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Best Practices Guidelines for ccTLD Managers (1st Draft) Presented by CENTR

24 February 2000

Best Practice Guidelines for ccTLD Managers

1st Draft

This document is the first draft for comment of the CENTR Best Practice Guidelines for ccTLD Managers. Comments are invited to It is intended that the document will be finalised in March 2000.

[Note: Comments intended for ICANN on this document should be made on the ICANN Public Comment Forum on ccTLD Issues.]


Whilst recognising that existing managers of ccTLD registries do not necessarily fully conform to best practice, most of the ccTLD Manager community is committed to work towards compliance.


The Domain Name System structure contains a hierarchy of names. The root, or highest level, of the system is unnamed. Top Level Domains (TLDs) are divided into classes, ccTLDs and gTLDs, based on rules that have evolved over time. ccTLDs - country code Top Level Domains - are associated with countries and territories. gTLDs are (with some exceptions) generic and global in nature.

To date, ccTLDs have been assigned to countries and territories using the ISO-3166-1 list, on the basis that ISO has a procedure for determining which entities should be and should not be on that list. For more information about the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, please see the following web page:

Historically, the management of ccTLD Registries was delegated by IANA to the existing ccTLD Managers, under the guidelines published in RFC 1591 and ICP-1. A list of current TLD assignments and names of the ccTLD Managers can be accessed at

A ccTLD Manager's authority comes from serving the Local Internet Community and from the affirmation by the Local Internet Community of that authority. The Local Internet Community, including governmental and other authorities, has a responsibility to support and protect the ccTLD Registry, and to assist the ccTLD Manager serve the that community.

1. Objectives of this document

To set out areas to be addressed in creating Best Practice Guidelines for ccTLD Managers.

2. Definitions

ccTLD - A country code top level domain in the top level of the global domain name system, assigned according to the two-letter codes in the ISO 3166-1 standard codes for the representation of names of countries or territories.

ccTLD Registry - The entity which records names as domain names in a register of domain names for the country-code top level domain name, according to policies and rules, and following procedures, established with the Local Internet Community (see below).

ccTLD Manager - A company, organisation or individual managing a ccTLD Registry.

Registrant - A company, organisation or individual for whom a name has been registered as a domain name in the ccTLD domain name register.

ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (Incorporated into ICANN in 1999).

Local Internet Community - The Internet industry and users and the government and authorities of the state or territory with which the ccTLD is associated. The definition of the Local Internet Community may vary from one country/territory to another, and is essentially a matter for the community in the country/territory. The definition of the Local Internet Community must be documented, available for public inspection, and transparent to the local community.

3. Best Practice

3.1 Duty of ccTLD Manager

The primary duty of the ccTLD Manager is one of Public Service, and to manage and operate the ccTLD Registry in the interest of and in consultation with the Local Internet Community.

ccTLD Managers are entrusted with the management of the TLD Registry. Concerns about intellectual or other property rights in names registered as domain names or as part of domain names are outside the remit of the ccTLD Manager.

No intellectual or other property rights in the 2-character code accrue to a ccTLD Manager as a result of the act of delegation of the responsibility for a ccTLD Registry. ccTLD Managers may have rights to the intellectual and other property developed by them as a by-product of managing the ccTLD Registry, subsequent to the delegation of such responsibility.

3.2 Registration of Domain Names

ccTLD Managers:

    • must register domain names in an efficient and timely manner, following policies rules and procedures that have been established and published in a transparent manner in consultation with the Local Internet Community.
    • must collect the necessary information to ensure that the Registrant can be authoritatively identified.
    • should have a standard contract with Registrants.
    • should recognise that some of the functions of the registry may be considered to be a monopoly and should not abuse its special position.

3.3 Registrant Policies

The ccTLD Manager must be equitable and fair to all eligible registrants that request domain names. Policies defining which organisations, businesses, individuals, etc.. are eligible to register domain names under the 2-character ccTLD must be defined by the ccTLD Manager in consultation with the Local Internet Community. Specifically, the registration of domain names should be based on objective criteria that are transparent and non-discriminatory. Policies and procedures may vary from country to due to local customs, cultural values, local policies and objectives, law and regulations. The definition must be documented, available for public inspection, and transparent to the Local Internet Community.

3.4 Location

The ccTLD Manager, in consultation with and unless agreed otherwise with the Local Internet Community, and consistent with the requirement to best serve the interests of the Local Internet Community, should be resident in the territory of the ccTLD and, if the ccTLD Manager is a corporation, the ccTLD Manager should be incorporated there.

3.5 Technical Requirements

The ccTLD Manager supervises the process of registration of domain names in the registry of the ccTLD, and supervises the operation of the domain name servers and the maintenance of the appropriate zone files for the ccTLD. There must be permanent (24-hours per day) Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity to the name servers and the registry servers. There should be published e-mail and web address contacts, and these should be permanently accessible.

The ccTLD Manager must do a satisfactory job of supervising the operation of the DNS service for the TLD. Duties such as the assignment of domain names, delegation of sub-domains and operation of name servers must be done with technical competence. This includes keeping the IANA or other higher-level domain manager advised of the status of the domain, responding to requests in a timely manner, and operating the database with accuracy, robustness, and resilience. (See RFC 1591 and ICP 1).

3.6 Changes to Information in the Register Database of IANA (other than a change of ccTLD Manager)

The ccTLD Manager must inform IANA, in a timely manner, of changes to the information that is maintained in IANA's register database. Notification of changes must be authorised by the Contact Person as specified in the register database. Changes to the Contact Person must be by an authorised member of the board or executive of the ccTLD Manager. (Changes to the ccTLD Manager are outside the scope of the Best Practices document).

3.7 Financial Basis of ccTLD Manager Operations

ccTLD Managers should operate on a cost effective, cost recovery, basis, unless otherwise explicitly agreed with the Local Internet Community.

3.8 Subcontracting of Operations

Unless otherwise agreed with the Local Internet Community, a ccTLD Manager may contract out any or all of the operation and administration of a ccTLD Registry, provided that the ccTLD Manager contractually obliges the sub-contractor to comply with the requirements of this and any other documents setting down best practice for ccTLD Managers.

3.9 Data Security

ccTLD Managers must ensure that all Registry data is secured against damage or loss.

3.10 Domain Name Dispute Resolution

ccTLD Managers should define and publish their domain name dispute resolution policies and procedures, in consultation with the Local Internet Community.

Mechanisms should be established by the ccTLD Manager to handle fairly and independently any such disputes arising between registrants, or other parties, and the ccTLD Manager. Making judgements in relation to disputes arising between third parties and domain name registrants are outside the remit of the ccTLD Manager.

4. Governing Law

ccTLD Managers will operate under the law of the country or territory where they are located.

The relationship between Registrants and the ccTLD Manager (whether by explicit contract or otherwise) must be governed by the law of the country or territory of the ccTLD.

5. Changes to this Best Practice Guidelines Document

When agreed by the CENTR members, this document may be updated or amended by the decision of a majority of the CENTR members.

When this document is finalised, CENTR will invite other organisations representing the interests of ccTLD Managers to adopt it. This document may subsequently be updated or amended by a decision of the majority of the ccTLD Managers who are members of the organisations which have adopted these Best Practice Guideline for ccTLD Managers.


This document has been based on a variety of sources, including:

  • The draft document presented and discussed the CENTR General Assembly meeting in Malta in February 2000.
  • The discussions at the special CENTR meeting on Best Practice for ccTLDs, held in Frankfurt, on Friday, 7 January 2000, and feedback from that meeting.
  • Fay Howard's document "Issues to be addressed in defining ccTLD Best Practice" prepared for the CENTR General Assembly meeting in Pisa in December 1999.
  • Marcel Schneider's document "Proposal for Best Practice for ccTLD registries (Code of Conduct)" version 1.2 dated 21 October 1999.
  • IANA's RFC 1591
  • IANA's ICP-1
  • The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) document "Principles for the Delegation and Management of Country Code Top Level Domains", DRAFT - 1 November 1999 - Distributed at ICANN GAC Meeting, Los Angeles.

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