Registry, registrar, registrant: The big domain glossary part 3

Which institutions, services and people are involved in domain registration and who is responsible for each task? At which point can a new domain be officially bought? These questions are answered in part 3 of the big domain glossary.

Domain name registry

The domain name registry manages one or more top-level domains within the domain name system. Its functions include operating name servers, managing name spaces and providing WHOIS servers with domain owner contact information. The domain allocation under a top-level domain is made by registrars like 1&1 and not directly by registries. A synonym for domain name registry is network information center (NIC).


Registrars such as 1&1 work as a mediator between the registry and end user and are responsible for the billing of the domain. Because registrars are often companies that also offer webhosting, users interested in a domain can also find an accompanying webhosting solution.


A domain name registry must run a server that saves the whois information of a registered domain. This publicly open database contains registrant, administrative and technical contact information. An entry in the whois database is obligatory for every registered domain. In order to protect sensible data from spam and misuse, many domain registrars also offer private domain registration.


Every company and individual who purchases a domain from a registrar and registers it at a registry is called a registrant (or reg-c). These domain owners can be identified via the whois database which is available at the respective registry.


The administrative contact (admin-c) is responsible for managing the domain. When registering private domains, the admin-c and registrant are often the same person, but this is not obligatory. The admin-c holds the same rights as the domain owner and can make changes to the domain on their own. It is necessary that the admin-c is an actual person, since they must to be registered in the whois database. The admin-c is also partly considered as the legal contact and can be held responsible under certain circumstances.


This person is responsible for the technical aspects of the domain administration and servers. They have no rights and can only act on behalf of the owner.

Sunrise phase

The period of time when new domains can only be registered by owners of registered trademarks. This helps to prevent cybersquatting.


This allows a user to reserve a specific domain before it is available to the public. Those who reserve a domain have the opportunity to preregister it once the terms and conditions are clear. 1&1 offers the possibility to pre-order top level domains non-binding and for free. If you are not the first one to reserve a domain name, you have the option to be placed on a waiting list. Once a competitor refuses to register the name, it is your turn.

General availability

From this moment on, the domain is available to the public and can be registered directly.

Want to know more about domains? Refer to Part 1 to find out how a domain is built, and Part 2 to understand how calling a domain works and the technology behind it.

Stay tuned for part 4 in which we describe the most important domain institutions.

Category: Net World
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