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What does a domain registrar actually do? As in, do they facilitate you registering your domain name with the registry? Do they host your domain?

I downloaded a couple of top-level-domain zones, they're just a list of NS records.

So my question is, when I change my domains name servers, am I changing the NS record within the top-level-domain zone file? Or do the top-level-domain zone file point to my registrar, and changing my name servers will update them with my registrar and not the actually TLD zone file?

Any clarification on how the whole thing works would be great!

closed as too broad by joeqwerty, Jim B, Katherine Villyard, Ward, Sven Jan 18 '15 at 18:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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A domain registrar facilitates registering your domain with the registry. Some registrars also host your domain, as an optional add-on service - but not all even offer that service.

When you change your Name Servers, your registrar passes on that request to the registry using a protocol called EPP, and the NS is changed within the TLD zone file that is maintained by the registry.

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