Revealed: How are the Top-level Domains Managed?

Top-level domains refer to domains extension such as .com, .gov, .net, .edu, and .org.  Indeed, if you own a website, you have one of these domain extensions in your web address.

However, many site owners believe that domain registrar who they used to register their domain names are the owners of the top-level domains. This assumption is inaccurate.

This article reveals the roles of ICANN in top-level domain administration and management as well as other entities involved in this process.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

ICANN is the overall body responsible for maintaining and delegating IP administration to other organizations through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Also, ICANN is responsible for developing policies to manage Domain Name System (DNS), affecting the root servers as well as introducing generic TLDS. Also, this body handles the Internet Protocols maintenance as well as assigning addresses to regional internet registries.

ICANN delegates domain extension administration to government entities and other companies so as to enhance their management. These organizations are known as domain registrars and registries.  Here are some of the top-level domain registries:

  1. Government entitiesIn separating government entities sites from general ones, ICANN assigns them unique domain extensions that identify them as governmental entities. For instance, the US government’s sites are identified with .gov extension; the US Army sites are assigned .mil domain extensions. Each nation’s government is responsible for managing the domain extensions representing their entities.
  2. VeriSignVeriSign is the domain registry for responsible for managing .com and .net. The organization ensures that .com and .net domains are stable, secure and resilient. Also, it ensures that all websites calling these extensions are protected. Furthermore, it registers new registrars and resellers and offers them an operational certification to register .com and .net domain names.

iii. Public interest registryPublic interest registry is a public entity in charge of .org domain extension. It also maintains and manages the database of all .org URLs across the globe.

  1. NeustarNeustar is the registry in charge of managing the .biz and its affiliate domain extensions such as .biz. Specifically, the organization specifies in developing domain extension for various brands across the world.


In conclusion, domain management is like a large piece of land where the government is the owner. Then the government delegates the management responsibility to real estate firms. The companies then sell it to land and plot buyers. With this illustration in mind, ICANN would be the government owning issuing titles to domain registries to manage and maintain the domain extensions. The registries then hire registrars to sell the domain names to potential clients.

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