A “registrar” is a company that is accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The registrar provides direct services to domain name registrants. They help find, manage and then send the necessary domain name information to a registry. Domain registration information is maintained by the domain name registries, which contract with domain registrars to provide registration services to the public. An end user selects a registrar to provide the registration service, and that registrar becomes the designated registrar for the domain chosen by the user.
Domain names are registered for a period of one to ten years by an individual or an organization. A user contacts a registrar or reseller to register a domain name. 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 has the option to renew the domain name or let it expire.
Only the designated registrar may modify or delete information about domain names in a central registry database. It is not unusual for an end user to switch registrars, invoking a domain transfer process between the registrars involved, it is governed by specific domain name transfer policies.
A Domain Name System (DNS) name server connects you to the websites you want to visit. Understanding just how it does that requires a little background on how people and computers interact. Computers work best in the language of numbers, while humans prefer words. Today’s Internet was built in a way that caters to each preference, allowing both computers and people to navigate the Web with ease. This means that every website has two names or addresses. One is a domain name easily remembered by humans. The other is a unique, computer-friendly series of numbers, or Internet Protocol (IP) address.
DNS name servers are physical servers that store the DNS database records. These domain name servers are the hardware that handles literally billions of requests every day. Each time someone types a Web address into their browser, a domain name server somewhere around the world receives the query, locates the IP address, and directs that person’s computer to the proper website—all in just a few seconds.