The 3 Rs of the domain world: Registry, registrar & registrant

Get schooled

What do you think of when I ask you to recite the three Rs? If you’re anything like me, your mind automatically jumps to the old adage of reading and writing and arithmetic.Don’t worry — I’m not here to give you a lesson about the trifecta that makes up our basic knowledge foundation. No, I’m talking about three different Rs: registry, registrar and registrant.

Why should you care? Well, these terms are part of your world if you have a website. You can’t get a website address without them. And it’s always a good idea to know who or what you’re dealing with, right?


The top tier. The big guns. Registries own domain extensions we’ve come to know and love — like .com, .net and .org — and the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that are gathering momentum in the cybersphere. These companies are empowered to distribute domain extensions to other companies (registrars — to be explained in the next section) so consumers can claim their chosen domain name with their preferred ending.

While there are many registrars and registrants, there are far less registries. For example, one of the newest and hippest domain registries is a company called Donuts, Inc. Donuts is releasing dozens of cool, customized domain extensions that stray far from the norm of an ordinary .com — like .bike, .guru, .photography, .coffee and .singles.


Hey there, middleman! Registrars are the companies that work with the registries to bring you the domain extensions. Think of them as your diamond and gem negotiator — when was the last time you looked at a precious stone right from the hands of the guy who dug it up? My guess — never (unless you’re a jeweler). So you go to your local jewelry store and select that gorgeous stone with the help of the sales representative.

GoDaddy is a perfect example of a registrar; we coordinate with the registries to bring you the most valuable domain extensions for your choosing.


That’s you! Without you, the domain names wouldn’t even be tangible. You’re the one who expresses interest in an idea and seeks to secure a website name by procuring a solid domain. You create a Web presence, and start growing and bringing attention to your website. Without you, what’s the point?

Your pertinent information (like your name and address) is recorded and attached to your domain name and made visible to the public through WHOIS. Don’t want that information to be public? Easy peasy! Just add privacy to your domain names to keep your information hidden from prying eyes while still complying with the rules of the registry!

So here’s a quick recap: You are the customer (registrant) who visits the jeweler (registrar) to find your perfect stone (domain name). The jeweler coordinates with the mining camp (registry) to ensure that they have access to provide you with an array of options. And that mining camp? They run it all! They determine who gets what and how much they pay. And the best part of it all? You didn’t even have to revisit your knowledge of reading and writing and arithmetic.

No lessons or homework required for this domain name registration course.

Also published on Medium.

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