Importance of the field: Osteoporosis has become a worldwide health and social issue due to an aging population. Four major antiresorptive drugs (agents capable of inhibiting osteoclast formation and/or function) are currently available on the market: estrogen, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), bisphosphonates and calcitonin. These drugs either lack satisfactory efficacy or have potential to cause serious side effects. Thus, development of more efficacious and safer drugs is warranted. Areas covered in this review: The discovery of the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and its two receptors, RANK and osteoprotegerin (OPG), has not only established a crucial role for the RANKL/RANK/OPG axis in osteoclast biology but also created a great opportunity to develop new drugs targeting this system for osteoporosis therapy. This review focuses on discussion of therapeutic targeting of RANK signaling. What the reader will gain: An update on the functions of RANKL and an overview of the known RANK signaling pathways in osteoclasts. A discussion of rationales for exploring RANK signaling pathways as potent and specific therapeutic targets to promote future development of better drugs for osteoporosis. Take home message: Several RANK signaling components have the potential to serve as potent and specific therapeutic targets for osteoporosis. © Informa UK, Ltd.