Who’s Who in the Domain Registration Chain
The Domain Registration Process
While a TLD registry will manage the entire database of all domain names under a particular TLD (Verisign is the registry for .com and .net TLDs) they do not sell directly to end users. That job is for ICANN accredited registrars and their resellers. (Godaddy is a registrar)
When you (Registrant) want to register a domain name, you would make a search at your favorite registrar. The registrar will connect to the registry to see if that name is available
If the domain name is available in the tld, the registrar can select and allocate that particular domain to you , the registrant, effectively claiming it within the registry database for your use.
These are screenshots from the ICANN New gTLDs video (see entire video here)
What is a Registry?
The term “registry” is “the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each top-level domain” (from ICANN’s glossary). This database is maintained by the operator of the registry. Every TLD has its own zone file, which is generated by the registry operator. The registry is responsible for setting the policies pertaining to the allocation of second-level domain names within the TLD. Internet users don’t register domain names through the registries themselves. Instead, they use domain name registrars that have been accredited by ICANN, such as Go Daddy and Enom.
The current TLDs (e.g. .com, .info, .gov, .asia) are operated by various registries. For example, .com and .net are operated by VeriSign, Inc. Dot org is operated by the Public Interest Registry, and .gov is operated by the US General Services Administration. Neustar is the registry that operates .biz, and Afilias Limited operates .info.
What is a registrar?
Registrars are companies through which domain names can be registered by the general public(registrants). For examples, if an Internet user wants to register a domain name ending in .com, they would sign up at one of many registrars that offers that TLD. Currently there are around 900 ICANN accredited registrars.
When users register a domain name they will be required to provide certain information for the registrar’s records. This information typically includes their company or personal information (depending on who is to be listed as the “owner” of the domain name), as well as technical information. Once a domain name is registered, the registrar sends all the technical information to the registry that operates the TLD.