Registry (domain name)

A domain registry is the organization responsible for assigning domain names for the given TLD managed by that organization. Registries are also responsible for updating the global DNS tables that all Internet nameservers use to resolve individual domain names. Some registries are part of a national government, others are cooperatives formed by Internet service providers or non-profit organizations, while others function as commercial organizations.

A registry operator, or network information center, handles all administrative data for a TLD, and creates a zone file that holds the addresses of the nameservers associated with each domain. Registries set policies for domain name allocation within the TLDs assigned to them, and may also provide domain name registration service to end-user customers, although that function is typically handled by third-party registrars that contract with the registry operator.

While most registries have historically allocated names on a first-come-first-served basis, individual registries occasionally block the allocation of certain names on the basis of cultural, religious, political or legal concerns. For example, through 1998, InterNic, the American company that served as the registry for U.S. .com names, automatically rejected the allocation of names thought to be obscene or indecent.