How it all Started: The Birth of .de and the Founding of the Cooperative

1986: .de Is Born

The history of .de started more than 30 years ago on 5 November 1986 when the country code .de was registered in the IANA database. This was the starting signal for the Internet in Germany.

Initially, .de was administered by the US-American network operator CSNET. In 1988, administration was transferred to IRB, a unit of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Dortmund, which started to operate the name server service and the allocation of IPv4 address blocks.

The common term used internationally for this kind of service provider was "Network Information Center", or NIC in short. And since this NIC took over the administration of .de, the name DENIC was born. At that time, no more than six domains (dbp.de. rmi.de, telenet.de, uka.de, uni-dortmund.de, uni-paderborn.de) were registered under .de.

In the beginning, the administration of the domains was handled on an "on-call" basis by means of a manually updated list, which soon started to grow at a quickening pace. This called for a more professional foundation: In August 1993, the three then existing German Internet service providers (DFN, EUNET und Xlink) founded the association "Interessenverbund Deutsches Network Information Center (IV-DENIC)". This interest group then invited tenders, on a national level, for the operation of the name server service. The winner of the tender process was the data center of the University of Karlsruhe. Starting from January 1994, it took over the administration and registration of the .de domains for an initial period of three years. At that time, the number of domains had reached a total of about 1,000. By mid-1996, the number climbed to 20,000. The number of providers and Internet users also continued to increase constantly.

1996: The Starting Date of the DENIC Cooperative

In December 1996, an assembly of 37 German Internet service providers decided to found a cooperative for the purpose of administering the German domains and providing the necessary infrastructure. This was the birth of DENIC eG. In July 1997, DENIC set up its head office in Frankfurt am Main, which has been the central hub of the Cooperative ever since.

Have a look at the brochure on the occasion of our 25th anniversary (in German only). It will take you on a journey through time and provide you with a lot of interesting and surprising facts all around the German Internet.

Milestones in DENIC‘s History

1986The country code .de for Germany is entered in the IANA database.
1994Karlsruhe University takes over the name server service for .de in the name of IV-DENIC.
1996The DENIC Cooperative is founded on 17 December.
1997DENIC starts operation at its new headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, initially assuming only administrative tasks.
1999DENIC takes over technical domain administration and thus renders all services around .de.
1999The threshold of one million .de domains is passed.
2004DENIC allows umlauts and special characters (IDNs) to be used in domain names and makes available the name server service under IPv6.
2010DENIC introduces the letter “eszett”. Now the complete German alphabet is permitted for domain names under .de.
2011DENIC launches the secure extension DNSSEC for the .de zone.
2013With the Redemption Grace Period (RGP), DENIC introduces a 30-day waiting period for deleted domains.
2014DANE and DNSSEC secure DENICs e-mail communication by channel encryption.
2015The threshold of 16 million .de domains is passed.
2016ICANN-accredited Third Party Provider for Registrar Data Escrow (TPP RDE)
2017ICANN-accredited New gTLD Data Escrow Agent for Registries (RyDE)
2018DENIC becomes Designated Escrow Agent (DEA) to support Registrar Data Escrow services
2018The fully owned subsidiary DENIC Services GmbH & Co. KG is founded; the business lines DNS Anycast, Data Escrow and DENICdirect are transferred to the new company.
2019Optimized zone generation: Incremental zone generation makes new registrations/hanges to domain data globally available in next to no time
2020With .de Registry Lock, DENIC offers extra protection against unwanted manipulation of domain data