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What is a Domain Registry, Domain Registrar, Domain Reseller?

The 3 R's of the Domain Industry:
Registry, Registrar, & Reseller

Robyn Norgan
Feb 26, 2013 • 5 min read

When we say the three R's of the domain industry, we're not talking about the three R's you've been used to hearing about since grade school: Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic (and let's face it there is only one real R in that group anyway). Instead we're talking about three real R's: registries, registrars, and resellers. Do you know the difference?

A Central Registry is a company that maintains a database of all the domain name registrations for a top-level domain (often referred to as a TLD). They also store the DNS and Whois records for that TLD. An example of a TLD is .COM or .ME.

A Domain Registrar is a company that has a direct connection with the central registry of a TLD.

A Domain Reseller is a company or person that buys domains from a domain registrar or another domain reseller on behalf of their customers.

Dynadot is a domain registrar. We partner with the central registries to offer a variety of domains to our customers (see our full list on our TLD page). For a registrar to get a direct connection with a central registry, it must meet the requirements of that registry and go through an accreditation process. Some of the country code domains (ccTLDs), in particular, require that a registrar have a presence in their country of origin. For example, the .CA domain, the country code domain of Canada, requires that the registrar have a presence in Canada.

Although a domain registrar has to be accredited by the central registries of the domains it offers, it does not necessarily have to be accredited by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is the highest authority overseeing the world's generic TLDs (gTLDs) and sponsored TLDs (sTLDs) such as .COM, .NET, .ORG, and .XXX. ICANN does require that any business who wishes to have a direct connection to gTLDs must be ICANN-accredited, but some of the ccTLDs do not necessarily require an ICANN accreditation.

If a company is selling gTLDs such as .COM and .NET without ICANN accreditation, then they are a reseller, who does not have a direct connection with Verisign, the registry for .COM and .NET. This also means that they do not have access to the lowest pricing for these domains, so if you are purchasing through a reseller, you are paying a higher price. It is a good idea to be aware of whether or not you are dealing with a reseller because in some cases purchasing your domain name through a reseller means that you don't actually own it.

This is something you don't have to worry about when you choose Dynadot as your domain registrar. When you purchase a domain name through us, you are always the owner, which is reflected in your domain's Whois information even if you have domain privacy. Here at Dynadot, we're proud to say that we are ICANN accredited. In fact, we recently celebrated 10 years of ICANN accreditation. You can learn more about what our ICANN accreditation means to you in one of our past posts.

P.S. There is actually one more important "R" in the domain industry: the Domain Registrant - also known as you! So get out there and register your next domain!

Post by Robyn Norgan

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