation of domain names was to make your work easier and quicker. They could be as simple as jsworld.com. It is anytime much more convenient than a lengthy IP address.
Quite a few people have no clue what happens when users enter their domain name in the URL bar. The actions behind the scenes of this journey are a bit complex but still easy to understand.
When one types the domain name and clicks on ‘Enter’, a request gets sent to the global network of servers that build the DNS. Then the Domain Name System searches for the domain associated name server and transfers the request to it.
These name servers are managed by the hosting company to which you belong. And lastly, the hosting company forwards the requests to the computer on which your website is stored, also known as a Web server.
It collects the webpage along with all the information needed and sends it to the browser that sent the request. This process might seem super long to you, but it all takes place within a fraction of seconds.
Domain Name Registrar
It is a person or a business that lets you purchase and register your domain name. In simple words, it’s a place where you can buy and manage your domain name.
Most registrars these days offer intuitive tools. These tools help search for currently available names on the internet, thereby saving your time and effort. You only have to enter the chosen name and pay.
One of the most common mistakes is that people think that Domain Name Registrars sell Domain Names, whereas that isn’t the case. You get the lease over them for a specific period.
The registrars also keep a record of the expiry dates and provide you with renewal facilities. Also, note that registrars do not maintain your domain name; the registry does that job.
Difference: Registrar and Registry
Both these terms sound so similar but are way different. You might have heard of domains like .com and .net.
These top-level domains are managed and maintained by Registries.
It keeps a record of individual domains and to whom they belong. In simple words, when you buy a domain name from the registrar, the registrar has to notify the registry.
For instance, if a registrar sells you registration for the .com domain, it has to notify the registry for the .com domain .i.e, Verisign. There is also a fee that needs to be paid to that registry. When the registrar sells the domain name, the registrar collects this charge from you.
A domain name registrar is like a dealer between the registrant (you) and the registry. One important thing to remember here is that nobody can genuinely own a domain, as they all are owned and managed by the registries.
Very often, you might have heard people say that they ‘own’ a particular domain, but the truth is that you can only lease it. The maximum number of years you could rent it for is ten years.
You could also go ahead if you continue renewing your domain name, but you still never really ‘own’ the domain name.
Registrars and their Work
Domain names aren’t like cars you could buy in a showroom. There is a higher authority that looks after the domain names. It is called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
All domain names are registered in a centralized registry, and your domain name must be valid enough to find its place there. As mentioned earlier, the registry has assigned the work of commercial sales to the registrar.
If you wish to become a domain registrar, you need to have accreditation from the ICANN. Then you could market domain names to various registrants, whether directly or through resellers.
Domain registrars also use various domain extensions that help in widening the domain name options for the buyer. You get choices such as .com, .net, .org, etc. Note that not every domain registrar provides all domain names.
For instance, if you wish to buy a .org domain name, you will have to search for a registrar that sells that domain name. Then the registrar informs the registry of the .org domain name to save the domain name for you.
It also pays the registry a certain amount that later is charged from you by the registrar. These days, registrars also offer other services like domain transfers, hosting, etc.
Also, an important thing to remember is that whenever someone wants to reserve a high-end domain, that registrant has to fill in the WHOIS information. It has personal information about the registrant, such as the email address, phone number, etc.
Some registrars also give private registration, and they ensure that your data remains secure. The registrant’s information and privacy are kept safe as it is held in the registrar’s database.
How to Start? Are the Registrars the Only Source that Sell Domain Names?
If you are a beginner and want to start with a domain registrar or domain name, plenty of guides and tutorials are available on the internet. One great way to start is, to begin with, Google Domains.
It works with Google Registry that helps acquire domain names. Whether it is for a small company or an individual, it is possible with Google Domains. But other than Registrars, some resellers sell domain names.
They sell it on behalf of the domain registrar and instead earn a finder’s fee for it. It’s like a side business, and therefore they do not have much customer support. Another fascinating aspect of resellers is that it isn’t easy to distinguish them from registrars.
For instance, you might think you are coordinating with a domain registrar, but it might be a reseller as they do not explicitly state that on their website. If you wish to buy a domain name from a legitimate registrar and not any reseller, there is a way to differentiate between them.
The ICANN has a published list on its website consisting of all active and accredited domain name registrars. You could refer to that and go ahead with your plan.
Do Registrars Play an Essential Role in DNS Security?
As an organization or an individual that sells/leases out domain names, it is also the registrar’s responsibility to ensure the security of the registrant’s registration information is safe and protected.
There have been quite a few domain hijacking attacks before wherein there was a misuse of the privileges of a registrar software system, and the registrar played a huge role in stopping it.
Therefore, ICANN has given specific recommendations that the registrars must consider to lessen the chances of such mishaps. They should use better and advanced domain locks to prevent any domain from getting transferred; registration processes must have high-end identity verification and much more.
If a registrar performs such duties accurately, it could be a reliable and legitimate source for buying domain names for yourself or your company’s website.
I hope this article helped cover most of your queries about domain names, registrars and registries. Now you know how they function and why it is essential to have thorough knowledge about them before beginning your business website. You can also check our article on How to Scan your WordPress Site for Malware?
If you are a beginner in this industry, make sure you do proper research before getting into it. All the very best!