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Welcome to the world of ICANN!

If you are new, or even if you aren't, here are a list of important terms that you may need to know.



ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is a private, non-profit organization for the management of the Internet DNS, IP Addresses and Autonomous System Numbers, and the structures that underlie them. It runs on an international, multi-stakeholder model.

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Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

ICANN Meetings
ICANN Bodies

ICANN Organizational Chart

ICANN Organizational Chart


Main article: GNSO
The GNSO is an ICANN Supporting Organization. It supports the ICANN Board by developing policies, forming consensus, and making recommendations related to gTLDs.


Main article: ccNSO
The ccNSO is an ICANN Supporting Organization. It supports the ICANN Board by developing policies, forming consensus, and making recommendations related to ccTLDs.


Main article: ASO
The ASO is an ICANN Supporting Organization. It supports the ICANN Board by developing policies, forming consensus, and making recommendations related to Internet Protocol and addresses.


Main article: GAC
The GAC, or Government Advisory Committee, is a committee made up of representatives from various governments to advise the ICANN Board on public policy issues, national laws, and international agreements.


Main article: RSSAC
The Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) advises the ICANN Community and Board on issues pertaining to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System.


Main article: SSAC
The Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) advises the ICANN Board on matters related to the security and integrity of domain names and the allocation of IP addresses, including but not limited to security assurance for operational matters, administrative matters and registrations matters.


Main article: Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee, or NomCom, is in charge of selecting various ICANN officers. It is designed to operate independently of all other ICANN Bodies, and to act in the interest of the global internet community.


Main article: Registry

A registry is the database of all domain names registered under a certain TLD. A registry operator, also called a NIC or network information center, is responsible for managing this database. They contract with registrars, who are accredited to sell domains under the TLD.


Main article: Registrar

A registrar is a company that is authorized to sell domain names.


A registrant is a person who has registered a domain name through a registrar.


Main article: DNS
See also: DNSSEC

The DNS, or Domain Name System, is the system that translates between alphanumeric domain names and IP Addresses.


Main article: TLD

A TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the last part of a domain name, for example: .com, .net, .org. The two most prominent types of TLDs are gTLDs and ccTLDs.


Main article: gTLD

A Generic Top Level Domain, or gTLD, is basically any TLD that is not a ccTLD. Previously, gTLDs were limited to being three or more characters. But with the addition of the New gTLD program, two character gTLDs may now be registered. Examples of gTLDs include .com, .org, and .info. sTLDs, such as .travel, and GeoTLDs, such as .asia and .cat, are a subset of gTLDs.

New gTLD Program

The new gTLD Program is a newly approved process by which ICANN will be accepting applications to add new TLDs to the Root Zone. Check out our New gTLD Resources page.


Main article: ccTLD

A Country-Code Top Level Domain, or ccTLD, is a TLD with two characters, specifically designed for a particular country, sovereign state or autonomous territory. .uk, .de, and .cn are all examples of ccTLDs.


Main article: Internet Protocol
See also: IPv4, IPv6, Internet Protocol Suite

Internet Protocol is the means by which data is sent from one computer to another via an Internet connection.


Main article: IDN

IDN (Internationalized Domain Names) are formed using characters from different scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic or Devanagari. These are encoded by the Unicode standard and used as allowed by relevant IDN protocols.

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