The US government has ceded control of the technical management, Independent informs.
Following a long legal battle, the California-based NGO Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will gain control over the organisation of unique online identifiers.
The change will not affect ordinary internet users but is a reflection of the rapidly shifting online landscape and attitudes to it.
ICANN manages the database for top-level domain names such as .com and .net and the corresponding numeric addresses that allow computers to connect.
The group’s work will be governed by a collection of academics, technical experts, private industry and government representatives, public interest advocates and individual users around the world.
IT journal The Register said it was a “historic moment” and the “most significant change in the internet's functioning for a generation”.
The US government has been the primary manager of the internet's address book since 1988 largely because it was invented in the country.