A domain holder or domain name holder or domain name registrant or domain name owner (as some countries recognize property rights in domain names) is a legal entity that decides what happens to email or other media, distributed via web or P2P or otherwise by network protocols that exploit IP ports associated with that domain's IP address. At any time a domain holder may change the IP address recognized as the web host of that domain by DNS servers, and the (separate) email host of that domain by SMTP. A domain name registrar holds these records and is nominally responsible to track:
- the legal holder or administrative contact responsible for all decision making - if the contact is not affiliated with the holder, or becomes unaffiliated, this can become a major problem, for instance, the contacts may dispute domains registered on behalf of others
- the billing contact - - if the contact is not affiliated with the holder, or becomes unaffiliated, this can become a major problem
- the technical contact responsible for updating DNS records
Most domains are actually held by domain name portfolios doing domain monetizing with varying degrees of integrity. Web ad account fraud is common. Those and other black hat techniques are carefully differentiated from search engine optimization strategies.
 Democratic option
A democratic domain is one where social capital, not prior registration, determines control at least of the public web content distributed via that domain. The holder in this case will have agreed to a contract limiting their actions to what the elected officers approve, or perhaps to what can be approved by user consensus.