Category: Domains

How Domains Really Work

At its core, a domain name is a string of characters that serves as a human-readable alias for an IP address. It provides a user-friendly way to access resources on the internet. For instance, the domain name corresponds to the IP address where the associated web server is hosted. More casually, think of a domain name as the virtual equivalent of a street address. It’s the keyword that users type into their web browsers to navigate to a specific website. 

Currently, there are three widely recognized types of domain extensions, also known as top-level domains (TLDs):

  • gTLD (Generic Top Level Domain): These represent the original five TLDs introduced to the public: .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ. It’s worth noting that the first TLD created was technically .arpa, but it was reserved for technical infrastructure and not utilized by the general public.
  • ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain): These TLDs indicate specific geographical locations, such as .UK for the United Kingdom, .DE for Germany, and .BE for Belgium. Their purpose is to enhance the connection with local audiences. Importantly, the use of ccTLDs does not restrict international users from accessing the associated websites.
  • New gTLD (New Generic Top Level Domain): These are essentially extensions of the gTLD category, sharing the same registration, management, and administrative rules. However, new gTLDs often feature innovative and specialized extensions like .BET, .CASINO, and .GAMES, catering to specific industries or interests.
Here’s the important part

It’s important to understand that domain names come on a first-come, first-served basis and are never truly owned. When you register a domain, you effectively become its caretaker for a specific period, usually marked by expiration dates. 

Once that time runs out, the domain name expires (usually, it comes with the domain’s disconnection from the connected services, such as DNS, email, web hosting server, etc.). If the registrant does not renew the domain by paying the renewal fee, it will eventually be deleted by the Registry and released into the public pool for new registrations. 

In the domain industry, domain registries and domain registrars are the primary facilitators of domain usage for the general public. Despite their interconnected roles, they differ significantly, each contributing distinct functionalities to the domain ecosystem. 

Let’s examine their roles individually.

Domain registries (architects of the DNS hierarchy)

They wield authority over specific top-level domains (TLDs) within the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. They operate under the rules & policies of organizations like ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), overseeing the management and governance of TLDs.

Behind the scenes, domain registries maintain master databases containing authoritative records of all registered domain names within their area of responsibility. These databases adhere to the DNS protocol, facilitating the resolution of domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. Domain registries execute essential functions, including domain name registration, renewal, deletion, and maintenance of WHOIS data. However, domain registries don’t interact directly with individual website owners. Instead, they work through intermediaries known as domain registrars.

Domain registrar (the person in the middle)

Domain registrars serve as intermediaries between domain registries and domain holders, enabling domain registration and management services. Accredited by domain registries, registrars operate in the domain resale market, offering a suite of services to individuals and organizations seeking to acquire and maintain domain names.

Here’s how it works: You search for an available domain name using a registrar’s website, select the desired TLD, and proceed with registration. The registrar then submits your registration request to the corresponding domain registry. Once approved, your chosen domain name becomes officially registered to you, provided you fulfill any registration requirements and pay the associated fees.

Registrars offer a range of additional services, such as domain privacy protection, DNS management, and email hosting, to enhance the domain ownership experience. They also handle domain renewals, transfers, and other administrative tasks throughout the lifespan of your domain.

Last but not least, the domain registrant

They can be called different names: holder, owner, etc., so it could be you if you read this.
But in essence, the domain registrant is a person (or company) who registers and manages the domain name through a registrar company. 

As we conclude our exploration of how domains really work, it becomes evident that domain names are not just strings of characters but essential components of the Internet’s infrastructure. They serve as virtual addresses, guiding users to their desired destinations with ease.

In a world driven by connectivity and innovation, mastering the nuances of domain management opens doors to endless possibilities, shaping the online experiences of millions worldwide. So whether you are a seasoned IT veteran or a curious new user, it is crucial to remember that domains are not just about navigating the web but navigating the future of digital interaction 


Oleksii Haltsev is an experienced IT services industry professional and holds a Master’s degree in International Economics from the International Slavonic University in Kharkiv. Oleksii is our lead product owner at Okens Domains.

The Perils of Cybersquatting and What You Can Do About It

You may have been reading a lot about cybersquatting in the news recently. And that is because you are. 

Cybersquatting has been on the rise in the first quarter of 2024. Some of the most recent cybersquatting cases prove there are winners and losers, but the one thing they have in common is how easy it is to cybersquat with a domain.

In the winners’ corner, design tools company Canva won a single cybersquatting case against 174 domain names. The company filed the dispute with WIPO in July 2023 and WIPO published its decision in favor of Canva in February 2024. 

In the losers’ corner, Mermet S.A.S., part of the Hunter Douglas company, lost two cybersquatting claims. The windows covering company filed disputes against and, both owned by Didier Mermet. In this decision, the panelist said the domain owner, Didier Mermet, has rights or legitimate interests in the domain, and he didn’t register it in bad faith. 

A high-profile cybersquatting with Google involved a cyber squatter who registered the domain name “ 

Cybersquatting is something that domain managers probably don’t think about since they are typically managing dozens, if not hundreds, of domains. When you are in the trenches of domain renewals and ensuring that all your domains are covered, cybersquatting might not be at the top of your to-do list. 

So what do you do when a company or person is cybersquatting on the domain name that’s your trademarked business name? Short of litigation under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) or using an international arbitration system from ICANN, there is one crucial thing you can do: create a domain strategy around your brand. Yes, this includes registering and trademarking your domain (let’s assume you have already trademarked your brand name). 

Use a trusted domain registrar (like Okens) to secure the domain names relevant to your brand or business. Consider registering your domains for more extended periods than the standard year. If you don’t want to manage this, no worries; Okens does auto-renew and can manage all your domain renewals and just renew for you.  

It’s also a good idea to consider registering any trademarks related to the domain to establish legal rights for your brand.

You can also consider registering common misspellings of your domain. Of course, registering all of them isn’t cost-effective, but if you have a strong domain strategy, you can purchase the most common misspellings in your domain before anyone else does. 

This may sound easy, but think about how to engage employees. You can train employees who manage your domains and create a domain management playbook. However, training internal people to manage your domains can be challenging if they don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of the domain industry. This is precisely why so many companies trust Okens. We see many brands reach out to us before their brand launches to lock down the right strategy to secure their digital brand. We can prepare a domain gap analysis that will let you and your team create the best domain management playbook.

As always, be smart about your domain. It’s the most critical digital asset at the heart of your brand. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, give me a call or send an email, and I will show you the Okens Gap analysis tool that will help you defend your digital territory and avoid cybersquatting.


Greta Simanauskiene is the global Account Manager for Okens Domains. She speaks on the importance of managing domains strategically. She can assess and encapsulate the challenges facing operators and affiliates to help them strategically manage their domains to protect their brands. She has extensive experience with inside and outside sales, business development, and marketing. Most recently, she penned an article on her views from igaming Europe for OI. Greta can speak on domain strategy, brand protection, domain registration, domain privacy, industry insight, the igaming market, and domain asset management.

Photo by Matilda Wormwood


The Real, Real – How Domains Work

Hey there! As part of our “How to” series, we want to take a closer look at something we all use daily but might take for granted: how domains actually work.

A domain name is like the address of your website that people type into their browser’s address bar. It’s much easier to remember for us humans than a numerical IP address. When you type in a domain name, it sends a request to a global network of servers called the Domain Name System (DNS). These servers work their magic and direct you to the right place where the domain is hosted.

Domains are divided into two main categories: generic top-level domains (gTLD) and new top-level domains (new gTLD). These categories help keep domains organized and make managing and finding them easier.

Generic top-level domains

The generic top-level domains (gTLDs) or new gTLDs are generic domain extensions listed at the highest level in the domain name system. Hundreds of gTLDs are available, but the most popular ones are .com, .org, .net, .biz, and .info. Others pertain to specific sectors such as .bet or .casino.

One of the primary differences between gTLDs and other TLDs (such as ccTLDs) is that they are the easiest to register and maintain. Anyone, anywhere, can register and manage a gTLD. This makes them a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike who want to establish a strong online presence quickly and easily.

Country Code Top Level Domain

Country code top-level domains, or ccTLDs, are domain names specific to a country. They end with country code extensions such as .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, and .au for Australia. Websites use them to target audiences in a particular country. 

Most ccTLDs worldwide are governed by their respective local governments and have specific requirements for registration. For instance, TLDs like.NO, .CA, .AU requires a local presence. To register any of these TLDs, you must be Norwegian, Canadian, or Australian. 

In some cases, such as.IT, .EU, .FR, ccTLDs have EU-presence requirements. 

In extreme cases, such as.COM.BR, the registry may require a notarially certified document for registration or subsequent actions such as transfer to another registrar company.

Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD

Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are a valuable category of TLDs, with a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension. They are ideal for industries or communities that need a dedicated online presence and aim to differentiate themselves from the rest of the web. 

One of the key benefits of an sTLD is that it is regulated by the sponsor, which enables them to maintain control over the domain extension and ensure that it serves the community’s needs. For instance, .apple is governed and managed by the Apple corporation, which ensures that the domain extension aligns with the company’s values and goals. Similarly, .ORG is sponsored by the Public Interest Registry (PIR), a non-profit organization that operates in the public interest.

Domain registries manage all top-level domains (except sponsored TLDs). There are numerous registries for global domains like .com managed by organizations such as ICANN and country-specific or community/vertical-specific registries. 

These registries then enter agreements with registrars like Okens to sell domain names to users worldwide. A registrar like Okens will typically manage the domain on your behalf, dealing with records, renewals, transfers, etc., while providing guidance and expertise on confidentiality and privacy.

At Okens, we take pride in our global reach, working with registries worldwide and many community-led TLD registries. This allows us to assist you globally and provide the most vertical/community-specific TLDs. 

Our focus on B2B means that we aim to provide you with the best possible service by offering advice and help from a human representative, ensuring that your needs are met with the best care and attention.

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