What is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)?

Ever looked at the Internet (complete with memes, cat pictures, websites, and domains names) and wondered “how is this possible” or “who is running the show?” The answer, at least in part, is ICANN.

ICANN is the non-profit organization that maintains and oversees the domain name system, or DNS for short. ICANN accredits both registries (companies that run top-level domains, like .com, .org, or .design) and registrars (companies that sell domain names to customers, like yourself) as responsible operators of the DNS. One of ICANN’s core objectives is to maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet, which it does by developing policies for registries and registrars to follow. You can find out more about ICANN by visiting ICANN.org. In the meantime, here’s a quick cheat sheet about what ICANN is and isn’t.

ICANN is not: a law enforcement agency, a content regulator for websites, a government organization,  or the monster responsible for spam

ICANN is: a multi-stakeholder non-profit that develops Internet policies and technical protocols.

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