ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) coordinates the naming system used by the internet and plays a very important role in the provision of one global internet.
If you register a domain or transfer a domain, how does it work that all the names are unique and nobody ends up with the same name?
Very similar to the telephone system, the Domain Name System (DNS) ensures that all IP addresses and domain names are unique. Just like you may dial a country or city code as a prefix to the telephone number you are calling, IP addresses (which are assigned to internet service providers in each country) can be linked similarly to a certain country or location, as well as domain names using the suffix of the domain to determine the location (for example .com.au is Australia or .co.uk is the UK). These are called Top Level Domains (TLD) and are broken up into various regions making it easier to manage, as opposed to a massive singular system. It is this organisation, ICANN, in collaboration with other organisations like auDA that coordinate and manage these various regions and makes it possible for domains to resolve universally. These non-profit organisations are therefore responsible for ensuring the distribution of unique domain names as well as IP addresses to these various regions and countries, making sure they all abide by the globally accepted standards. ICANN is the globally accepted body which manages these standards. Using one central organisation like this ensures no conflicting names or IP addresses are released into the system. Competing organisations have tried to start other similar organisations and have resulted in conflicts of names and IP’s. This proves the importance and the need for one central body that takes overall responsibilty on behalf of all the internet users throughout the world.
auDa (.au Domain Administration) is the Australian domain name Authority and regulating body. It basically handles all the Australian related domain names and feeds back to ICANN. ICANN manages various root servers that store all the TLD registry details. And it is these other institutions, like auDA, scattered all over the internet that make sure the domains that we (as users) use on a daily basis can resolve quickly to the correct IP addresses. These organisations routinely cache information from the root servers ICANN manages, and therefore bring the Domain Name Resolvers closer to the end user.
If all the domains had to resolve directly on the root servers managed by ICANN on an individual basis, they would need to process hundreds of billions of queries a day. It is for this reason ICANN coordinates various different organisations under a global agreement, to avoid slowing down the overall performance of the internet or creating any single bottlenecks.
These organisations work around a code of conduct in order to provide an accessible and manageable service to online business and consumers.
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