Registrar (domain name)

A registrar, or domain name registrar, is an organization that manages the reservation of domain names by end-user customers and organizations. Registrars are required to be accredited by a generic top-level (gTLD) domain registry, and/or a ccTLD (country code top-level domain) registry. Management of domain name reservations is performed in compliance with guidelines set by designated domain name registries.

Information pertaining to domain name registrations is maintained by domain name registries, which contract with registrars to provide registration services to the public at large. When an end-user customer selects a given registrar for registration service, that registrar then becomes the designated registrar for the domain(s) selected by the user.

Prior to 1999, Network Solutions Inc. operated the registries for the .com and .org TLDs, and also served as the exclusive registrar for domains on those TLDs. In 1996, a company called NetNames established the idea of a standalone commercial domain name registration service which could sell domain registration and associated services to the public, which essentially created the current retail model for domain name services and to the establishment of a wholesaler role for domain name registries.