We recognise the domain name sector and common Internet governance processes and terms are not familiar to all. This glossary sets out commonly used terms.


A country code top level domain (ccTLD) is a two-character top level domain reserved for a specific country listed in the ISO 3166 standard (e.g. .au).

Cyber security 

Cyber security encompasses protection and detection mechanisms, processes and systems to safeguard data and systems from cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is the increasing adoption of digital technology in economies and societies. Digital transformation supports economic growth and social connection through greater online connectivity. 

Domain name system (DNS) 

The DNS is a component of the Internet that enables users to find and connect to local websites and email addresses by mapping Internet Protocol (IP) numeric addresses to their corresponding domain names.

DNS abuse 

DNS abuse is malicious behaviour aimed at disrupting DNS infrastructure or operations. DNS abuse is classified into five categories; malware (such as ransomware), botnets, phishing, pharming and spam (where it facilitates one of the other four categories of abuse).

DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC)

DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) are security extensions that facilitate the digital signing of DNS records, helping to ensure the integrity and authenticity of DNS information.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 

ICANN is the organisation responsible for coordinating the Internet’s number and naming systems to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. 

Integrated Reporting

The International Integrated Reporting Framework is a framework for reporting based on integrated thinking and focused on how different aspects of the organisation interact to create value in the short, medium and long term.   

Internationalised Domain Names

Internationalise domain names contain characters not included in the traditional DNS preferred form. They enable people around the world to use domain names in local languages and scripts. 

Multi-stakeholder Internet governance 

Internet governance can be defined as the rules, policies, standards and practices that coordinate and shape global cyberspace. Multi-stakeholder Internet governance is the process through which the multi-stakeholder community participates in decisions about the future of the Internet, recognising that all stakeholders have a valuable contribution to make.

Multi-stakeholder community

The multi-stakeholder community comprises representatives from governments, industry, the technical community and civil society who all participate on a relatively equal footing.

Multi-stakeholder processes

The multi-stakeholder processes operate largely by consensus, with ideas and proposals debated on their merits. This leads to outcomes that have considered a full range of perspectives and have broad support.

Open, free, secure, global Internet

An open, free, secure and global Internet is an Internet that is interoperable across borders, accessible to all without undue restrictions, and is safe, reliable and resilient.

Online platforms and marketplaces

Online platforms and marketplaces are Internet-based services such as search engines, social media platforms and online retailers that provide goods or services from multiple suppliers on a single online platform (e.g. eBay, Alibaba, Instagram and Etsy).


Registrars are companies accredited by auDA to offer .au domain name services to the public, including registering, maintaining, and renewing domain name licences. Accredited registrars have direct access to the .au registry to update registry data, under tight security controls.


The .au registry is a database of all licenced domain names and associated information, such as the name and contact details of the registrant and registrar.    

Registry operator

The .au registry operator is Afilias Australia. Afilias Australia was appointed as the .au registry operator following a global tender process in 2017. Afilias is currently contracted to provide .au registry operations until 30 June 2024.


Resellers are businesses that provide domain name registration services to the public but are not accredited registrars. Resellers do not have direct access to the registry. They register domain names through an accredited registrar.

Stakeholder ecosystem

auDA’s stakeholder ecosystem is the network of key stakeholders that auDA regularly interacts with including the registry operator, registrars, resellers, registrants, local, state, and federal government entities, education and training providers, industry bodies, auDA members and Advisory Committees.

Terms of Endorsement

The Terms of Endorsement outline the Federal Government's formal endorsement of auDA. The Terms of Endorsement require auDA to administer the .au domain in the public interest and in accordance with Australian laws, and ensure it is stable, secure and reliable.