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Common Terms

Definitions and explanations are provided for some of the common terms used on this site.

Domain Name
Domain Name Commissioner (DNC)
Domain Name Server (DNS)
DNS System
Hosting
InternetNZ
Moderation
.nz Registry Services (NZRS)
Register
Registrant
Registrar
Registry
Shared Registry System (SRS)
Unique Domain Authentication ID (UDAI)
WHOIS
Zone File

Domain Name
To uniquely identify all computers on the Internet, every computer is assigned a unique IP Address. IP stands for Internet Protocol and these addresses are normally expressed as a string of numbers (eg. 217.27.61.137). Domain names were developed to avoid having to remember the IP addresses of all of the web sites we visit. Through the use of Domain Name Servers, easy-to-remember domain names are automatically translated to their corresponding IP addresses, allowing computers on the Internet to communicate with each other. Domain names typically have several levels, seperated by a dot (ie. a full stop). The right-most level is usually known as the top-level domain, or TLD, and is often represented by a country code, such as .nz. Within .nz, a range of second-level domains, or 2LDs, have been created for specific uses (eg. .co.nz for commercial users and .school.nz for schools). Some 2LDs are subject to moderation and have a restricted usage. InternetNZ, the party delegated to manage the .nz name space, maintains a register of third-level domains for the general public to use on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Domain Name Commission (DNC)
The Domain Name Commission Limited (DNC) is a company wholly-owned by InternetNZ, Internet New Zealand Incorporated. The DNC is responsible for the ongoing development and monitoring of the competitive registrar market and the environment for registering and managing .nz domain names. This includes responsibility for the authorisation of registrars and the handling of disputes and complaints.

Domain Name Server (DNS)
A Domain Name Server, or DNS, accepts requests from programs, or other DNS, to convert domain names into IP addresses. When a web address is typed into a browser, the browser's first step is to convert the domain name into an IP address so that the browser can find the computer where the web page is located. To do this, the browser has a conversation with a DNS, which in turn may contact other DNS, all of which are part of the worldwide DNS System. In DNS terminology, a domain name is said to be 'delegated' to an IP address. Although DNS is simply a generic term for a name server, it is often also used to refer to the DNS System as a whole, or to a specific DNS (ie. the .nz DNS is often just called 'the DNS').

DNS System
Many thousands of DNS link together to form the most active distributed database in the world, known as the DNS System. A relatively small number of high-level "root" DNS handle the several hundred top-level domains (eg. .nz, .uk, .com). A request for a .nz domain name (eg. dnc.org.nz) is referred by the root DNS to the .nz DNS. The .nz DNS, which is managed and operated by NZRS and updated regularly from the register every day, will refer the request to one of countless other DNS that exist within hosting companies. It is therefore important that the name server (DNS) details for individual domain names in the register are kept up to date. Missing or incorrect name server details will make a domain name unusable for a web site, email address, or any other purpose.

Hosting
The term hosting can refer to a variety of Internet-based services. In the context of .nz, the term usually refers to the hosting of a domain name in a particular DNS through an arrangement between a hosting company and a registrant. This is necessary before a domain name can be used on the Internet. The term hosting is also used when companies, or organisations, host people's web sites or email accounts on their computers. This type of hosting falls outside the responsibility of .nz and the DNC. If a registrant experiences a problem with the use of their web site or email address, it is recommended that they approach the organisation hosting the web site or email account first. In many cases, even if the problem lies in the DNS, the same organisation will be responsible for hosting both.

InternetNZ
InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Incorporated), is a non-profit society established in 1995 to foster coordinated and cooperative development of the Internet in New Zealand. InternetNZ is an independent body that is not allied to any particular section of the industry and is open to anyone who wants to influence Internet evolution. InternetNZ has the ultimate responsibility for managing the .nz name space by ICANN, the non-profit corporation formed to assume responsibility for domain name system management. InternetNZ has appointed the Domain Name Commission (DNC) to manage and administer the .nz domain name space on behalf of InternetNZ.

Moderation
A limited number of second-level domains, or 2LDs, have been created for .nz (eg. .co.nz, .net.nz, .org.nz, etc). Some of these 2LDs have a restricted usage (eg. .mil.nz, .cri.nz, .iwi.nz, .govt.nz), whereby proposed domain names are scrutinised for their suitability by a moderator appointed by the DNC. Moderated domain names can only be registered by registrars approved by the moderator of the 2LD, but afterwards can be transferred for management by any registrar. More information may be found in the .nz policy for Second Level Domains.

.nz Registry Services (NZRS)
.nz Registry Services (NZRS) is the trading name of New Zealand Domain Name Registry Ltd. It was established by InternetNZ with the sole purpose, and exclusive right, to operate and manage the .nz register and DNS. NZRS deals exclusively with authorised registrars and has no contact with registrants or the general public. Its primary function is to ensure that the Shared Registry System is operational 24 hours a day, under the terms of a service level agreement it has with InternetNZ.

Register
The .nz register has two purposes. It is the authoritative record of .nz domain names and the right to use those names, and it is the source of name server information for the .nz DNS. For every domain name, the register records the name and contact details of the registrant, the registrant's appointed administrator, and the entity responsible for the technical functioning of the domain name. It also records the Status of the domain name (eg. Available, Active, or Pending Release), the initial Registration Date, and the final date of the current registration term (the Billed Until Date). To enable the domain to be delegated to an IP address, the register lists the name servers (DNS) where the domain is hosted (note: to be delegated in the DNS, a domain name must have at least two name servers assigned to it). The .nz register is owned by InternetNZ and operated and managed under contract by NZRS. Physically, it is the major component of the SRS database.

Registrant
A registrant is the person, or entity, that holds the right to use a third-level domain within the .nz name space (eg. dnc.org.nz). The registrant of every .nz domain name is recorded in the .nz register.

Registrar
A registrar is an entity authorised to access the .nz register to register and maintain domain names on behalf of registrants. Authorisation to be a registrar is granted by the DNC after strict criteria are met, following which an agreement for connection to the SRS is signed with NZRS. A list of authorised registrars is maintained on this site, and you can also identify an authorised registrar by the presence of the following logo:

Registry
The registry is the entity that maintains and operates the .nz register on behalf of InternetNZ. Currently, it is the company known as NZRS.

Shared Registry System (SRS)
The Shared Registry System, commonly referred to as the SRS, is the computer system implemented to manage the .nz register. The term is also sometimes used to encompass the general environment and business rules of .nz, where multiple registrars are authorised to register .nz domain names. The SRS was purpose-built by InternetNZ and is now owned and operated by NZRS. It was developed on an "open source" software platform and uses an XML interface protocol. More details may be found under the 'technical information' category on this site.

Unique Domain Authentication ID (UDAI)
The Unique Domain Authentication ID, or UDAI, is a randomly generated unique identifier that is required to authenticate requests to transfer domain names from one registrar to another. A UDAI is generated when a domain name is registered, although the domain name's registrar can generate a new UDAI at any time if required. Registrars are obliged to promptly make UDAIs available to registrants upon request and may not withhold them to prevent a domain name from being transferred under any circumstances.

WHOIS
The term WHOIS commonly refers to an electronic facility to query the details of a specific domain name in the .nz register. All .nz WHOIS queries are subject to terms that forbid the use of multiple queries to download part, or all, of the register for a targeted contact campaign or any other purpose (refer to the WHOIS Policy on this site for more details). A WHOIS query can be issued by a number of means. Most people will prefer a user-friendly version available through a web site, similar to the domain search function at the top of this page. Alternatively, the more technically-minded can issue a command to the WHOIS server directly through their computer console (eg. whois -h srs.net.nz dnc.org.nz). Authorised registrars can issue WHOIS queries directly on the SRS through an XML transaction. Technical details of the .nz WHOIS service may be found in the WHOIS specification on this site.

Zone File
The zone file is a list of .nz domain names that are included in a process that populate all appropriate names to various domain name servers around the world. The zone file is pushed to the .nz nameservers on the hour, every hour.

If you have a question which isn't covered above, please email info@dnc.org.nz