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Understanding Domain Name Records And Their Authority?

Understanding domain name records and their authority?

If you’ve ever done a Whois lookup on a domain name you might have noticed various contacts listed for the domain. Sometimes they are all the same and at other times they can be different, but they are all important, especially when you consider the varying levels of control they each have over your own domain…

Normally there are 4 specific contacts:

  • Registrant (The domain Owner)
  • Administrator
  • Technical
  • Billing

A contact may be a single specified person, a company, organization, or a job function or position within a company or organization. These latter are called roles. For example, you may choose as your technical contact the Technical Services Department at your hosting ISP, rather than a specific individual.

It’s a good idea for the registrant to choose contacts carefully. For people who demand complete control of their name, the same individual may name him or herself as all four contacts. However there are some disadvantages to this, and some problems may occur, as our experience frequently shows, especially when the owner somehow loses the administrative email account!

Registrant – Owner/Holder 

The owner contact, also known as the registrant, is the highest authority and official owner of a domain name. Mostly, the owner and the administrator are one and the same, however, sometimes the owner may designate another individual to be responsible for the maintenance of the domain name. Such as a domain name owned by a corporation with a designated individual responsible for the decisions concerning a name.

When you check the whois, the owner of a domain name is the person or organization displayed at the top of a record. The registry uses a convention that if the owner record displays an individual’s name and an organization, or company, the organization is the owner of the name. The person listed is the contact agent of the organization.

Administrative Contact

The domain name administrator is the person or role who will have full authority to request and authorize any necessary decisions and updates on behalf of the domain owner, including contact information and name server information, for the chosen domain name. The administrator should be familiar with the plans for the domain name and how it will be used. The administrator is usually, though not always, the owner of the domain name. If it is not the owner, he or she is the representative of the owner. The registrant of a domain should take special care in selecting an administrative contact, since a domain administrator has authority almost equal to that of the owner on decisions concerning the domain, including transferring ownership. If there is a dispute, only the owner of the domain can override the administrator’s decisions.

Technical Contact

Usually, the technical contact is the person, role, or organization responsible for the web server on which a domain is hosted. The technical contact has the authority to update name server information, and attend to the technical administration of the domain files on the server. He/she does not have the authority to transfer ownership or administrative rights.

It is usually not advisable to for the technical contact to be the same person as the administrator, although that is certainly allowed and often done. A technical contact can act as a secondary or backup administrator for a domain in the absence of the owner/administrator with respect to the single most often needed modification of a domain: the assignment of the name server.

Good choices for technical contact could include the webmaster or web designer for the domain, or someone at your Internet Service Provider or web hosting service.

Billing Contact

The billing contact is the person or role named to be responsible for paying registration and renewal fees for a domain name. A billing contact is known only to the registrar and registrant, and never appears in the CORE whois. The name and address you supply for payment when you register your name is considered the billing contact for our purposes. A billing contact has no authority to make changes or updates to a domain name.

Here at Pogo we look after and manage over 100 domains for ourselves and our clients and if you ever have a problem or question we’re happy to help de-mystify some of the complexities of domain management. Just drop us a line or pick up the phone.

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