Why can’t you jusr register a domain name yourself?

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It’s one of the things I still just can’t get my head around:

Why do you need to yearly pay a company to have them register your domain name? Why couldn’t you do it yourself, like all the other things you do to build a website?

In: 6

You can. But you need to register with a domain registrar, because they own the connection, kind of like an ISP for domains.

The way the Domain Name System works, people who want to look up a domain name will ask a DNS server what IP address corresponds to a certain domain. You can run your DNS server yourself or let someone else do it, just like web hosting. But how will people know which DNS server to ask about *your* domain?

In any system where you want to let someone claim a unique name, you’ll need some kind of authority for deciding what name belongs to whom. What we did is create an organization that sets the broad rules, ICANN, and it approves a registry that runs each top-level domain, like Verisign is runs `.com` for example. Then through Verisign or Verisign-approved registrars, you can register a `.com` domain. The registrars deal with low-level issues like billing specific customers, and they compete to offer services at lower prices, while Verisign sets policies they have to follow. What registering a domain does is let you add your DNS servers as authoritative, so that if anyone wants to know where your domain really points to, they’ll know to ask your servers.

You’re welcome to apply to Verisign or whatever registry operator to be approved to be a registrar, it’ll be expensive though. Big companies with lots of websites do that sometimes, Google for example. In fact Google asked ICANN to create a `.google` domain, too, and it is the registry operator for that.

Because the register is maintained by a global organization, so youd need to file the documentation with them to protect your copyright and such. At that point, youve essentially got a p2p server with an ip and its domain on a public record, but your individual computer cant handle any kind of domain traffic, which is what those companies exist to handle. Remember, the internet isnt just out there in the ether, its connecting to servers and data transferral processes across millions of miles of infrastructure before it gets to your router and after it leaves.

Short and simplified answer is because domains are pretty much the only part of internet that’s centralized, there is an organization called ICANN that maintains them, and while you can have your own DNS server (like telephone book for domains), it generally either copies things from other places or refers to them, and what domain is for what ip is dictated in a centralized way.

Technically, there might be some ways to do domains that don’t rely on this, but the system we use (or is most popular,) works like that, and while you can use those less popular ways, most other people won’t use them and so they can’t access your place.

That’s why you need to pay to have things registered, you can also technically pay to make your own domain suffix, but it would cost much more.

When you type in future-escapist.com your browser asks some companies that own the domain system, “who is future-escapist.com”? If you want to own future-escapist.com you have to pay one of those companies to put your website in their database.