Here is an organization that you will have to get to know if you want to host a website: The ICANN. The acronym stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. They are responsible for “coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet”. What does that mean you ask? That means that they are the ones provisioning domain names as they are registered for a space onto the internet.
Who is ICANN?
The ICANN, despite the name containing corporation, is not a corporation. They are a non profit organization with a mission of preserving the operational capacity of the internet. ICANN, according to their website, “promote[s] competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers.”. They do this through supporting roles like IP address and domain name allocation. This is an attempt to prevent either of the two from clashing with other exact addresses. DNS and name resolution is intertwined into ICANN’s role as well, and they take it very seriously. ICANN states on their site that they do not control content on the internet, nor control access to it. It simply oversees the naming system that is so important to everyday users.
Registering A Domain
One thing ICANN requires certain information to be provided when a domain is registered. This standard includes certain information like names, phone numbers, addresses, and the name of their business. This is the kind of information that would show up in a Whois (pronounced who is) inquiry into a domain or website. To hide this, one would need to purchase ID protection with their web host. That solution will hide their personal whois information.
Another restriction you may run into when registering a domain is the type that you register. For example, .org domains can only be registered to organizations. Only citizens of the United Kingdom can register .uk domains. If someone not a citizen of that country, ICANN would not allow the registration of that domain with that suffix to the buyer, and it would go back on the market. These standards are governed by the ICANN and are followed by all “internet citizens”.
ICANN plays an important administrative and supporting role in the growth and expansion of the internet. Every time a domain is registered, the ICANN is there reviewing it for compliance and ensuring the safety of the operation of the internet. All of us with a website should be thankful they exist, as it might be a little tougher to get around here without them.