A Top-Level Domain Name Registrar


Approval of new gTLD Domain Name Extensions is expected before the end of 2000.  Click here for more information

Domain Name

1418 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208-2177
(502) 635-7979
(800) 977-3475
(502) 636-9157 Fax

E-mail us at:

Computer Analytical Systems, Inc.

CAS-Com Internet Services .

Sometimes we forget that not everyone is familiar with the lingo we use in the domain name registration process.  We provide this fairly exhaustive list of the terms and concepts we use, part glossary and part help desk, to assist you in the domain name registration process.  If there is something you think we left out, email us at , and we'll do our best to get your answer and include it in this list.

Terms and Terminology

  • Administrative Contact
  • Billing Contact
  • ccTLD
  • COM
  • Contact
  • Contact Handle
  • CORE
  • Dispute
  • Dotcom
  • DNS
  • Domain
  • Domain Name
  • Extension
  • FAQ
  • FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name)
  • gTLD
  • Handle
  • Host
  • Hosting / Hosting Service
  • HTML
  • HTTP
  • InterNIC
  • IP address
  • IP number
  • ISP
  • Modification
  • Name Server
  • Name Service
  • NET
  • ORG
  • Owner/Holder
  • Parking
  • Primary DNS Server
  • Registrant
  • Registrar
  • Registration
  • Registration Fee
  • Registry
  • Renewal
  • Resource
  • Role (contact)
  • Root Server
  • Secondary DNS Server
  • Server
  • SLD (Second Level Domain)
  • SRS (Shared Registry System)
  • Static IP Address
  • Technical Contact
  • TLD (Top Level Domain)
  • Transfer
  • URL
  • Web Host(ing) / Web Server
  • Whois
  • Zone
  • Zone Contact

    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, including contact information and name server information, for the chosen domain name.  The administrator is usually, though not always, the owner of the domain name.  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.

    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.  A billing contact has no authority to make changes or updates to a domain name.

    Country code Top Level Domain.  See Top Level Domains (TLD)

    A top level domain
    traditionally meant to be used for domains registered to commercial entities such as corporations, individual proprietors and businesses.  In fact, nearly everyone wanting to own a domain on the Internet at least considers registering a name in .com as it has become the largest and most popular category of top level domains in the world for every purpose.  As it is strongly associated in the minds of the population with the Internet, .com is considered the most desirable extension for Internet branding.

    A contact is any person or role who represents the registrant in the administration of a domain name. There are five types of contacts used in a domain name registration: Owner/Holder, Administrative, Technical, Zone and Billing. Each of these performs a different function and have varying degrees of authority (in the order listed) with respect to the administration of the domain name. See also Handle below.

    Contact Handle
    Every registrant is assigned a contact handle at the time of their first domain name registration.  This is a unique identifying code for the registrant, and is linked to a file in the registry that contains all the registrant's required contact information such as full address, telephone number and email address.  By carefully creating a handle, the same handle may be used over and over for subsequent domain registrations. 

    Internet Council of Registrars.  CORE is a non-profit membership association of independent Internet domain name registrars. Its purpose is to  maintain a shared registry system (SRS) for the management of Internet domain names. CASDNS is a member of CORE.  More information can be found at our group CORE website at

    In its most important sense with regard to domain name registration, a dispute may arise over ownership of a particular domain if a registrant registers a name containing someone else's well-known trademark or intellectual property.  In this case there is a comprehensive set of rules we follow in resolving the dispute.  CASDNS adheres to the unified ICANN/CORE Dispute Policy.

    Domain Name System. This coordinated Internet-wide system translates or maps a domain name into its IP address location using special registered machines running DNS software. The Internet maps domain names to their corresponding IP numbers. The data is then made available electronically to all computers and users on the Internet.  See also the FAQ on DNS.

    The sum of all the resources associated with a domain name.  This may consist of one or multiple web sites, email, news servers, DNS services, etc.

    Domain name
    The friendly name used to find a site on the Internet. DNS translates, or maps, your domain name along with its resources into all their respective IP address.  For more information, see our FAQ on domain names and how they work.

    Synonym for domain name.  This buzzword has recently gained wide popularity and serves to emphasize the public's association of the importance of .com (dot com) with all things Internet.

    FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name)
    Used often in reference to a DNS server.  This is full and complete domain name, such as that of a registered host. NS1.CAS-COM.NET is the FQDN of the CASDNS primary name server.

    Generic Top Level Domain.  See Top Level Domains (TLD)

    The part of your domain name following the dot is often called an extension.  In, the .NET is the extension.  It is the equivalent of and a synonym for the top level domain (TLD).

    Frequently Asked Questions.  You can visit our searchable menu of frequently asked questions on domain name registration at our Knowledge Base home page

    A short code that references and calls up the contact details of a person, a role or a name server. A contact handle contains name and complete address information, a name server handle contains the full name and IP address of the DNS server, and sometimes contact information of the server administrator.  A person may have many contact handles.  A DNS server may only have one unique handle.

    This term can be confusing as it has several meanings depending on the context.  Sometimes host refers to the hosting service at your ISP, that is the company you choose to house your web site.  Host can also mean the web host or email host, or rather, the actual computer(s) that house your web site or email along with all of their associated files.  Host is also used to refer to a DNS server. To "register a host" means to register a new DNS server, which in turn is also called a name server. The term is also used in adjective and verb form with the same distinctions.  Clear now?

    Hosting / Hosting Service
    Refers to the physical housing of a web site, email or a complete domain, and the company that provides the service.

    "HyperText Markup Language"  The standard cross-platform coding language used to write web pages.  Cross-platform means that it is universal, and can be decoded by multiple operating systems (platforms) such as Windows, MacIntosh and Unix.

    "HyperText Transfer Protocol" .  When this is placed before a URL on a browser (like Internet Explorer or Netscape) , it tells the browser that you are calling for a web site or web service using (what has become) standard protocol.  It is not part of the domain name.

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the de-facto governing body and watchdog for the Internet naming system. ICANN also coordinates the stable operation of the Internet's root servers. You can find more information and be impressed with the scope of ICANN's work and responsibilities at their web site at

    The InterNIC began as a concept for an integrated network information center that was developed by several companies in cooperation with the U.S. Government. 
    Under an agreement with the U.S. Government, Network Solutions ( NSI ) has transitioned from the use of the word "InterNIC" in connection with its products and services. InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

    For more information on the work of InterNIC, see the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) web site at

    IP address
    IP stands for Internet Protocol. The numeric address that refers to a specific machine or resource on the Internet.

    IP number
    IP stands for Internet Protocol. The IP number is a unique number consisting of four numbers (1 through 254) separated by dots. Every server that is on the Internet has a unique IP number address.  Many servers carry multiple IP numbers which correlate to specific web sites and other resources housed on that server.  Any Internet resource can be accessed by its IP number alone, without the need for its domain name (but that's not an easy way to keep things straight).  You'll find at it's Internet IP address

    Internet Service Provider. An ISP has the equipment, connectivity, and the technical know-how to act as a portal for customers to access the Internet, obtain email service, and host domains.  CASDNS is also an ISP via our in-house affiliate CAS-COM.

    Modification refers to making changes or updating information associated with a domain name record. Authorized administrators of a domain registered through CASDNS, as found on the whois, may change contacts and name server information quickly by using our modification form at  Owner, administrative and technical contacts have varying degrees of authority in the modification of domain name records.

    Name Server
    A computer that performs the mapping of domain names to their IP addresses. Name servers are also known as DNS servers and host servers.  Two name servers are required for registration of a domain name.  If you do not have name servers, you may park your domain.

    Name Service (DNS Service)
    The domain name-to-Internet Protocol (IP) number resolution is known as a Name Service or DNS service. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate name servers and have the ability provide their customers with name service when they host a domain name. CASDNS offers both primary and secondary name service on for any domain name registered through us for a nominal fee.

    A top level domain
    traditionally meant to be used for domain names registered to a network, and not used for commercial purposes.  That evolved into including names registered to ISPs (Internet Service Providers).  There is currently no enforcement regarding uses for the .net TLD, and it has become a popular alternative to .com.

    A top level domain
    traditionally meant to be used for domain names registered to non-profit institutions and organizations. Recently it has gained popularity as the extension of choice for personal or family names.  At one time an organization had to prove that it was non-profit in order to register a name in the .org TLD.  This is no longer enforced.

    The owner contact is the official owner of and highest authority for a domain name.  Usually, the owner is the same as the administrator, though in some circumstances, the owner may designate another individual to be responsible for the maintenance of a name.  Such would be the case of a corporate domain name owned by the corporation with a designated individual responsible for the decisions concerning a name.

    Registries require the use of name servers or hosts for every domain registered. In other words, every domain name has to be linked to a name server for it to be valid. Some people have not yet selected their hosting company or their name servers, so they "park" the name, or put it on hold until they are ready to use it..  CASDNS will gladly park your domain name at no cost by supplying our own DNS servers.

    Primary DNS Server
    The name server to be called upon first as the authoritative server in the mapping of a domain name to its IP address.  The primary DNS server normally transmits information at regular intervals to the secondary server or servers.  When you register a domain, the name server information is uploaded to the central root servers, which in turn refer all Internet requests for access to your domain to your specified primary name server.

    The person, organization or company that registers a domain name for their own use.  The owner of the domain name.

    The company or individual that acts on behalf of a registrant to promptly and competently effect a registration request for a domain name, and to manage authorized updates and changes to that name record thereafter.  CASDNS is an ICANN accredited registrar

    The formal and official recording of a domain name along with its authorized contacts and DNS server information.  Through registration, the registrant becomes the de-facto "owner" of the name, with full rights and authority concerning its uses so long as all obligations, such as registration and renewal fees, are met.

    Registration Fee
    Most Top Level Domain registries require an initial registration fee as well as renewal fees. Prices vary depending on the TLD from cost-free to thousands of dollars per domain. The most commonly registered and highly valued names are those registered in the .COM, .NET, and .ORG top level domains. The registration fee is $25 USD per year. It is recommended that your initial registration be for a period of two years or more, however, you may select to register for any period between one and 10 years. Renewal fees are $25 annually beginning at the time the initial registration period comes to an end. These fees are inclusive for all processing and maintenance of your domain name throughout your registration period.  You will receive no additional billing from anyone.  Period.

    You must provide a credit card number or other reasonable assurance of payment at the time you register your domain name. This requirement enhances the availability of domain names by preventing them from being tied up by persons not intending to pay for registration. 

    Part of your registration goes to your registrar to pay the costs of maintaining your domain name and providing you service and support through your registration period, the rest goes to the registry itself, and pays for the maintenance of the central databases and root servers.

    If registration or renewal fees are not paid in a timely manner, your requested name will revert to the pool of available names.

    The central database and administration for the centralized authoritative records of every domain name vis--vis ownership, contact and DNS information.  Before July, 1999, the U.S. Top Level Domain Registry for (.com .net and .org) was the responsibility of a single company by contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Beginning in July 1999, a Shared Registry System has been in place.  CASDNS has been actively registering domain names since July 1999.

    Registration for most domain names needs to be renewed based on some scheduled yearly interval. This gives the registrant and the registry an opportunity to update contact information and name registration.  This includes payment of an annual renewal fee.  In the .com .net .org registry you may renew at any time for a total period of up to ten years.

    For our purposes, we mean an additional designation applied to a domain name at the DNS level to allow a single domain name to perform multiple functions and to be mapped to multiple sites and IP addresses.  If you've used the Internet at all, you have already encountered resource identifiers such as www., mail., ftp. and others used in conjunction with a domain name.  Most of these are simply conventions, albeit well established ones.   These are not part of your domain name per se, and are not asked for when you register a name.  You can specify any identifier you want (like sales., or home., or members.) and sometimes these are called subdomains. The following resources are universally understood:

    www. to identify a world wide web site
    mail. to identify an e-mail server
    ftp. an ftp (file transfer) site
    ns. or dns. to identify a name server

    This is what is meant by resource in "Universal Resource Locator" (URL)

    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.

    Root Server
    There are 13 file servers located around the world called root servers.  Each contains the authoritative information on every domain name within every top level domain.  Of these, the "A" server in Herndon, VA, contains the master list, and replicates its information daily to the other twelve root servers. The root servers are administered by various organizations and agencies, nearly half associated with the US government.  The root servers ensure the universal name consistency and name routing that is necessary for the Internet to function.

A map showing the locations of the Internet's root servers and their administrators can be found at

Secondary DNS Server
The secondary name server acts as a backup for your primary DNS server. When you register a domain, you must supply the Fully Qualified Domain Names and IP addresses of one primary and one secondary name server, unless you are parking the domain.  You may optionally name ten additional backup secondary servers, which will be used in the order you list. 

A server is a computer, or a software package running on a computer on a network, that provides a specific kind of service (or "serves up" data) to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a "web server", or to the machine on which the software is running. A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, playing the role of many different servers to clients on the network.  Remember, the Internet is just a network.  A very large network.

SLD (Second Level Domain)

The next highest level of the hierarchy underneath the Top Level Domain. That is, the unique part of the domain name before the "dot" in .com, .net and .org.  So when you are registering a name, you are actually registering a second level domain within your chosen top level domain.

SRS (Shared Registry System)
This refers to the current system of domain name registration whereby multiple accredited domain name registrars are licensed to submit registrations into the single shared root server database.  While this has caused a bit of confusion among folks who were used to doing things the old way, the Shared Registry has markedly spurred competition and improved service in the registration of domain names. Before July, 1999, the U.S. Top Level Domain Registry for (.com .net and .org) was the responsibility of a single company by contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce.  That changed to the Shared Registry in July 1999.  CASDNS has been actively registering domain names as a registrar since July 1999.

Static IP Address
An IP address that is permanently assigned to a single machine, such as a name server or a web server.

Technical Contact
Usually, the technical contact is the person or role 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.

The owner or administrator of a domain may remove or change the technical contact at any time, and in cases of disagreement, the owner or administrator has the final word.

Most  ISPs or web hosting services have staff that are qualified and willing to act as the technical contact for your domain.  It makes sense, after all, if your hosting service needs to make changes in its server configurations where the information needs to be transmitted to the registry, your technical contact could attend to those duties without having to worry you with it.

TLD (Top Level Domain)

The highest level of the hierarchy in the Domain Name System. .COM, .NET and .ORG are all, in and of themselves, top level domains.  These are of the type known as generic top level domains, or gTLDs, and these particular TLDs are owned by the U.S. Government through the Department of Commerce.  Other US government owned (and highly restricted, as far as their use or who may register them) TLDs are .GOV (government sites), .MIL (armed services sites), and .EDU (colleges and universities).  Additional generic TLDs meant for the general public will be issued at the end of 2000 and implemented in 2001.  See our page for updated information on the new gTLDs.

Besides generic top level domains, there are also country code top level domains, known as ccTLDs.  Every country on earth has a national internet extension (top level domain) that can be registered for use in those countries. The ccTLD for the United States is .US, for Britain, .UK, for Canada, .CA.  CASDNS has compiled a complete list of ccTLDs at

There are also mixed top level domains, combining a  gTLD with a ccTLD.  Britain's, and as well as Mexico's are examples of this.

Many country code TLDs are highly restricted in their use by the national governments involved.  Others have taken on the characteristics of generic TLDs, and can be registered by anyone.  You may have seen such domain name extensions as .TO (Tonga), .CC (Cocos Islands), and the newest .WS (being marketed as "Web Site" but actually the national top level domain of Western Samoa.) 

While we do not directly register ccTLDs, CASDNS, through our registrar contacts and multilingual staff, can act as your agent in the registration of country code top level domains.  Email us at for more information.

Not long ago, "transfer" meant to change name servers on a domain, thus effectively transferring a domain from one web hosting company to another.  We now call this a domain name modification.
There are two additional meanings for transfer - the transfer of your domain name management from one registrar to another, and the transfer of ownership of a domain name from one person or organization to another, as in a sale.
CASDNS has more information and procedures on these  topics at and

Universal Resource Locator.  You can usually think of this as a web address, (which is more specifically a "web site URL"). See our discussion on resources above for a better understanding. A URL is a unique identifier.  Several web sites can have the same domain name, no two web sites can have the same URL.  For example, and  are two URLs using the same domain name but having different web addresses.  This is all programmed into DNS, and illustrates the versatility of a single domain name.

Web Host(ing)/Web Server

The server which contains your web site's pages and graphics, and all other files needed to run your web site is known as the web host or web server.  Web hosting is the housing of your web site on that server.


Whois means "Who is...?" It is the domain name search feature on the web for Top-Level Domain name registries. The whois program accesses the information databases to return information on the owner, administrator, technical contacts, and name servers for a registered name. Additionally, it will often tell the registrar company and the date the domain name was first registered. Sometimes it will return an answer like "record not found" or "the name is available."  This usually means that the name has not yet been registered. 

Since there is no longer a single unified Whois database, there can be some quirks and discrepancies in the information returned from a whois query.  We'll deal with some of these topics in our FAQ.

Together, all the records programmed into a DNS server for a domain, with all of its resources, including subdomains and mail servers, is called the zone.

Zone Contact
The zone contact is a contact used by CORE registrars as the person or role responsible for the name server that resolves your domain into its IP address. Not every registrar uses zone contacts.  Think of this person as a backup technical contact.  Ideally, this would be a member of your ISP's staff, and can be the same person as the technical contact.

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Internet Council of RegistrarsCASDNS is a full service Top Level ICANN Accredited Domain Name Registrar.  We are proud to be a member of CORE, the Internet Council of Registrars

This site is hosted by our affiliate, CAS-COM Internet Services, Inc. Comments and suggestions regarding this site should be sent to .

For more information on computer services,  visit our Computer Analytical Systems, Inc., web site at

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000  All rights reserved, CASDNS, Inc., CAS-Com, Inc., Computer Analytical Systems, Inc., 1418 S. Third St., Louisville, KY, 40208-2117, USA.