This glossary is a compilation of various terms relevant to the contents in this site.
Accredited Registrar — A Registrar that has been certified as meeting certain minimal criteria to act as a Registrar for a specific TLD. This term is almost solely used when referring to Registrars that have been certified by ICANN.
Administrative Contact — The administrative contact is an individual, role or organization authorized to interact with the registry or registrar on behalf of the Domain Holder. The administrative contact should be able to answer non-technical questions about the domain name's registration and the SLD Holder. In all cases, the Administrative Contact is viewed as the authoritative point of contact for the domain name, second only to the Registrant.
Authentication — The process of reviewing the identity and professional eligibility of a .PRO registrant.
Billing Contact — The billing contact is the individual, role or organization designated to receive the invoice for domain name registration and re-registration fees.
Certificate Authority — An entity that serves as a trusted third party and is responsible for registering, issuing, revoking and generally managing digital certificates.
Certificate Revocation List (CRL) — A list of certificates identified by the Certificate Authority as no longer being trusted. The CRL provides a way for relying parties to check the revocation status before trusting a digital certificate.
Contact — Contacts are individuals or entities associated with domain name records. Typically, third parties with specific inquiries or concerns will use contact records to determine who should act upon specific issues related to a domain name record. There are typically three of these contact types associated with a domain name record, the Administrative contact, the Billing contact and the Technical contact.
Country Code Top Level Domain — A top-level domain containing a 2-character abbreviation as defined by ISO 3166-1 (Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions). As of November 1999 there were 243 country code top level domains (ccTLDs) registered. Some examples are .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .jp for Japan, .de for Germany, etc. ccTLDs are often contrasted to generic top level domains (gTLDs). ccTLDs often have more restrictive registration requirements including regional requirements whereas gTLDs tend to be open to all registrants around the world.
Cryptosystem — A method of disguising messages so that only certain people can see through the disguise. A cryptosystem is usually a whole collection of algorithms which are labeled and called "keys." Cryptography is the art of creating and using cryptosystems.
Digital Certificates — A secure electronic software file (much like an online passport) that contains information about an individual or organization, include, among other things, its public key and the period for which the Digital Certificate is valid. The Digital Certificate is issued and digitally signed by the Certificate Authority.
Digital Signatures — Like a paper signature, a digital signature is an electronic method of signing a document. However, digital signatures are more secure than paper signatures since they are more difficult (if not impossible) to forge. A digital signature provides verification to a recipient that a signed file is actually sent by the sender, and is not altered after it is signed.
Domain Holder — Please see Registrant
Domain Name — A unique addressing mechanism used for identifying and locating computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol (IP) numbers) used by the network. A domain name is hierarchical and, in the case of .PRO domain names, conveys information about the type of entity using the domain name (e.g., a professional).
Domain Name System — A distributed database of information that translates easy to remember domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, which are used by computers to locate each other on the Internet. The DNS comprises computers, data files, software, and people working together.
DNS — Please see Domain Name System
DoC — United States Department of Commerce
Encryption — Is a procedure to convert plain text into ciphertext (disguised characters). To encrypt a file is to apply a mathematical function that transforms every character in the file into some other character. Encryption renders the file unreadable until the file is decrypted. Only the sender and the authorized recipients may decrypt the file.
Extensible Markup Language — XML is a markup language for documents containing structured information. Structured information contains both content (words, pictures, etc.) and some indication of what role that content plays (for example, content in a section heading has a different meaning from content in a footnote, which means something different than content in a figure caption or content in a database table, etc.). Almost all documents have some structure. A markup language is a mechanism to identify structures in a document. The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup to documents.
Extensible Provisioning Protocol — EPP is a connection-oriented, application layer client-server protocol for the provisioning and management of objects stored in a shared central repository. Specified in XML, the protocol defines generic object management operations and an extensible framework that maps protocol operations to objects. EPP is currently in draft form and is being discussed in the IETF "provreg" Working Group.
FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions
gTLD — Please see Generic Top Level Domain
Generic Top Level Domain — A top level domain name that is open to registrants around the world in contrast to country code top level domains that are often restricted to registrants located in a particular country or region. .com, .net and .org are all considered to be generic top level domains.
GMT — Greenwich Mean Time. Please see UTC
Host — Also called a name server. A computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.
IANA — Please see Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
ICANN — Please see Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Intellectual Property — The ownership of ideas and control over the tangible or virtual representation of those ideas. Typically examples are trademarks and service marks.
IETF — Please see Internet Engineering Task Force
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority — The IANA is the authority originally responsible for the oversight of IP address allocation, the coordination of the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in Internet technical standards, and the management of the DNS, including the delegation of top-level domains and oversight of the root name server system. Under ICANN, the IANA continues to distribute addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, coordinate with the IETF and others to assign protocol parameters, and oversee the operation of the DNS.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — The non-profit organization that officially coordinates the technical management of the Internet's domain name system. It was founded to assume responsibility for items such as IP address space assignment, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management.
Internet Domain Name — An addressing mechanism used to identify and locate computers on the Internet. Doma in names at the same level of hierarchy (i.e. all .com domain names) are unique and provide an easy way to remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol (IP) addresses) used by the network. A domain name is hierarchical and may convey information about the type of entity using the domain name. This is especially true for .PRO domain names, which will only be available for registration by professionals.
Internet Engineering Task Force — The IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.
Internet Protocol — The communications protocol underlying the Internet, IP allows large, geographically-diverse networks of computers to communicate with each other quickly and economically over a variety of physical links.
InterNIC — Internet Network Information Center. InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce. InterNIC was the name given to a project that originated in 1993 under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) enabling Network Solutions, Inc. to provide domain name registration services in .com, .net, .org, and .edu. The InterNIC name is no longer used by Network Solutions for its services. The InterNIC is currently the name of a web site provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce (see http://www.interNIC.net/).
IP Address — An Internet Protocol Address is the numerical address by which a location in the Internet is identified. Computers on the Internet use IP addresses to route traffic and establish connections among themselves; people generally use the human-friendly names made possible by the Domain Name System.
Name Server — Please see host
Name Service — Providing individuals or organizations with domain name-to-Internet Protocol (IP) number resolution by maintaining and making available the hardware, software, and data needed to perform this function. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate name servers and provide their customers with name service when they register a domain name. Most individuals are not in a position to operate a name server on their own and will need to make arrangements for name service with an ISP or some other person or organization.
National Effect — Trademarks of "national effect" are intended to explicitly encompass national trademark registrations and European Community trademark registrations (CTMs). Explicitly excluded from this definition are US state and other local registrations, as well as any registrations on a supplemental or equivalent register.
NTIA — National Telecommunications and Information Administration (See http://www.ntia.doc.gov/)
OT&E — Please see Operational Test and Evaluation
Operational Test and Evaluation — A process in which accredited registrars develop client systems and software to register and manage domain names and name servers prior to live operation in the Shared Registration System. The Shared Registration System includes an isolated, shared Operational Test and Evaluation server environment that is used for both initial registrar system development and ongoing registrar development and testing. Prior to operation in the live Shared Registration System, registrars must complete a basic functional evaluation in the Operational Test and Evaluation environment to demonstrate full and correct operation of their client systems. The evaluation must be completed without error before registrars are given access to the live Shared Registration System.
Private Key — The portion of a key pair that is kept secret by the owner of a key pair to sign or decrypt data.
Public Key — The portion of a key pair that is available publicly so that recipients of encrypted text may decrypt and read such text.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) — A system that provides the basis for establishing and maintaining a trustworthy networking environment through the generation and distribution of keys and certificates.
Registrant — The individual or organization that registers a specific domain name with a registrar. This individual or organization holds the right to use that specific domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and the registration fees are paid. This person or organization is the "legal entity" bound by the terms of the Domain Name Registration Agreement with the registrar.
Registrar — A registrar sells domain names and services to registrants. The registrar database contains registrant information in addition to the DNS information contained in the Registry database. Registrars process name registrations for Internet end-users and then send the necessary DNS information to a Registry for entry into the centralized Registry database and ultimate propagation over the Internet. There will be multiple registrars providing registration services for the .PRO domain name.
Registry — A domain name registry is an entity that receives domain name service (DNS) information from domain name registrars, inserts that information into a centralized database and propagates the information in Internet zone files on the Internet so that domain names can be found by users around the world via applications such as the world wide web and email.
Registry-Registrar Agreement — This is a contract that registrars must enter into with the RegistryPro in order to be able to offer .PRO registration services.
Registry Whois — Whois services made available by specific registries for the domain names that they are authoritative for.
Registry / Registrar Protocol — A protocol for the registration and management of second level domain names and associated name servers in both Top Level Domains (TLDs) and country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs). Also see extensive provisioning- protocol.
Request For Comment — The IETF document series, begun in 1969, which describes the Internet suite of protocols and related experiments. Not all (in fact very few) RFCs describe Internet standards, but all Internet standards are written up as RFCs.
Reseller — Some ICANN-accredited registrars have "resellers." The registrar provides its resellers with the tools, such as back-end systems and customer service, required to register domain names. Using its registrar's systems, the reseller then has the ability to sell domain names to whomever it wishes, such as the general public. In some ways this is akin to the affiliate programs that many online retailers have with other Web sites.
Resolve — The term used to describe the process by which domain names are matched with corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Resolution is accomplished by a combination of computers and software, referred to as name servers that use the data in the Domain Name System to determine which IP numbers correspond to a particular domain name.
RFC — Please see Request for Comment
Root — The top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. Often referred to as the "dot."
Root Server — A machine that has the software and data needed to locate name servers that contain authoritative data for the top-level domains (e.g., root servers know which name servers contain authoritative data for com, net, fr, uk. etc.). The root servers are, in fact, name servers and contain authoritative data for the very top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. Currently, technical specifications limit the number of root servers to 13. These machines are currently located around the globe, in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, and Japan.
Second Level Domain — An "SLD" is a second-level domain of the DNS.
Shared Registration System — A domain name registration system in which registry services are shared among multiple independent registrars. Shared Registration Systems require a loose coupling between registrars and a registry.
Sponsoring Registrar — The Registrar responsible for the submission of the domain name to the Registry.
SSL — SSL is an acronym for "Secure Socket Layer", a security protocol that provides communications privacy over the Internet. The protocol allows client/server applications to communicate in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, or message forgery.
Sunrise Period — A one-time period when owners of any valid and enforceable trademark or service mark registration having national effect and issued prior to September 30, 2002 is permitted to register a domain name that is identical to the textual or word elements of such trademark or service mark, using ASCII characters only. Trademarks or service marks incorporating any design elements are not eligible for registration during the Sunrise Period.
Technical Contact — The technical contact is the individual, role or organization responsible for the technical operations of the delegated zone. This contact likely maintains the domain name server(s) for the domain. The technical contact should be able to answer technical questions about the domain name, the delegated zone and work with technically oriented people in other zones to solve technical problems that affect the domain name and/or zone.
Thick Registry — A registry in which all of the information associated with registered entities, including both technical information (information needed to produce zone files) and social information (information needed to implement operational, business, or legal practices), is stored within the registry repository.
Thin Registry — A registry in which some element of the social information associated with registered entities is distributed between a shared registry and the registrars served by the registry.
TLD — Please see Top Level Domain
TLD Zone — A file that contains data describing a portion of the domain name space for a specific top-level domain. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Zone files contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers.
Top Level Domain — In the Domain Name System (DNS), the highest level of the hierarchy after the root. In a domain name, that portion of the domain name that appears furthest to the right e.g., ".gov" in the domain name www.whitehouse.gov. The administrators of the "root domain" or "root zone" control what TLDs are recognized by the DNS. Commonly used TLDs include .com, .net, .edu, .jp, .de, etc.
Trademark — A name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer.
Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy — All registrars in the .INFO, .COM, and the other top-level domains follow ICANN's Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (often referred to as the "UDRP"). Under the policy, most types of trademark-based domain-name disputes must be resolved by agreement, court action, or arbitration before a registrar will cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain name.
Uniform Resource Locator — A URL is the distinct address that identifies each resource on the Internet. More formally, a URL is the networked extension of the standard filename concept that can exist on any machine on the network and served via any of several different methods. An example of a URL is http://www.afilias.info/
UTC — an abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time. UTC (or simply "universal time") is a globally used standard for time. UTC and GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) are essentially the same; both refer to time on the zero or Greenwich meridian. Bodies such as ICANN and WIPO often use universal time when referring to election dates and legal deadlines.
Verification — The method by which a registrar confirms a registrant's eligibility for a .PRO domain name.
Web-based Whois — A World Wide Web interface to Whois services.
Whois — A TCP transaction based query/response server, which provides netwide directory service to network users. The Whois Protocol was originally defined in RFC 954. The initial domain name related application layer implementations were centralized systems run by SRC-NIC and then later InterNIC/Network Solutions. The SRI-NIC and InterNIC implementations are more formally referred to as "NICNAME/Whois" services. Whois is not purely a domain name or IP address directory service, but has been deployed for a wide variety of uses, both public and private. Other variants of this service include RWhois and the newer Verisign Referral LDAP Whois service. Whois can refer to the protocol defined in RFC 954 or the generic application service described above.
Whois Server — The application server providing the Whois service.
World Intellectual Property Organization — WIPO is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual rights throughout the world. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations.
XML — Please see Extensible Markup Language
Zone Files — Files that contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.