How to Become a Domain Name Registrar

How to Become a Domain Name Registrar

Becoming a registrar in the domain name industry is a journey that involves navigating a series of regulatory, technical, and business requirements.

At the heart of this process is obtaining accreditation from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for coordinating the global internet’s systems of unique identifiers.

This step is crucial as it grants the legal authority to register and manage domain names on behalf of individuals and organizations around the world.

The journey doesn’t stop with ICANN accreditation; it extends to forming strategic partnerships, such as with Verisign for .com and .net domains, understanding and complying with legal and financial obligations, and setting up the technical infrastructure necessary to operate successfully in this competitive field.

For those with a keen interest in the digital domain landscape, becoming a registrar offers a unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in how the internet is structured and accessed.

Verisign Domain Names Registrar

To delve deeper into the process of becoming a registrar for Verisign Domain Names, it’s essential to understand the intricacies and requirements involved in each step of the process.

Verisign, as a global leader in domain names and internet security, manages some of the most widely used top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com and .net.

Gaining the authorization to register these domains involves a multi-step process that ensures registrars operate within a framework of security, reliability, and compliance.

1. ICANN Accreditation

The initial step toward becoming a Verisign-accredited registrar involves obtaining accreditation from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

This non-profit organization is responsible for coordinating the internet’s system of unique identifiers.

ICANN accreditation is foundational because it ensures the registrar adheres to universal internet standards and practices, establishing a baseline of trust and operational capability.

2. Authentication

After obtaining ICANN accreditation, the next step is authentication by Verisign. This involves a verification process where Verisign assesses the legitimacy and operational integrity of the aspiring registrar.

The focus here is on validating the business’s legal status, its operational infrastructure, and its ability to meet Verisign’s standards for security and reliability.

This step ensures that only competent and trustworthy entities are authorized to manage the allocation and maintenance of .com and .net domains.

3. Verisign Authorization

Receiving direct authorization from Verisign is crucial. This authorization process goes beyond ICANN accreditation, requiring the registrar to agree to Verisign-specific terms and operational standards.

This might include stringent security measures, data protection protocols, and customer service expectations.

The authorization ensures that registrars can securely manage domain registrations and transfers, maintaining the integrity of the domain name system (DNS).

4. Establishing a Contractual Relationship

To formalize the relationship with Verisign, registrars must enter into several agreements:

  • Registry-Registrar Agreements: These are essential contracts that define the terms under which the registrar can register new domains or manage existing ones under Verisign’s TLDs.
  • Name Store Merchant and Activation Agreements: Specific agreements that detail the services and products offered by Verisign to registrars, outlining the operational aspects of selling and activating those services.
  • Corporate Formation Documents: Depending on the registrar’s jurisdiction and business structure, certain legal documents must be submitted to Verisign as proof of the business’s legal standing.
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Form: Compliance with the FCPA is mandatory, ensuring that the registrar’s operations adhere to anti-corruption laws.
  • Registrar Information Form: A comprehensive document that Verisign requires for collecting detailed information about the registrar’s operations, capabilities, and compliance structures.

5. Verisign’s Handling of Personal Data

With increasing global focus on data protection, Verisign requires registrars to comply with specific data handling and privacy policies.

This involves understanding and implementing practices that align with international data protection regulations, ensuring the safety and privacy of domain registrants’ personal information.

Financial and Technical Requirements

Becoming a Verisign-accredited registrar also involves meeting certain financial and technical prerequisites:

  • Financial Requirements: These may include proof of financial stability, payment of accreditation fees, and possibly a financial security deposit. These requirements ensure that registrars have the financial backing to manage their operations effectively and maintain service quality.
  • Technical Requirements: Establishing a robust technical infrastructure is crucial. This includes securing communications with SSL certificates, implementing the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) for streamlined domain transactions, and undergoing rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure the registrar’s systems meet Verisign’s operational and security standards.

Each of these steps is designed to ensure that registrars can reliably and securely manage .com and .net domain names, reflecting Verisign’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the internet’s infrastructure.

The process is thorough, reflecting the critical role registrars play in the digital economy, and ensuring that only entities capable of upholding these standards are granted the authority to register and manage these top-level domains.

How to Become a Domain Registrar in 5 Actionable Steps

To become a domain registrar, which is an entity authorized to register and manage domain names for the internet, there is a specific pathway you must follow.

This process ensures that only entities that meet certain standards of reliability, security, and capability can operate in this crucial role.

Here is a detailed explanation of the five actionable steps to become a domain registrar:

Step 1: Learn about ICANN Accreditation

  • Understanding ICANN: The first step is gaining a deep understanding of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that coordinates the internet’s global domain name system. ICANN accreditation is essential for any entity looking to become a domain registrar.
  • Accreditation Process: Explore the ICANN accreditation process, which involves meeting specific operational, technical, and financial criteria. This includes submitting an application, undergoing a review process, and agreeing to comply with ICANN policies and agreements.

Step 2: Find Out About Other Accreditations

  • Beyond ICANN: While ICANN accreditation is crucial, depending on the specific TLDs (Top-Level Domains) you wish to offer, other accreditations or agreements with specific domain registries might be necessary. For example, country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) often have their own managing organizations with separate requirements.
  • Research and Compliance: Research the requirements for any additional accreditations you may need. Ensure you understand the legal and operational obligations that come with managing different types of domains.

Step 3: Study the Domain Registration Business

  • Industry Knowledge: Gain comprehensive knowledge of the domain registration industry, including market trends, competition, pricing strategies, and customer needs. Understanding the ecosystem is crucial for positioning your business effectively.
  • Operational Planning: Develop a business plan that covers your operational model, including customer support, technical infrastructure, marketing strategies, and compliance with legal requirements. This step is about laying the groundwork for a successful domain registrar business.

Step 4: Learn About Other Rules for Domain Registrars

  • Policy Familiarity: Beyond ICANN’s policies, familiarize yourself with any additional rules or guidelines that govern domain registrars. This may include data protection laws, privacy policies, and security standards.
  • Ongoing Education: The regulatory environment for domain registrars is dynamic, with new policies and technologies constantly emerging. Commit to ongoing education and adaptation to stay compliant and competitive.

Step 5: Work Toward Independent or Career Domain Registrar Goals

  • Setting Goals: Define whether your aim is to operate independently, offering domain registration services directly to consumers, or to work as part of a larger organization within the domain registration industry.
  • Strategic Planning: For independent registrars, this involves detailed planning around business setup, capital investment, and long-term growth strategies. For career-oriented goals, focus on acquiring the necessary skills, experience, and professional network to advance within the industry.

Additional Considerations

  • Technical Infrastructure: Developing a robust technical infrastructure is critical. This includes secure systems for domain registration and management, customer support platforms, and compliance with technical standards like the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP).
  • Financial Planning: Understand the financial commitments involved in becoming a domain registrar. This includes ICANN fees, investment in infrastructure, and potential fees related to other accreditations or partnerships.

Becoming a domain registrar is a complex process that requires careful planning, compliance with multiple regulatory standards, and a deep understanding of the domain name ecosystem.

By following these steps and committing to high standards of operation and service, entities can successfully navigate the pathway to becoming accredited domain registrars, capable of contributing to the growth and stability of the internet’s infrastructure.

How to Become an ICANN Registrar: What You Need to Know

Becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar is a significant step for businesses looking to enter the domain name registration industry.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the internet’s system of unique identifiers, including domain names.

Accreditation by ICANN allows entities to directly register domain names on behalf of customers for top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net, and .org, among others.

Here’s a detailed explanation of what you need to know and the steps involved in becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar:

Understanding ICANN Registrar Requirements

  • Operational Capabilities: Applicants must demonstrate the technical, operational, and administrative capabilities to function as a registrar. This includes having the necessary infrastructure to ensure secure and reliable services.
  • Financial Stability: ICANN requires proof of financial stability to ensure that registrars can maintain operations and fulfill obligations to customers. This might involve providing financial statements and possibly a financial guarantee.
  • Compliance with ICANN Policies: Registrars must agree to comply with ICANN policies, which include registrar accreditation agreements, consensus policies, and any Temporary Policies that may be in effect.

ICANN Registrar Fees

  • Application Fee: The process begins with the payment of a non-refundable application fee. This fee covers the cost of processing and reviewing the application.
  • Annual Accreditation Fee: Once accredited, registrars must pay an annual accreditation fee to maintain their status. This fee supports ICANN’s ongoing operations and services.
  • Variable Fees: In addition to fixed fees, registrars pay variable fees based on the number of domain names registered. This fee structure ensures that ICANN’s funding reflects the scale of a registrar’s operations.

The Application Process

  1. Submission of Application: The first step is to submit a detailed application to ICANN, including information about your business structure, operational plans, and how you intend to meet ICANN’s technical and financial requirements.
  2. Review Process: ICANN reviews the application to ensure that all requirements are met. This may involve a detailed examination of the applicant’s business model, financial health, and technical infrastructure.
  3. Background Check: Applicants undergo a thorough background check to ensure there are no legal or ethical concerns that could impact their ability to serve as a registrar.
  4. Signing the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA): Once the review process is complete and the applicant is approved, they must sign the RAA, which is a contractual agreement between ICANN and the registrar. This agreement outlines the obligations and responsibilities of both parties.

What Happens After Submitting Your Application?

  • Operational Readiness: While awaiting approval, it’s essential to prepare for operational readiness. This includes setting up the necessary technical systems, such as domain management software and customer support platforms.
  • Engagement with Registries: Registrars must establish relationships with domain name registries for the TLDs they wish to offer. This involves negotiating contracts and integrating with registry systems.
  • Continuous Compliance: Accredited registrars must adhere to ongoing compliance requirements, including submitting periodic reports to ICANN, participating in compliance audits, and updating ICANN on any significant changes to their operations.

Becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar is a comprehensive process that ensures only entities capable of providing secure, reliable, and compliant domain registration services can operate in this space.

It opens the door to a wide range of opportunities in the domain name industry but requires a commitment to maintaining high standards of operation and customer service.

The Relationship Between Domain Registrar and Hosting

The relationship between domain registrars and hosting services is fundamental to how websites are accessed and experienced on the internet.

While both play crucial roles in establishing an online presence, they serve distinct functions that together make a website visible and operational.

Understanding this relationship is key to effectively managing web properties and ensuring a seamless online experience for users.

Domain Registrars

A domain registrar is an entity accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or a national country code authority to register domain names.

Domain names serve as easy-to-remember addresses for websites, mapped to numerical IP addresses that computers use to communicate with each other over the internet.

When you register a domain name, you gain the exclusive right to use that specific address for a designated period, usually one year, with the option to renew annually.

Hosting Services

Web hosting services, on the other hand, provide the technology and server space required for your website’s files to be stored and accessed on the internet.

Hosting companies maintain servers, a type of high-powered computer, where website data, including text, images, and code, are housed.

When internet users want to view your website, their browser sends a request to your host’s server, which then delivers the website’s files to the user’s device.

The Relationship Explained

  1. Interconnection: The domain name and web hosting work in tandem to make websites accessible. The domain name functions as the address that points to the location of the website’s files, which are stored on a hosting server. For a website to be viewed on the internet, the domain name and hosting must be connected.
  2. DNS Records: The link between your domain name and your web hosting is made through DNS (Domain Name System) records. DNS records are maintained by your domain registrar and direct internet traffic to the appropriate server when someone types your domain name into a browser. Specifically, the A (Address) record is used to point a domain to the IP address of the hosting server where the website’s content resides.
  3. Operational Independence: It’s important to note that domain registration and web hosting are two separate services. You can purchase them from the same company for convenience, but it’s not a requirement. Many website owners register their domain with one company and host their site with another. This separation can offer flexibility, such as when seeking specialized hosting services or when a change in hosting provider is needed without affecting the domain name.
  4. Strategic Choice: The decision on whether to keep both services under one provider or to separate them depends on several factors, including pricing, convenience, customer support, and specific needs like email hosting or website builder tools. Some users prefer the ease of management and integrated support that comes with using a single provider for both services, while others prioritize the flexibility and potential benefits of selecting specialized providers for each service.

Understanding the distinct roles of domain registrars and hosting services, along with how they interconnect, is crucial for anyone looking to establish or manage a website.

This knowledge ensures informed decisions are made regarding service providers, ultimately contributing to a stable and accessible online presence.

How Do Domain Registrars Make Money with Domain Names?

Domain registrars operate within a unique niche of the internet infrastructure, providing essential services that enable the ownership and management of domain names.

Their revenue models are diverse, encompassing various strategies beyond the straightforward sale of domain names. Here’s a detailed explanation of how domain registrars generate income:

1. Sale of Domain Names

  • Primary Revenue Source: The core service offered by domain registrars is the registration of domain names. Customers pay a fee to register a domain for a set period, typically one year, with the option to renew. The registrar’s price includes a fee paid to the registry responsible for the top-level domain (TLD) and a markup for profit.
  • Volume Discounts and Premium Domains: Registrars may also offer discounts on bulk purchases to attract large-scale customers or businesses managing multiple domains. Conversely, premium domain names—those considered valuable due to their brevity, relevance, or keyword popularity—are sold at significantly higher prices.

2. Renewal Fees

  • Recurring Revenue: Domain renewals provide a steady stream of income for registrars. Since domain ownership is not permanent but leased in annual increments, customers must pay renewal fees to retain their domain names. Registrars often offer multi-year renewal options or automatic renewal services to secure this revenue.

3. Domain Transfer Fees

  • Transfer Services: While the ability to transfer domain names between registrars is mandated by ICANN, registrars may charge a fee for this service. This fee often includes an extension of the domain’s registration period by one year from the transfer date.

4. Add-on Services

  • Web Hosting: Many registrars bundle web hosting services with domain registration, offering a complete package for customers looking to establish a new website. This can include shared, dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting options.
  • Email Hosting: Providing branded email addresses that match the customer’s domain name is another popular add-on service. This enhances the professional appearance of the customer’s communication.
  • SSL Certificates: Security is a critical concern for website owners. Registrars sell SSL certificates to encrypt data transmitted to and from a website, providing trust and security for the site’s visitors.
  • Website Builders: For customers looking for an all-in-one solution, registrars often offer website builder tools that allow users to create and launch their websites without advanced technical knowledge.
  • Privacy Protection: Domain registration requires the submission of personal information, which is publicly available via WHOIS databases. Registrars offer privacy protection services to hide this information from the public eye, enhancing customer privacy.
  • Domain Parking: Registrars may offer domain parking services, allowing customers to monetize unused domains through advertising revenue.

5. Reseller Programs

  • Expanding Reach: Registrars create reseller programs that allow third parties to sell domain registrations and related services under their own branding. This expands the registrar’s market reach while providing a commission-based revenue stream from sales made by resellers.

6. Aftermarket Domain Sales

  • Secondary Market: Registrars often facilitate the sale of domains on the secondary market, where previously registered domains are bought and sold. They may host auction platforms for these transactions, taking a percentage of the sale price as a fee.

Domain registrars have developed a multifaceted approach to revenue generation, extending well beyond the mere sale of domain names.

By offering a broad spectrum of related services and leveraging the recurring nature of domain registrations and renewals, registrars have established themselves as central figures in the online ecosystem, facilitating the digital presence of businesses and individuals alike.

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Conclusion: Become a Domain Reseller

In conclusion, becoming a domain registrar offers a unique opportunity to play a vital role in the digital ecosystem, facilitating individuals and businesses in establishing their online presence.

The process involves obtaining ICANN accreditation, adhering to technical and financial requirements, and establishing relationships with domain registries.

Beyond the initial steps, successful registrars expand their revenue streams through the sale of domain names, renewal fees, add-on services such as web hosting, email hosting, SSL certificates, and privacy protection.

They may also engage in domain transfers, operate reseller programs, and participate in the aftermarket sales of domain names.

Despite the complexity and regulatory requirements, the business of domain registration provides a lucrative and recurring revenue model.

It requires a commitment to quality service, security, and ongoing compliance with industry standards, ensuring a trusted and reliable service for customers navigating the digital world.


How much does it cost to become a domain name registrar?

The cost to become a domain name registrar involves several fees, including an application fee, annual accreditation fees, and potentially other costs associated with setting up and maintaining the technical infrastructure required to operate as a registrar. The ICANN application fee is approximately $3,500, and there’s an annual accreditation fee that varies but can be around $4,000. Additional costs include investments in infrastructure, staff training, and compliance with ICANN policies, which can vary significantly based on the scale and scope of operations.

Can I become my own domain registrar?

Yes, you can become your own domain registrar by applying for accreditation through ICANN and meeting their requirements, which include technical, operational, and financial capabilities. Becoming an accredited registrar allows you to register domain names directly with domain name registries without going through a third party.

What does it take to be a domain registrar?

To be a domain registrar, you must obtain accreditation from ICANN. This involves demonstrating financial stability, technical capability, a commitment to comply with ICANN policies, and the ability to maintain a high level of service to customers. It also requires paying application and annual accreditation fees and investing in the necessary infrastructure to manage domain registrations and provide related services.

How do I become a domain owner?

To become a domain owner, you need to register a domain name through an accredited domain registrar. This involves choosing an available domain name, paying a registration fee, and providing the registrar with your contact information. Once registered, you have the right to use the domain name for the period of the registration, which is typically one year, with the option to renew.

What are the qualifications of a registrar?

The qualifications of a registrar refer to the requirements set by ICANN for accreditation. These include the ability to demonstrate technical and operational competence, financial stability, compliance with ICANN policies, and the ability to protect the rights and privacy of domain name registrants. Registrars must also agree to contractual agreements that outline their responsibilities and obligations.

Is GoDaddy a domain registrar?

Yes, GoDaddy is a domain registrar. It is one of the largest and most well-known domain registrars in the world, accredited by ICANN. GoDaddy provides a wide range of internet services, including domain registration, web hosting, website builders, and email hosting services.


To become a domain name registrar, you’ll need to follow a structured process outlined primarily by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Here are key resources and steps to guide you through becoming a domain name registrar:

ICANN Resources

  1. ICANN Website: The primary resource for anyone looking to become a domain name registrar is the ICANN website ( Here, you can find comprehensive information on the accreditation process, including requirements, fees, and application forms.
  2. Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA): Familiarize yourself with the RAA, which is the contract between ICANN and accredited registrars. It outlines the obligations and responsibilities of domain registrars. The latest version can be found on the ICANN website.
  3. ICANN Accreditation Application Guide: ICANN provides a guide for the accreditation application process, detailing the steps, required documentation, and evaluation criteria. This guide is available in the registrars section of the ICANN website.
  4. ICANN Global Support Center: For direct inquiries or assistance during the application process, you can contact the ICANN Global Support Center. They offer support to prospective registrars and can provide guidance on specific queries.

Additional Resources

  1. Registrar Training and Development: Consider enrolling in courses or workshops focused on domain name registration, DNS management, and related technical areas. Organizations like the Domain Name Association ( and various online learning platforms offer relevant educational resources.
  2. Legal and Financial Advisory Services: Consult with legal and financial advisors who have experience in ICANN accreditation and internet governance. They can provide crucial advice on setting up your business to meet ICANN’s financial stability requirements and on navigating the legal aspects of the accreditation process.
  3. Technical Infrastructure Providers: To meet ICANN’s technical requirements, you may need to partner with or seek services from providers of domain name system (DNS) infrastructure, security services, and domain management software. Companies specializing in registrar solutions can offer packages that include the necessary tools and software to operate as a registrar.
  4. Community Forums and Groups: Engage with online communities and forums where domain industry professionals share insights and advice. Websites like NamePros ( and DNForum ( host discussions that can provide valuable tips and networking opportunities.
  5. Industry Conferences: Attend domain name industry conferences, such as ICANN public meetings, NamesCon, and others, where you can learn from experts, network with potential partners, and stay updated on industry trends and policy developments.

Meet Ankit Kumar holding a master's degree in Museology, Ankit Kumar brings a profound understanding of the cultural and historical significance of museums. With a passion for research and a keen interest in writing, they have not only excelled in guiding individuals in their career paths but also have a flair for creating insightful and engaging blogs on various aspects of museology as well as different professions.

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