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Afnic Lexicon

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Definition of terms and abbreviations used on website




Non-profit organisation responsible for allocating and managing lists of IP addresses for the Africa. AFRINIC is one of five regional internet centres or “Regional Internet Registries” (RIR) providing the administrative and technical coordination for addressing and routing functions through the network (allocation of IP addresses, AS numbers).



Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures (ADR)

“Alternative Dispute Resolution” procedures are an out of court method available to those who consider that a third party has violated their rights by filing a domain name and/or is using in a way that is detrimental to them.

There are several procedures each managed by a different authority.



Asia Pacific Network Information Center

Non-profit organisation in charge of IP resources for Asia and the Pacific .

APNIC is one of five regional internet centres, or “Regional Internet Registries” (RIR) in the world. It provides the administrative and technical coordination for addressing and routing functions through the network (allocation of IP addresses, AS numbers).




American Registry for Internet Numbers

Non-profit organisation responsible for allocating and managing lists of IP addresses for the North America areas and much of Africa. ARIN is one of five regional internet centres or “Regional Internet Registries” (RIR) providing the administrative and technical coordination for addressing and routing functions through the network (allocation of IP addresses, AS numbers).




Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork

Developed during 1960s and 1970s by the Department of Defense of the U.S. government, ARPANET was the first network based on the principle of packet forwarding, i.e. segments of information identified by a unique header that can be transmitted independently of each other along any one of several routes from the sender to the recipient. It is the predecessor of the Internet as we know it today.



Usually a broadband network interconnecting several subnets and constituting an important transit point in a network.

Synonyms: “backbone network”, “network backbone”.



French acronym for a Registrar (Bureau d’Enregistrement).



Berkeley Internet Name Domain or Berkeley Internet Name Daemon

Name of free software most commonly used for the implementation of DNS protocols. BIND consists of three parts: a domain name server, a client capable of querying other DNS servers, and technical testing tools.



country code Names Supporting Organization

Consultative Assembly of the ICANN composed of the registries for the first level geographical domain (ccTLDs).

The purpose of the ccNSO is to develop and propose to the Board of ICANN a common management policy tailored to the needs of the ccTLDs.



country code Top Level Domain

Around 250 ccTLD have been determined using the ISO 3166 two-letter country codes.

Examples: .fr for France, .jp for Japan, .de for Germany, etc.

See also: Top level Domain (TLD) and generic Top Level Domain or gTLD.



Council of European National Top-level Domain Registries

Founded in 1998, the CENTR brings together a number of NICs (mainly from Europe) who want to discuss the issues involved in their profession as “ccTLD registries”. The organisation acts as their representative and attempts to define a common position.



Electronic document which certifies that its owner has recently been subject to a procedure to verify its identity. A certificate is valid for a limited period and is regularly renewed.



Small text files generated by a web server when a website is visited, which are stored in the working folders of the Web browser. They are used to keep track of the visits to a website or to keep the user’s custom display settings from one session to another.



Action which consists in the abusive registration of a domain name, when the registered name is that of a well-known brand name, or a recognised company, etc., over which the applicant has no right. The purposes of thesefraudulent registrations are of several kinds:

  • to sell or negotiate the sale of the domain name to the brand or legitimate company
  • to prevent the brand or the legitimate company from accessing the domain name;
  • to harm the image of the brand or the legitimate company, for example by using the domain name for a pornographic website;
  • to benefit from the notoriety of the domain name to attract traffic to the website by using it.


Diacritic (sign)

Sign (accent, cedilla, apostrophe, etc.) on a letter, or a phonetic sign, used to change its value. For domain names with diacritic signs you can read our page dedicated to IDNs.


Distributed Denial of Service (dDoS)

Attacks are an elaborate form of DoS that involve thousands of computers generally as part of a botnet or robot network: a network of zombie computers that the attacker commandeers from their unwitting owners by spreading malware from one machine to another.



Domain Name System (or Service):

Distributed database used to register Internet resources (computer, router, etc.) as a domain name (e.g. and to allocate them an IP address.

This address is returned to the browser in response to a connection request by the domain name.

Image Arborescence DNS


DNS or name server (NS)

Server used to host the software and data required to map IP addresses and domain names for the computers under its authority and Internet resources. A DNS server has two main functions:

  • translating into an IP address the name of the servers within its scope of authority
  • if none corresponds, forwarding the request to a DNS server with authority
  • There are three categories of DNS servers: primary, secondary and recursive.



Domain Name System Security Extensions

Extension of the secure DNS protocol whose function is to guarantee the identity of the root domain (e.g. .fr) and the integrity of DNS records in order to prevent any malicious insertion or modification of erroneous DNS data.

Read our dedicated page to DNSSEC



Refers to a set of resources or services available via the Internet or within a local network with a common root name (e.g. “”) based on a tree structure.


Domain name

Proper or generic name or a combination of words used to uniquely identify, but easily remember a resource such as a website or server. Each domain name corresponds to the IP address of the server hosting the resource. This correspondence is ensured by Domain Name Servers (DNS). Used by all the services (web, email, etc.), a domain name consists of a sequence of characters and a suffix, the Top Level Domain (TLD). The latter is either generic (.net., .com, .org) or geographic (.fr, .re, .it, .ch).



DNS over TLS (DoT) / DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

DoT and DoH are two security protocols to encrypt queries and answers of the domain name system (DNS).

DoT uses the TLS protocol (Transport Layer Security), DoH the HTTPS protocol.

See also : DNS, HTTPS, TLS.



Term sometimes used to designate the last part of a domain name.

Example: “.fr” in “”.

Synonyms: Suffix, TLD, ccTLD (type) or gTLD (type).


FR (.FR)

ccTLD for the geographic area of France, managed by Afnic.

For more information, please visite our page about .fr


Created in 2010, France-IX is an IXP (Internet eXchange Point), between Internet service providers.

France-IX allows to directly exchange traffic without transit and without going through international infrastructures.

French name space

Term used by Afnic to designate the domains (ccTLD) it has been delegated to manage. At present these are: .fr (France), .re (Reunion Island), and .pm (St. Pierre and Miquelon), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte).



French group of IPv6 experimenters.



generic Top Level Domain.

Examples: .com, .net, .org, .biz, .name, etc.

See also: Top level Domain (TLD).



Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

Protocol for the transmission of hypermedia documents (Web documents in particular), which manages two operations independently: downloading all the page elements (text, images, references to other sites, videos, scripts, styles) in the browser cache memory, and restructuring the document before it is displayed on the screen.



Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS associates the HTTP protocol and an encryption layer using SSL or TLS. The main benefit of HTTPS is the authentication of the accessed website with a certificate signed by a trusted third party.

See also: certificate, HTTP, SSL, TLS



Internet Architecture Board

Technical Advisory Committee of the ISOC in charge of coordinating the standardisation and research activities (IETF, Internet Engineering Task Force and IRTF, Internet Research Task Force), including the supervision of the Internet architecture, the publication of Request for Comments (RFC), and the administrative management of the numbers, addresses and names allocated to ensure the Internet works properly (domain names, autonomous system numbers, IP addresses, etc.).



Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

Created in the early 1990s, IANA’s role is “dedicated to preserving the central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good”. Its tasks are now very limited, most of them having been taken over by the ICANN as of its creation in 1998. It is thus no longer called the IANA body but the IANA function, integrated with the ICANN. IANA continues to maintain and publish the ccTLD database on its website.



Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

This organisation was founded in October 1998 as an initiative of the American government. Its purpose was to take over Internet administration from the American government. As such, it is tasked with handling the issues involved in domain names but also in IP addresses (numbers identifying each machine on the Internet) and in the protocols used so that the machines can communicate with each other.



Internationalized Domain Name

Originally, domain names (or to be more precise, machine names, as a domain name is generally reserved to declare machines) could only comprise ASCII characters. “International” or “internationalised” domain names are those containing characters other than ASCII characters (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, accented characters). These domain names were standardised by the IETF in RFC 3490.

More information on our page dedicated to IDNs where Afnic also provides you with an IDN convertor.



The Internet Engineering Task Force

The IETF brings together research and development groups working on technologies and Internet protocols. Made up of volunteers, each working group is tasked with studying a particular subject. The IETF contributes to the development and evolution of the Internet and the associated technologies by defining and publishing standards (RFC). The IETF is a member of the ISOC.



IGC (the French acronym for key management infrastructure) or Public Key Infrastructure

See: PKI.



French acronym for the National Institute of Industrial Property (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle)

INPI is a public institution, created in 1951 under the authority of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. It grants patents, trademarks, designs and models, and provides access to all the information on the industrial property of companies and people in France.



French acronym for the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique), a public research organisation dedicated to science and digital technology. Until 1997, INRIA governed the NIC France service before it was entrusted to Afnic after the latter’s inception in 1998.



Refers to the series of networks interconnected at multiple points that use the same IP address and communication protocol, and the DNS domain name system. The Internet is characterised by its independence with respect to the types of machines involved (computers, communication devices, routing systems) and its decentralised architecture of “spider’s web” type, designed so that information can take any number of paths to go from one point to another.


Internet address

See: IP address.



Internet Network Information Center

InterNIC is a project supported by the NSF (National Science Foundation). Its original purpose was to be an international information and registration centre for the entire Internet community. InterNIC began operations in April 1993 with several associates:

  • General Atomics provided information services on the network acting as a NIC.
  • AT&T provided its expertise in databases and directories.
  • Networks Solutions, Inc. (NSI) provided registration services as well as IP addresses and generic domain names (“.com”, “.net”, “.org”).

At present, InterNIC only provides information on the registration of generic domain names. The registration service was entrusted to NSI (since acquired by Verisign), which continues to provide this service independent of InterNIC.



The ability of computers and any other digital systems to exchange information with each other on a common basis, or contribute to the performance of a common service for the user. Interoperability is frequently based on a norm or a standard.



Network protocol common to all the devices connected to the Internet. The protocol handles the transmission of information divided into packets between an identified sender and an identified recipient (in the packet header) by a unique IP number. The transfer itself is performed by packet switching, i.e. the computer or the item of equipment receiving the packet of data is the correct recipient, or a relay node is responsible for redirecting the data to the correct recipient or to another relay. IPv4 and IPv6 are versions of this protocol.


IP Address

“Internet Protocol Address”, also referred to as “Internet address”

Unique address used to identify hardware when it is connected to the network (computer, communicating object, 3G mobile phone, etc.). The address consists of a sequence of digits.


See also: Internet Protocol (IP), IPv4 and IPv6.


IP number

See: IP Address.



To date, IPv4 is the most widely used version of the IP protocol. The difference between versions mainly stems from the format of the IP addresses, created on a decimal base of four sets of three digits. This system, which has been used to create almost 4 billion unique addresses, is gradually being replaced by IPv6.



IPv6 is the new version of the IP currently being deployed. It introduces a new addressing system, consisting of four segments of eight alphanumeric (hexadecimal) characters, thereby creating a reserve of 340 billion of billion of billion of billion of unique IP addresses.



International Organization for Standardization

ISO is a network of international standard institutes representing 160 countries worldwide. Its purpose is to establish a consensus on the interoperability of systems and procedures in the form of international norms and standards.



Internet SOCiety

Association of professionals focusing on the growth and evolution of the Internet worldwide, in various ways, such as the use of the Internet, as well as its social, political and technical consequences.



International Telecommunication Union.



Internet eXchange Point

Interconnection node between Internet service providers.

Example: France-IX



The Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional Registry

LAPNIC is one of five regional internet centres, or “Regional Internet Registries” (RIR) in the world. It provides the administrative and technical coordination for addressing and routing functions through the network (allocation of IP addresses, AS numbers).




Local Area Network

Local network consisting of computers usually located in a building or a group of buildings and sharing one or more private IP addresses.

Antonym: WAN (Wide Area Network).



Local Internet Registries

The Internet addressing and routing resources – consisting of IP addresses and AS numbers – were distributed by the IANA to the RIRs.

There are currently four RIRs: ARIN for the North America and Africa regions, APNIC for the Asia-Pacific regions, LACNIC for the South America – Caribbean regions, RIPE NCC for the extended Europe zone and AFRINIC for the African regions.

The RIRs then allocate those resources to Local Internet Registries that allocate IP addresses to end users.

The LIR is responsible for receiving IP address requests, processing these applications by allocating networks, and updating the corresponding databases.


Naming Policy or Naming Charter

Document containing all the rules that govern an extension (ccTLD or gTLD). In theory, it covers all the administrative, legal, and even technical issues involved in domain names that can be registered under the extension.

To read the Afnic naming policy



Network Information Center

As the name implies, a generic term for an information centre on the Internet. For example, Afnic is referred to as the “FR NIC” or “NIC France”

An NIC has a variety of assignments:

  1. The technical and administrative management of the TLDs for which it is responsible. NICs are fully independent in all the decisions regarding the management of their own extension(s). They independently define the conditions for allocating domain names under their extension(s) (naming policy). They are also responsible for the quality of their technical services, and manage the database of domain names under their extension(s) (Whois database).
  2. Depending on the country, a NIC may only be a registry (a resource manager) or both a registry and registrar, i.e. a resource manager and the seller of this resource in a competitive industry.
  3. Finally, a NIC is a centre of information open to all, which provides information and resources useful to the entire Internet community, including beginners as well as experienced users.



Cadre de référence visant à fournir des lignes directrices, des prescriptions techniques ou qualitatives pour la fabrication d’un produit, le management d’un procédé, la prestation d’un service ou la fourniture de matériel.

Elle est le fruit d’une co-production consensuelle entre les professionnels et les utilisateurs qui se sont engagés dans son élaboration.


NSD (Name Server Daemon)

Authoritative DNS server implementation. NSD is designed for high performance environments, fully supports DNSSEC, and runs on modern Unix flavors. NSD is maintained by NLnet Labs. The source is freely available under the BSD license.



Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market

The purpose of the Office is the registration of Community trademarks and, in the near future, Community designs and models.



Object Naming (or Name) Service.

Standardised norm designed to associate a name and a description to the unique numeric identifier of a communicating object (such as hardware with an RFID tag). The ONS standard is based on DNS software and standards.



Name of a tool that simplifies the process of implementing and maintaining DNSSEC in any DNS environment. OpenDNSSEC handles the tasks of secure key management, timing, and signing. The signed zone can then be served by an authoritative name server. OpenDNSSEC is developed in an international co-operation project with several participants. The source is freely available under the BSD license.



Public Key Infrastructure

Set of hardware, software and procedures that can be used to create, manage and distribute digital certificates attesting to the formal identity of the bearer, whether it is a computer resource or an individual.



One of the three specific roles allocated to a DNS server

A server is said to be primary for a zone when it obtains the information for the zone in a configuration file. The file in question is written by an administrator.

The primary server has ‘authority’ for the zone.



Convention specifying the technical rules and specifications to be respected in the telecommunications sector to ensure interoperability between systems. Numerous protocols have become standardised (i.e. have obtained national or international recognition).

The value of a protocol is that it defines methods for exchanging information, independent of the hardware used to do so. Once the protocol has been defined, each terminal, client or server develops the protocol regardless of the other computers using it.



Registration Data Access Protocol that aims at replacing Whois.

Contrary to Whois, it uses HTTPS and sends structured data (in JSON)


RE (.re)

ccTLD for the Reunion Island, managed by AFNIC. For more information, visit our page dedicated to .re !


Recursive server

One of the three specific roles allocated to a DNS server

The purpose of a recursive DNS server is to recursively explore the hierarchy of the DNS servers when the recursive server fails to find the primary DNS server with authority for the domain name being sought.



Entity (association, company, individual, etc.) issuing an application to register a domain name.

To obtain a domain name, a registrant usually applies to a registrar (or ISP) which in turn applies to a registry (database manager), like Afnic.



A registrar is an organisation (ISP, website host, internet service provider, etc.) which registers and hosts domain names as a fee-paying service for the resource managers (referred to as registries) by which the registrar has been accredited.

Not to be confused with: Registry.

View the list of registrars for the .fr, .re, .yt, .pm, .wf, and .tf TLDs.



Body (association, company, etc.) in charge of managing the database of domain names for a TLD, or of the IP addresses for a specified region

Examples: AFNIC is the registry for the .fr and .re TLDs; RIPE NCC is the registry for IP addresses in Europe.



See: Recursive server.



Request For Comments

Documents written by experts for the Internet technical community. After a long review and qualification process, RFCs are liable to become standards that govern Internet activity.



Radio-Frequency IDentification

Radio-identification standard which uses chips supplied with electricity by induction. These RFID labels or tags contain information that is used by RFID readers (loading docks, warehouses or store shelves, etc.). The labels are one of the components of the Internet of Things.

See also: ONS.



European IP networks

RIPE is a collaborative organisation, based on volunteerism. It is open to individuals and organisations interested in the deployment and the operations involved in the IP network covering a pan-European region, including Europe, part of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.



RIPE Network Coordination Centre

RIPE NCC is one of five regional internet centres, or “Regional Internet Registries” (RIR) in the world. It provides the administrative and technical coordination for addressing and routing functions through the network (allocation of IP addresses, AS numbers).




Regional Internet Registries

The Internet addressing and routing resources — consisting of IP addresses and AS numbers — were distributed by the IANA to the RIRs.

There are currently four RIRs: ARIN for the North America and Africa regions, APNIC for the Asia-Pacific regions, LACNIC for the South America – Caribbean regions, RIPE NCC for the extended Europe zone and AFRINIC for the African regions.

The RIRs then allocate those resources to LIRs (Local Internet Registries) that allocate IP addresses to end users.



Starting point of an arborescence.

See also: root name server.


Root server or root name server

The root server is the starting point in the hierarchical tree of domain names. At present, there are 13 root name servers around the world: these servers host the data enabling the DNS and the services that use the system to function correctly: Internet, email, etc.



Action which, within an IP network, consists in establishing the route to be followed by a communication or a data packet by choosing the shortest path among all possible paths. This function is performed by special hardware called a router.



Rich Summary Site

XML description of the contents of a website facilitating the instant replay of content without editing by (syndicated) partner sites.


RSS feed

See: RSS.


Secondary server

One of the three specific roles allocated to a DNS server

A server is said to be secondary when it obtains all the information for the zone from another server, referred to as a primary server. It regularly downloads the contents of the zone in order to take over from the primary server in the event of an incident. The secondary server has ‘authority’ for the zone.



A server is a high-capacity computer (processor power, memory, hard drives) connected to the network, the purpose of which is to provide one or more services such as email, domain names, IP address assignment [Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)], access to file directories, etc. These services are “consumed” by other computers with direct access via a local network, or indirectly, by an extranet or via the Internet, and which act as clients.



Simple Object Access Protocol

Protocol for web services supported by the W3C. SOAP enables automated exchange between software without having to modify them: SOAP transmission and reception interfaces encode in XML and decode data streams transparently for the applications.



Secure Sockets Layer

SSL is an encryption protocol designed to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged. It also certifies the identity of the server sending data.

Open SSL, TLS.



Set of technical specifications and rules required to ensure the interoperability of communication devices or information transmitted over the Internet.



Term sometimes used to designate the last part forming a domain name. e.g. .fr in .

See also: Extension, TLD, ccTLD, gTLD.



Opened on 21 November 2011 for domain names under the .fr and .re ccTLDs, the dispute resolution procedure Syreli was opened in December 2011 to all the other ccTLDs operated by Afnic : .tf ; .yt ; .pm ; wf.

More information (in french) on this procedure on



Transmission Control Protocol

The protocol most commonly associated with IP (see TCP-IP) providing the means for segmenting, organising and controlling the transmission of information over a network according to the latter’s characteristics. In particular, TCP ensures that all the segments of information have been received, and have arrived intact.



Transmission Control Protocol over Internet Protocol

Combination of protocols (IP and TCP), or “stack”, which is the basis for exchanging data packets over the Internet. IP is responsible for transporting information to the right place by the shortest route. The purpose of TCP is to build data packets and to check that the transmission has taken place as planned.



Top Level Domain

There are two types of TLDs: geographically based ccTLDs (.fr, .de, etc.) and generic TLDs also known a gTLDs (.com, .biz, etc.)

See also: Extension, suffix.



See: SSL.



Action which consists in registering a domain name very similar to a well-known domain name. The variants are based on typos or spelling differences.

Examples: or

This abusive practice, considered similar to cybersquatting, is designed to capture traffic from the well-known site by using the typing errors that Internet users can make.



Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy

Guidelines adopted by ICANN (based on WIPO recommendations) and governing the uniform dispute resolution policy for domain names.

They set forth the terms and conditions applicable in a dispute between a third party and any other party (other than the registrar) about the registration and use of a domain name.

For further information: please see our Dispute Resolution section.



International Telecommunication Union

The standards body that dates back to the age of the telegraph (1865) and is attached to the United Nations (UN). It is responsible for overseeing the general organisation of telecommunications, and their standardisation, and allocating radio frequencies.



Name of a high performance recursive and caching DNS resolver implementation. Unbound is designed with DNSSEC in mind and runs on a wide variety of platforms including BSD, Linux, and Windows. Unbound is maintained by NLnet Labs. The source is freely available under the BSD license.



Uniform Resources Locator

www syntax used to specify the physical location for a file or resource on the Internet. In a sense, it is the descriptor of the access path to a Web resource.



Since the acronym www (for World Wide Web) is losing its cultural connotations in French, the Office for the French language recommends the use of W3 for phonetic reasons. Some authors prefer to call it “the Web”.



World Wide Web Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was created so that the Web could reach its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its development and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industrial consortium, which currently has over 500 members. The consortium is jointly run by the French National Institute for Research in Computer sciences and Automation (INRIA) in France, Keio University in Japan, and the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the United States. The services provided by the Consortium consist of:

  • the establishment and provision of information on the World Wide Web for developers and users;
  • the implementation of software to incorporate and promote standards;
  • the set-up of various prototype applications designed to demonstrate the use of new technologies.



Wide Area Network

A private network of communication lines, the purpose of which is to permanently interconnect local area networks located at different or remote sites. These interconnection services are usually provided by a telecommunications operator.



Contraction of “who is?”

Service used to search registry databases for information on a domain name or an IP address These public reference databases publish the names of the physical contacts associated with a domain name or IP address (administrative contact, technical contact, and billing contact where applicable). This administrative “Whois” base is not absolutely necessary for the Internet to function, but is virtually available for all of the extensions. Its management method and the data formats proposed differ considerably depending on the case. It can be used to find and contact the person(s) responsible for a domain name or IP address, including for litigation purposes if necessary.

Example: Afnic Whois



World Intellectual Property Organisation

WIPO’s mission is to promote the use and protection of intellectual works that are objects of intellectual property.

Note: one of the activities of WIPO is devoted to the domain names (UDRP).



A domain can be divided into several zones, each zone being separated by a dot (“.”) and managed by its own servers.

For example, “” is a zone of the “.fr” domain.



Zonemaster is a software package that validates the quality of a DNS delegation.

It has been developed in collaboration by Afnic (registry of .fr, .re, .pm, .tf, .wf, .yt ccTLDs and .paris gTLD) and InternetStiftelsen (registry of .SE and .NU ccTLDs).