There are many terminologies in the domain name industry. For better understanding of the industry, we have put together an explanation of the basic domain name terminologies.

Administrative Contact: Person or organization authorized by the registrant to make changes to the domain name details.

The African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) and a not-for profit membership organisation responsible for the administration and management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses in the Africa Region.

Africa Top Level Domain (AFTLD), the association of African ccTLDs, is a non-profit organisation of domain registry operators in Africa for unity and co-operation.

Billing Contact: Person or organization that is invoiced for the domain name registration and/or renewals.

ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domain is TLD assigned to countries derived from their two letter representation. Nigeria is .ng ccTLD.

Domain Name (i.e. is the user friendly name (memorable for humans) associated with an Internet resource, assigned to an IP address. This name can only be approved and administered by an approved authority, i.e., .ng Registry. Sub-domain(s) and email address (es) can be created, using it as a suffix.

Domain Name System is the networking system that helps users find their way around the Internet; assigns web addresses (string of letters/characters) to be used in place of the IP addresses.

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is simply domain names created with native language characters.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an international organisation, not-for-profit that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management and root server system management functions.

Name Server is a specialized server on the Internet that handles queries or questions, by various programs and other name servers, that converts domain names to IP Addresses.

NiRA Dispute Resolution Policy (NDRP) derived from ICANN UDRP and composed to benefit the Nigerian domain industry.

NiRA Policy Development Process (PDP): process by which NiRA develops policies, which is available for all stakeholders to make contributions.

Queries per Second (QPS), is the unit of measurement used to know how many queries a DNS server receives.

Redemption Grace Period (RGP) is the period after the expiry date of the domain name when the registrant is given extra days to be able to renew the domain name. In some cases the domain name is rendered inactive but unavailable to be taken by another registrant and it may also be active till end of the period but the number of days taken from the period is counted into duration renewed for. For the NiRA domain life cycle, click on

Registrant is the owner of one or more domain name(s).

Registrar is the person or organization through whose platform the registrant registers the domain names.

Registry is the organisation managing and administering the TLD/ccTLD/gTLD. The authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each TLD. NiRA is the Registry for the .ng ccTLD.

Registry Lock is a security measure that protects a domain from attacks like DNS hijacking. The domain is locked at the registry level so series of processes and verification of proper authorized contact for the domain name would be required to access/modify anything.

Reseller is a third party who offers domain name registration services through a registrar.

Root Servers is simply the network of servers stationed at various locations for quick and easy data access; they contain the IP Addresses of all TLDs registry organisations (gTLDs and ccTLDs) worldwide.  There are 13 named server authorities and these are the authoritative servers of the DNS root zone.

Secondary DNS Server is the slave of the primary DNS server. It stores/contains the same information/data of the zone file on the primary DNS server but as a read only copy. It offers back-up service for the master, the primary DNS server and shares in its workload.

Single Point of Failure (SPOF) indicates that a domain has and depends on only network or a service provider to handle all its DNS. This is only suitable for low-traffic domains but very unsuitable for high traffic as it is most likely to deter its uptime rate.

Start of Authority (SOA) Record is the first record created in a zone file. It contains the serial number and how name servers get the information.

Technical Contact: Person or organization that maintains the domain name registrant’s primary name server.

Thick/Thin Registry is about quantum of information displayed on Whois for a domain name. A Thick Registry displays registrant information, administrative and technical contacts, registrar, registration/expiry dates, registration status, delegated name servers. A Thin Registry displays less information limiting it to registration status, registration/expiry date, registrar and the name servers. NiRA runs a Thick Registry.

Time To Live (TTL) is time specified for a server to cache DNS information to stay in the cache before it leaves it. This duration is set by the domain owner.

TLD: Top Level Domain, is the last label of a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), being the highest domain level in DNS. Administrators of TLDs control names which are registered at the second level in that TLD.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a collection of protocols used to connect devices/machines to the internet or local networks. This carries out error-checking and also serves packet orderly.

Unicast Name Server is a name server with one network destination.

Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is an ICANN policy for resolution of disputes on the registration of domain names.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a collection of protocols used to connect to the Internet using applications. This is a faster protocol than TCP as it doesn’t carry out error-checking but serves packet data in order.

Whois is used to search for domain name availability and domain name information. It can show the time the domain was registered, who registered it, expiry date, name servers used and security status. is NiRA’s whois search engine.

Whois Accuracy Program (WAP) is a verification program that will demand that the registrant details be proved authentic and not responding/verifying the details within the given time will lead to DNS suspension until fully verified.

Whois Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) is a reminder to registrants that providing false information in the Whois record can lead to cancellation of their domain name registration. On discovery of false or inexistent details especially contact details the WAP process is triggered.

Zone File is a file that contains the information of services under a domain name like e-mail, website, servers responsible for the services and subdomains.

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