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What Does ICANN Stand For

ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

It was created in 1998 as a non-profit organization that could oversee management of the internet.

Prior to ICANN, the US government had to contract out that responsibility to multiple different sources. ICANN allowed all of that work to be done in a single place without the government having to be directly involved.

One of ICANN’s primary responsibilities is operating the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA.

The IANA manages the assigning and use of IP addresses and domain names on the internet.

An IP address is a short code of numbers that always people to determine where information is being sent from, and how it got to a certain place. Domain names take each web sites IP address and converts the number into words that are easier for people to process.

The way that ICANN controls domain names is by accrediting Domain Name Registrars. There are now over 500 Domain Name Registrars in the world, the most popular of which include GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and Enom.

These Domain Name Registrars pay a fee to ICANN for the right to sell domain names, plus a small fee on each transaction with a client that wants to register a domain name.

ICANN is also vital in controlling “top level domains” which is the highest part of the domain name structure. Top level domains are divided into three categories.

The first category is the country code. Each country is given a two-letter domain code. For example, France is .fr, England is .uk, and russia is .ru

The second category is for what is known as generic top level domains such as .com, .net, .org, .gov, and .mil

The third category is sponsored top level domains, which are a recent invention, that are used by private companies that follow specific ICANN guidelines.

There is some controversy over a US-based entity having so much control over something as powerful as the internet. A move was made in 2008 to bring ICANN under the control of the United Nations, but it failed to gain popularity.

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