Registry-Registrar-Reseller-Registrant Octopoly

Registry – Registrar – Reseller – Registrant

The relationship between Registry – Registrar – Registrant

What you always wanted to know.

There are so many similar sounding names and terms that are confusing to people, especially when they are still relatively new to the Internet.

A good example for that are the terms Registry, Registrar, Reseller, Registrant and also how these are related with each other. We will use this blog to explain them in detail, as the relationship between those are necessary for the core understanding of how the Internet is set up.

So lets start at the top:

Registry: A registry is an organisation that manages a domain extension (e.g. .com or .kiwi). The registries that manage generic domain extensions are usually profit oriented commercial companies, whereas registries that manage their country code extension are usually government-affiliated bodies that are non-profit or are regulated by their government. A registry is the highest in the supply chain and controls and regulates domains managed under their extension.

In other words, a registry is like a factory that produces virtual products.

Registrar: A registrar is normally a commercial entity that has a contractual agreement with registries to sell domains in their extensions. Registrars must get accredited with each registry to gain the right to function as an extended sales arm to market their extension around the world. Registrars are needed because most registries do not allow end consumers to buy domain names directly from their website, instead they ask the consumers to use the services of a registrar. The Relationship between Registrar and Registry is very much like a supermarket that sells the products from a factory.

In other words, a registrar is like a supermarket that sources its products from the factory and sells these.

Reseller: A reseller is not always part of the domain supply chain but a very common one. Similar to a registrar, a reseller offers domain names to its customers, very often combined with additional products and services. Resellers bring additional value into the purchase through additional services.

In other words, a reseller is like a small convenience store that gets its products from the supermarket.

Registrant: A registrant is simply a fancy name for the end consumer, you. The registrant is a person or company who acquires a domain name from a registrar or reseller in order to use it for their website, email, etc. The registrant is the person that officially holds the right to use the domain name according to the public WHOIS domain owner database. Registrants are referred to very often also as domain owner, or domain owner contact.

In other words, a registrant is the actual customer who goes into a convenience store or supermarket in order to buy domain names.

ICANN: Finally, there is the global body that regulates the domain name industry. This regulator is called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and ultimately exists to ensure that registrants and the users of the Internet are treated fairly by registries, registrars and resellers.

To sum it up, Registries are the “factories” that produce the product. Registrars are the wholesaler that sell the domains to Registrants directly, or to resellers who then distribute the domains to Registrants. ICANN is like the consumer watchdog ensuring products are “safe” for the consumer.

Registry-Registrar-Reseller-Registrant Octopoly

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