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In terms of the ownership of any domain name, why is it that a person or a company who owns a website and the technology to make the said website work has to pay "extra" money to "rent" a domain name?

Do these (domain registrar) companies offer you some kind of protection against DDOS attacks or do they own some kind of more powerful servers to relay connections towards your main server where you host a site?

And the last thing, do these companies grow/increase prices for more popular domain names and why?

Thanks in advance!

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  • I think this post belongs elsewhere - maybe superuser.com? The service you are paying for is the entry of the domain into into the (world-accepted) root nameservers and whois database. Generally you get optional DNS services added by the registrar, but most of the money is forwarded on to the owner of tld /cctld infrastructure.
    – davidgo
    Apr 18 at 19:14
  • Most of this is grossly overpriced, but as per icannwiki.org/Alternative_Roots alternative root servers did not gain critical mass and largely fail. A domain name registratiin dies not provide DoS services (if anything they enable a class of DoS's as a side effect. Domain registration does not provide any bandwidth for your website. It only provides advice as to where the service is located - eg what IP address the server is at - If you make a web request, the registrars cant even tell if you opt to use your own nameservers...
    – davidgo
    Apr 18 at 19:20
  • Even if you use their nameservers they can only sometimes (due to caching) tell what and when something was requested, but not reliably who (as requests will come from a nameserver not neccessarily related to an individual)
    – davidgo
    Apr 18 at 19:23
  • @davidgo "for is the entry of the domain into into the (world-accepted) root nameservers and whois database.". No. The root nameservers only know about TLDs, nothing further below. Also root nameservers operators do not get ANY money out of domain name registrars (ICANN has a tax on gTLDs, but no part of it goes to root nameservers) Apr 18 at 20:06
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    Domain registrars make very little money from domain registrations. The bulk of the money goes to the owner of the top level domain. See: If ICANN only charges 18¢ per domain name, why am I paying $10? Apr 18 at 20:09
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In terms of the ownership of any domain name, why is it that a person or a company who owns a website and the technology to make the said website work has to pay "extra" money to "rent" a domain name?

Simple.

Do you agree that it is good to have as a property that any single domain name exists only once, that is that there is ONE "owner" of it?

If you agree with this premise I think you can immediately go to the conclusion that to have this property you need someone to enforce it, and have a single database, which is a job of a registry. That means immediately (but still very much in a simplified explanation) that there is a database and people maintaining it. So you need "money" to pay for the servers and the people running them. It makes sense to have the people using that service, those registering domain names, to pay for it. This is a technical standpoint. Domains do not work out of thin air, there is the registration part (database above, communications to it, etc.) and the publication part (hence DNS servers running 100% of the time to have the domain resolving, etc.)

Of course, some could argue that all of this becomes moot if everything is on the blockchain except that 1) this is not how the DNS works today and 2) the blockchain still needs servers and people running them (so if you look at example such as Ethereum Naming Service you will see that domains are not free either, even on the blockchain).

Alternative roots show exactly why the problem is not just technical. Technically it is trivial to have another root. This is the easy part. The hard part, is non technical. Why this alternative root would be any better than current one? You can list a lot of problems with current one, but alternative roots never proved their solution provided something with less problems, they are just different. Internet works in many parts, like routing with BGP or resolution with DNS, by separate people agreeing on some common rules and protocols. The world agreed in the past, in some way, to have Jon Postel run the DNS and then later IANA/ICANN. Of course when you see today ICANN's budget and how it grows, you can start to be very reluctant on the idea of paying for a domain name, but thinking that just changing the root changes everything is at best naive.

Do these (domain registrar) companies offer you some kind of protection against DDOS attacks or do they own some kind of more powerful servers to relay connections towards your main server where you host a site?

So this has nothing to do with the descriptions above, you are speaking here about a DNS/Web hosting, where registrars do not provide this service for just their job of domain name registration (they can provide other services of course, but they are separate jobs; being a registrar just means being connected to a registry and send it commands to register domain names and maintain them over time). Historically registries were selling directly to customers (ex: Network Solutions in the eighties and beginning of nineties was the sole seller of .com/.net/.org domains, $70 for 2 years), but then it was seen as a monopoly so for competitive reasons the model was broken to a registry maintaining the central database (see above why that needs to exist) selling names to "a few" registrars that in turn sells to end customers. This is hugely oversimplified of course.

And the last thing, do these companies grow/increase prices for more popular domain names and why?

Pricing is completely in the hand of registries indeed, and even ICANN (for gTLDs) does not impose restrictions on that, except to announce changes to registrars. So you can see everything, some TLDs where prices increase each year or almost each year (see .com/.net), some TLDs where it even goes down sometimes (some registries, in ccTLDs, are non profit organizations so they are bound to have a balanced finance at the end of the day, excess of money can be thrown to foundations or increase salaries, or domain names cost can be lowered), etc.

Also you need to define "more popular". But registries are free to maintain list of "premium" names and offer them at an higher price to registrars, which then forward this to end customers. This is however set before the domain is bought, the price is not expected to change after (you can find exceptions, and also renewal price is sometimes the same as creation price for premiums, sometimes regular price, it varies).

You will find a lot of places where it is argued that a domain name is just a line in the database, hence inferring that it should cost $0.10 or something, specially at volume. This is VERY shortsighted and often in response to another thing difficult to fathom, which is registries with more domains but costs growing (where normally you can achieve cost reductions by scale). But registries, especially in gTLDs, are not charities. As any other company in a capitalist based economy, their sole goal is first to persist and second to please their investors.

Note also that prices are often used (you are free to agree if that works or not) to deter captive registrations that is people registering names just to resell them. This is why when gTLDs start there is often but not always an EAP or Early Availability Phase where everyone is entitled to register a name (contrary to the sunrise phase before you need to have a trademark for example to be able to register a name) but the prices are far bigger than regular ones, for 5 to 7 days. Regular price can be $10 while first day of EAP the same name can be sold for $10000 for example.

So depending on your views you can find prices either far too big or even too low, and I won't enter this subject, except by giving just 2 views to take into account: 1) price is not value (hence the second market where prices are not correlated to the price paid at registry or registrar), and 2) a domain name is not just one line in a database (it is not a one time action, it is an ongoing service, the registry authoritative nameservers have to publish the name continuously, respond to queries, sustain DDOS attacks, etc.), not even taking into account the legal part, for example, or support.

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  • In terms of popular I meant, short and very catchy names that would be used my hundreds or even thousands of users each day. E.g. Apple, Pear, Pi, etc... I looked for a domain name a few years ago and they (except apple, since they own all the derivatives of the said name) were costing a lot of money (talking about thousands and thousands of dollars/year) Apr 18 at 20:22
  • @AliSadykov The problem, which I tried to detail but not too much, is that you have registries and registrars. registries can maintain list of premium names. Those lists are often not public, but registrars have them or can find out if a domain is premium or not. Registries fix whatever price they want for whatever name, and then registrars add whatever margin they want on top of this. Then you have also resellers of registrars. Saying "I saw once a domain costing a lot of site X" is very much empty of details, so hard to have any conclusion just with this simple "observation". Apr 18 at 20:23
  • @AliSadykov Also it is not even clear if you are speaking about a domain free or already registered. Domains not registered yet are bound by the prices of registry (single) and registrars (multiple) and their resellers (multiple of multiple). But if the domain name is currently registered, the current owner is free to offer it to buy by anyone else... and its owner can ask for any price it wants if he finds a buyer for it. That is the second market. See domainnamewire.com/2021/04/15/… just for one latest example. Apr 18 at 20:26
  • aah okay. I think now I get the difference between the two (registries and registrars haha). By the way, is it possible to rent a TLD from ICANN directly so to avoid paying more than you should? Thanks again for your answer! Apr 18 at 20:28
  • "By the way, is it possible to rent a TLD from ICANN directly". No, to summarize. If you are not a country, there are only gTLDs. ICANN opened them in 2012, around 1500 new ones were created then. The process is complicated, long, and costly. The sole fee to just apply for a string (without guarantee of having it) was $185000. It is expected this process will open again "soon", for any interested parties. Do not expect the fee to be less than before. Also it is open only to moral entities, not individuals. Apr 18 at 21:34

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