Can I become my own domain registrar?

I’m fed up with all the domain registration fees the registrars seem to slap on at the last minute. What’s stopping me from just registering my domain name myself? In other words, how do I become my own domain registrar? I understand I can’t purchase directly from ICANN (the organization that manages internet namespaces), so I’d like to know what it costs to do it myself and manage my own names. Thanks!

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Alex Schenker
It is possible to form your own domain registry, the only hurdle is that the costs are not insignificant. Unless you’re registering a significant number of names or planning on reselling, the costs will most likely exceed all the hidden fees that are being added to your domain registration. All amounts are in USD.

ICANN Registrar Formation Requirements

  • You must be able to show proof of at least $70,000 of working capital.

ICANN Formation Costs (USD)

  • $3,500 initial application fee
  • $4,000 annual fee to maintain registrar status
  • $800 quarterly ICANN fee (this amount varies depending on your site as a registrar)
  • Domain registry fees (currently $7.85 for a .com)
  • $0.18 every time you register a domain
  • 3% credit card processing fee

Registry Development Costs
You need to actually build and host your registration platform which will connect with ICANN’s servers and make the whole thing possible. This cost will vary depending on whom you hire to develop your system, as well as whom you choose to host your system.

The full details are available on ICANN’s website.