Useful Glossary of Terms

What is TLD (Top Level Domain)

The term TLD stands for Top Level Domain, and refers to the last portion of a domain name.  For example, the domain name EXAMPLE.COM is part of the .COM Top Level Domain and the domain EXAMPLE.ORG is part of the .ORG Top Level Domain. Different TLDs are often separate from each other in certain ways, such as the case of Name Servers.  The Name Server NS1.EXAMPLE.COM can be used with all .COM domains, however in order to use it on a .ORG domain, the .COM Name Server must first be added to the .ORG TLD by your Domain Provider if it has not been done before

What is DNS (Domain Name Servers)?

DNS is an acronym for Domain Name Server, and is the system used to translate word-based addresses of systems (such as WWW.EXAMPLE.COM) to the numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address of the computer or system that should be located at that address. All computers and systems on the Internet use addresses that look similar to:

When you use an alphanumeric address such as WWW.EXAMPLE.COM, your computer needs to understand what numerical IP addresses it needs to contact, and this is accomplished through DNS servers. The answer is delivered back to the requesting computer via the DNS listed for the domain name.

All domains have at least two DNS servers as seen through WHOIS lookups such as NS1.EXAMPLE.COM and NS2.EXAMPLE.COM, and your request for anything related to the domain name gets sent to one of these servers.  In response, the DNS server sends back the IP address that you should contact.  This works for the Web Site, Mail Servers, and anything else based on the domain name.

What is a Domain Provider?

A Domain Provider is a company which sells domain name registrations to the public.  If you own a TUCOWS branded domain, your Domain Provider is the last company you paid money to for your domain name registration.  Money was paid for its renewal, transfer, or even its initial registration within the past year.

What is WHOIS?

WHOIS stands for “Who is?” and is a utility used to look up information on domain names.  This includes contact information as well as some technical information such as the domain’s name servers (DNS) used for service, and certain Status information such as if the domain is Locked.

Please see this page to perform a WHOIS Lookup of a domain name.

What is a Registrant?

A Provider is a company that uses the Tucows Registrar system to provide domain registration services to the general public.

A Registrant is the person or company who purchases a domain name.  For example, Jessica Smith (Registrant) registers the name EXAMPLE.COM through an Domain Provider

What is a Registry?

The Registry is the backend (database, systems and administration) that Registrars have shared access to.  Each Registrar writes new names to a central Registry Database, from which the Authoritative Root (a list of all domain names on the Internet) is built

What is a Registrar?

A Registrar (or Domain Name Registrar) is an organization like TUCOWS or Network Solutions or GoDaddy that has control over the granting of domains within certain Top Level Domains or “TLDs” (such as the generic .COM/.ORG/.NET or country-specific ones such as .CA/.US/.MX etc.).

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is essentially a signpost on the Internet.  Every website you have ever been to and every email you have ever composed has used a domain name in its address.

People register domain names in order to stake a claim to a particular name — whether for business or personal reasons.

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