Glossary of Terms
Administrative Technical and Billing contacts

These records name the individuals or entities that represent a registrant and are responsible for the administration of a domain name. There are three types of contacts: Administrative, Technical, and Billing. Generally administrative contacts have the ability to modify all information relating to a domain name. Technical contacts can modify technical details such as the name servers.

The administrative, billing and technical contact records for a domain name are kept by the registrar and a contact can be a single person, a company, or an organisation. It is important to keep these records up to date and this is often made a condition in the registration agreement with a registrar.

Countries are represented on the Internet by two letters, for instance .uk (United Kingdom, .us (United States), .ca (Canada), .au (Australia) and .nz (New Zealand). These codes are called ccTLDs (country code top level domains). Some ccTLDs (for instance .bz, .cc, .fm, .tv, and .ws) are marketed as 'alternatives' to more traditional TLDs such as .com.
Domain Name

A domain name is the address web surfers use to find your web site and, as such, is the core of your online identity.

Computers on the Internet use IP (Internet Protocol) addresses (e.g., 123.456.78.90) to locate other computers. However Internet users would have a difficult time remembering these long strings of numbers to find websites. Domain names were developed to translate these IP numbers into easily remembered domain names.

Domain Names always have two or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the far left is the most specific and the part on the far right is known as the TLD or ccTLD.

Your domain name is unique, as once registered, no other party may use exactly the same identity online.


DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is essentially a worldwide distributed database that is used to translate unique domain names into IP addresses. The network of computers making up the Internet map Domain names onto their corresponding IP numbers using information stored in a Registry.

Email forwarding
Email forwarding is a service which allows you to forward emails addressed to your domain directly to another email account, for instance a free webmail account. This service can enable you to save money on the cost of web hosting.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the domain name business. It awards the contracts for the operation of the TLD registries, accredits registrars, and also has a dispute resolution policy. ICANN is technically an international organization, which holds meetings at different international locations throughout each year.

IP addresses
IP stands for Internet Protocol. An IP address consists of a unique number comprising of four parts separated by dots. Every computer that stores information available on the Internet has a unique number, which correlates to its domain name.

ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. An ISP provides access to the Internet to the general public, usually over telephone lines.


Domain modification is a facility provided by a registrar which allows Administrative and Technical Contacts to update or change the details relating to a domain name. Most registrars do not charge a fee for this service, however some of the 'bargain' registrars will charge a fee. It is worthwhile to check this in the registration agreement.

Name Servers

A domain name's Name Server records indicate or 'point' to the name of a computer that will contain authoritative data for that domain name and will translate the domain name to its corresponding IP number. There are usually at least two name servers, and these are known as the Primary and Secondary nameservers. The Secondary nameserver is used in addition to, and as a backup for, the Primary name server. It is important that the name server information for a domain name is correct as without this, the domain name will fail to 'resolve' properly and will not be functional. A web host will provide details of the name server needed.

The entity, organisation, or individual that is the legal ‘owner’ of a particular domain name is known as the Registrant. In fact no one ever ‘owns’ a domain name. The use of the name is rented or leased from the registry through a registrar for periods ranging from 1 to 10 years. However the ‘owner’ has first option on renewal of the name. When registering a domain name for a company or organisation, be sure that your company or organisation’s name is listed as the Registrant if you wish the company or organisation to legally have control over the domain.
An organisation or entity, which acts on behalf of a registrant and handles domain name registrations or modifications, is known as a Registrar. All domain names ending in a TLD are required to be processed through a Registrar. Registrars are accredited by ICANN.
This is the organisation responsible for the administration and maintenance of the top-level domain database. The Registry is where registrars create new, or modify existing domain names for registrants.

Domain names need to be renewed for a small fee every year. If a registrant fails to renew a domain name it is deleted from the registry database and, after a short 'grace' period (usually around 45 days), made available to the public again for registration. The more valuable names are often bought within a few minutes of being released.

The part separated by a dot to the far right in a domain name is called the Top Level Domain or TLD and is usually three or four letters long. Examples of TLDs are .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz. There are also two-letter country code TLDs (ccTLDs). There are currently more than 250 TLDs.
Web forwarding

Web forwarding (sometimes called 'URL forwarding' or 'domain forwarding') is a service which allows you to forward any incoming requests for your domain directly to an existing website. This service can enable you to save money on the cost of web hosting by allowing you to redirect different domain names to one website.

There are two types of web forwarding. Standard redirection sends your domain visitors to any website you specify, but the true address of the destination website will display in the viewer's browser and not the domain name that they typed in to reach the site.

Stealth redirection (sometimes called 'cloaking redirection') also sends your domain visitors to any website you specify, but the domain name your visitor typed in continues to display in his or her browser when they reach the website and while visiting any page within that website. The user is thus unaware that he or she has been redirected to another web address.

For web forwarding services to work, the name servers for the domain name have to be changed to the name servers specified by the web forwarding service provider.

Web Host

A Web Host (or web hosting provider) offers a service whereby its computer stores the files needed to enable your web site to be viewed over the Internet. This is usually for a small monthly fee. The computer used to store your files is called a 'server'. For the web hosting service to work, the name server records for the domain name must 'point' to the web host's name servers.

Whois is a service operated by the registrars which allows you to search for information about the owner or registrant of any domain name which has already been registered. You can find contact information for the owner, together with details of the domain name servers, and the administrative, technical and billing contacts. Sometimes the Whois will also provide information about the date the domain was first registered and the expiry date.
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