Internet Network Information Center


The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) is a service that coordinates and oversees the management of domain name registrations and IP addresses. Established in the 1990s, it was originally run by a collaboration of institutions including the National Science Foundation, Network Solutions, and AT&T. Today, the term is often used in reference to any organization responsible for managing internet infrastructure and resources, such as ICANN or regional domain registrars.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Internet Network Information Center” is:ɪntərˌnɛt ˈnɛt.wɜrk ˌɪnfərˈmeɪʃən ˈsɛntər

Key Takeaways

  1. The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) is a centralized organization responsible for managing domain name registration, IP address allocation, and directory services for the internet.
  2. InterNIC was created in the early 1990s as a collaborative effort between the National Science Foundation, AT&T, and Network Solutions to ensure a consistent and streamlined approach to internet management.
  3. Today, InterNIC’s primary functions have been absorbed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the global Domain Name System (DNS) and IP address allocation.


The technology term Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) is important because it played a crucial role in the early development and growth of the internet.

Established in the 1990s, InterNIC was responsible for managing and allocating domain names and IP addresses, which are essential for navigating and identifying resources on the internet.

By overseeing the registration of domain names and maintaining a centralized database of internet resources, InterNIC helped establish a standardized system for locating websites, enabling the internet to become a truly global and easily accessible network.

Although its functions have since been transferred to other organizations, such as ICANN, InterNIC’s foundational work contributed significantly to the current structure and organization of the internet.


The Internet Network Information Center, or InterNIC, was initially established to serve as a centralized platform for the management and coordination of internet domain names and number assignments. As the internet grew rapidly, it became increasingly essential to have a streamlined system in place, ensuring the proper allocation and maintenance of these critical components. Although the term is often associated with the historical organization, today’s successors to InterNIC continue to fulfill key functions in the overall operation and organization of the internet.

The primary purpose of InterNIC is to facilitate a smooth and efficient process of registering and managing domain names, while also maintaining the accuracy of the WHOIS database – a public directory providing information on the registrants of domain names. InterNIC’s responsibilities have evolved over time, with the advent of new organizations taking over some of its key functions such as domain registration. Nowadays, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the overarching organization responsible for the management of domain names.

ICANN works with numerous domain registrars and registry operators to enable individuals and businesses to purchase and register their desired domain names. By acting as a central network authority, InterNIC’s successors keep the internet organized and interconnected, assisting in overall internet navigation by implementing policies, procedures, and standards. Its purpose continues to remain vital in today’s modern environment, ensuring the internet is an accessible and user-friendly space for users all around the world.

Examples of Internet Network Information Center

The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) was an organization created in 1993 to manage domain names, IP addresses, and other critical aspects of the internet. It operated under a contract with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and was initially run by a collaboration between Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), General Atomics, and AT&T. In 1998, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established to take over the management of InterNIC’s responsibilities.Here are three real-world examples that involve the Internet Network Information Center:

Domain name registration: During its operation, InterNIC was responsible for registering and managing domain names under the top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net, .org, and .edu. InterNIC allowed individuals and businesses to register and maintain their domains to establish their online presence.

IP address allocation: InterNIC facilitated the allocation of IP addresses to entities such as internet service providers (ISPs), businesses, and educational institutions. This helped maintain a coordinated system of IP addresses to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet and to avoid conflicts and duplication of IP addresses.

WHOIS database management: InterNIC maintained the WHOIS database, which served as a central source of information about domain name registrations. This searchable database provided information such as the domain name owner, registration date, and contact details. This information was essential for troubleshooting, investigating cybercrime, and settling disputes related to domain name ownership.Since the establishment of ICANN, the responsibilities that once fell under InterNIC are now maintained by ICANN and various domain name registrars. However, the term “InterNIC” is still sometimes used informally to refer to the system of domain name registration and management.

Internet Network Information Center – FAQs

What is the Internet Network Information Center?

The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) is an organization that provides domain registration and consultation services for websites. It initially managed the allocation and registration of domain names, IP address assignments, and other services vital to maintaining the internet infrastructure.

When was the InterNIC established?

The Internet Network Information Center was established in 1993 as a partnership between the U.S. government’s National Science Foundation and a private company – Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI). It was created to manage essential internet services and maintain an efficient network infrastructure.

Are there any alternative services to the InterNIC?

Yes, there are many alternative services for domain registration, IP address allocation, and network information management. With the rapid growth of the internet, numerous domain registrars and network information services have emerged, providing diverse options for users to choose from depending on their specific needs.

What is the role of the InterNIC in the Domain Name System?

The InterNIC was responsible for domain name registration and the allocation of IP addresses in the early years of the internet. As part of its role, the organization maintained the top-level domain (TLD) database and assignments, ensuring the efficient operation and administration of the Domain Name System (DNS).

What happened to the InterNIC after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was formed?

When ICANN was established in 1998, most of the responsibilities previously held by the InterNIC were transferred to this new organization. ICANN took over the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) and global IP address allocation, leading to the gradual phasing out of the InterNIC’s direct operational functions. However, the InterNIC still exists as an informational resource and offers valuable guidance on domain registration, IP allocation, and administration.

Related Technology Terms

  • Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Internet Protocol (IP) Address
  • Network Access Points (NAPs)
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • World Wide Web (WWW)

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents