Domain registries, registrars and registrants explained

This article will explain the difference between a domain registry, registrar and registrant.

When it comes to registering a domain name, the registry, registrar and registrant all play an important role. However, it can be confusing determining which is which, especially since all three terms are spelt similarly. To help with this, we’ve provided a definition of each term and how they differ.

What is a domain registry?

A domain registry is an organisation that manages and maintains the records for specific top-level domains. For example, Nominet is the official registry for .UK domains, while VeriSign is the official registry for .com and .net domains.

What is a domain registrar?

A domain registrar is an organisation that sells domain names to the general public. For example, 123 Reg is the UK’s most popular registrar.

Much like buying chocolate, you wouldn’t approach the manufacturer themselves but rather an approved dealer like a supermarket or newsagent. In a similar vein, a domain registrar must be accredited by a domain registry before it can sell their TLDs. Every time a registrar makes a sale, they must then pay a fee to the appropriate registry.

You can also transfer your domain to a different registrar, but you can’t transfer a domain to a registry.

What is a domain registrant?

A domain registrant is the entity (i.e. an individual or company) that has registered a domain name.

If a registrant makes any changes to the records for their domain, the registrar will then notify the appropriate registry so that their records are kept up-to-date.