Running a Domain Registrar for Fun and (some) Profit

Q Misell

Playlists: 'MCH2022' videos starting here / audio

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes when you click buy on that domain for a new side project that'll definitely happen (you will get to it eventually, right)? Well this is the talk for you! We'll cover all the extremely cursed details of how exactly one sells and manages a domain, the standards for this (or lack thereof), and some pointers for how you could get started managing your own domains directly, if you're not completely put off by this talk's contents.

Back at the start of lockdown in 2020 I think we where all a bit bored at home with not much to do; well, me and a friend decided it would be a good idea to start a domain registrar (big mistake, big, huge). This is the tale of how that went, what we learn, and why you might not want to do it yourself.

We'll cover the technical aspects of how a domain is actually managed by your registrar, touch on the absolutely crazy business structures of the domain world with the likes of ICANN and friends, and how we ended up in this situation. Some of the standards are extremely cursed, some are extremely old, most are both. We'll also cover more recent developments in the domain space, such as the move from WHOIS to RDAP, and improvements in DNSSEC deployment.

And finally after all that if you decide that somehow this is something you want more of in your life we'll give some pointers for how one might setup their own registrar, especially if they want to take greater control of their own domains, or just have some fun.