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I may not have the right company in my question. But how do I know if a TLD is "sanctioned" by ICANN? I read that if I buy a TLD, it is possible it is not in all the DNS servers.

For example, how would I know .academy or .pro or something else like that is available for most clients?

  • In what context do you need to do this check? Be wary of consequences as you can either do a live check, or base yourself on some local list. But have a look at the Universal Acceptance initiative (uasg.tech) and specifically this document: uasg.tech/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/… (page 4) – Patrick Mevzek Apr 10 '18 at 17:24
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There is one single official list, it is here: http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db

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In order for a top level domain to be detected anywhere it needs to have been established and approved by ICANN with an appropriate registry (such as VeriSign for .com and .net TLD's).

Using your specific examples a quick check of .academy finds that it is a valid and accredited TLD managed by Donuts and .pro is approved and accredited and hosted by Registry Services Corporation.

Examples of a psuedo TLD that don't work without something special being done is the .onion TLD which only works if you have TOR installed on a computer. Basically if you can connect to the TLD from your computer and you haven't done anything special to your DNS server to make it work then it should work for any clients, and for a registrar to sell a domain name on a TLD the TLD needs to exist and be accredited.

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