ICANN vs. Internic

When you are registering your domain, you will commonly see references to both ICANN and Internic. What do these names mean? First, many people do not realize that the same entity owns both companies. Each one serves a specific purpose for the online community.

ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This company is responsible for managing the Domain Name System or DNS. This means that ICANN goes through every single domain name that is registered to ensure that they are unique and not purchased by someone else.

In addition to managing all of the registered domain names on the Internet, ICANN is also responsible for overseeing the unique distribution of IP addresses for each of these domains. ICANN accomplishes this by working with web hosting companies that assign the IP address for their customers.

Each hosting company purchases a certain block of IP addresses. In turn, these IP addresses are assigned to the hosting company’s customers. In a shared server situation, you may have several domain names that are hosted from the same IP address.

The overseeing process goes beyond assigning IP addresses to hosting companies by then ensuring that each and every domain name is mapped to the correct IP address.

In addition to these functions, ICANN also accredits domain name registrars. This means that the registrars that are accredited must conform to a set of standards set down by ICANN. This ensures that customers receive the same level of assistance and quality, no matter which registrar they choose.

Internic is operated by ICANN. This company provides the information on domain name registrants to the general public. For example, when someone does a search for a domain name on the Internic’s WHOIS server, the registration information is found and displayed for this request. Each domain name that is registered through an ICANN accredited registrar is then cataloged by Internic so that the most up-to-date information can be displayed in a WHOIS search.

The Internic website also provides a registrar directory. If you are not sure which domain name registrar is right for you, it can be very difficult to wade through the thousands of available registrars. Internic’s list of accredited registrars makes this much easier and allows users the peace of mind knowing that the registrar they select will conform to ICANN’s set of standards.

You can also find a registrar report form for any registrars that are not following the ICANN standards, as well as a form to submit a correction to an erroneous domain name listing in the Internic database.

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Posted on 12/15/05 8:18 PM

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