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Frequently Asked Questions

What can we do for you?

Information for Domain Applicants

How can I check my nameserver settings?

DENIC places at disposal the NAST tool for checking the name servers.

NAST (NAme Server Tester) is a tool that is used to check zones and name server configurations. It will help you to verify if the name servers for a domain are configured correctly and whether the zone is in accordance with the DENIC guidelines. It can be used to check domains that are already connected, as well as new domains that are not registered yet. It allows you to check your DNS data already before registration and thus helps you to avoid errors during the registration procedure.

What is the role of the administrative contact (Admin-C)?

According to artice VIII clause 1 of the DENIC Domain Guidelines the administrative contact (Admin-C) is the domain holder's authorized representative for the domain, and thus the contact for DENIC.

The Admin-C is required because without this person the domain holder would be the only one authorized to make legally binding statements with regard to the domain. Particularly in case of domain holders that are legal entities like limited liability companies (German GmbH) or public limited companies (German AG) this would be hardly feasible. In such cases the right to make legally binding statements would rest exlcusively with the legal representative of the legal entity, i.e. the managing director or a member of the executive board. The only other solution would be a third person authorized by the legal representative outside the framework of the registration procedure. Since this person would, however, not be registered with DENIC as an authorized representative, he/she would have to prove his/her authorization every time DENIC or the provider administrating the domain would take action; and that would be really laborious.

To solve this problem and to make domain administration as easy and efficient as possible DENIC (like nearly all other domain registries) has created the role of the Admin-C. With the Admin-C, the domain holder officially registers an authorized representative with DENIC, who will then be entitled to make statements in the name of the domain holder without having to prove his/her authorization in every individual case. As the term “administrative” contact already proposes the role of the Admin-C is limited to mere administrative functions. The Admin-C does not have any own rights with regard to the domain. Those rights are reserved exclusively for the domain holder, who – according to article VII clause 1 of the DENIC Domain Guidelines - “holds the material rights to the domain”.

Being the authorized representative of the domain holder the Admin-C thus is comparable to the authorized representative a proprietor and/or a person filing an application for the registration of a trademark in accordance with § 76 (1) clause 1 of the Trademark Regulation (MarkenV) of the German Patent and Trademark Office can nominate and who then serves as the contact for the Office.

What are NSentry domains and name servers?

There are two ways of ensuring a domain's connectivity:

The first of these is for the domain to be delegated by DENIC name servers to other name servers. This means that DENIC enters the addresses of at least two name servers in its databases. Any inquiry DENIC receives about this domain is passed on to these name servers. In order to ensure that the name servers concerned are accessible and competent, we perform a check of functionality the first time entries are made for them.

Secondly, there is the alternative of linking up to five services on DENIC's own name servers that have something to do with your domain, such as www.example.de or mail.example.de, directly with the IP address of the host or a mail server through which this service is handled (such links are known as “NSentries”). In this second case, you do not need to have a name server of your own.

Why are domains not registered if they have a hyphen in both the third and fourth positions?

Under .de it is not possible to register any domains that contain a sequence of characters that are used to identify an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN). This affects all domains that have a hyphen in both their third and fourth position, such as xn--beispiel.de.

Is it possible for individuals or institutions not located in Germany to register a .de domain?

It is possible for individuals or institutions (that have legal capacity) not located in Germany to register .de domains. There is, however, a condition, namely that they must appoint an administrative contact who is resident in Germany and who has a postal address at which it is possible to serve documents (i.e. not a mere P.O. box). The administrative contact is then also the person formally authorized by the domain holder to receive service of official or court documents (Zustellungsbevollmächtigter) within the meaning of the German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung) and the German Code of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozessordnung). The reason for this measure is to ensure that if any party has a legal claim to pursue, it is not made more difficult for them by having to serve official or court documents in another country, which is often a long, drawn-out process.

Could you tell me whom I should normally contact if I've got questions about my domain or if there is any other matter concerning me?

The answer to this question depends on whether your domain is being administered by a DENIC member or by DENICdirect.

In the first case (your domain is being administered by a DENIC member), it is only your provider who is in a position to deal with questions and any other matters concerning your domain. If, despite that, you contact DENIC directly, there is nothing we can do except pass your message on to the DENIC member in charge, so there is no way that you can save time. If it happens that you can no longer contact your provider or if you make no progress with your provider, DENIC is able to give you provisional assistance until you find a new provider.

In the second case (your domain is being administered by DENICdirect), you can contact DENIC directly with any matter that may concern you. As a DENICdirect customer, you should realize that you can help shorten the processing time considerably and reduce the need for clarifying details afterwards by using the special standard forms that DENIC provides for many different types of transaction.

How can I get hold of information as to which domains are still free or already registered?

We provide an online domain query service that you can use to check whether a domain has already been registered or whether it is still available for registration. You can use our more sophisticated service (the whois search) to obtain additional information about the identity of the registered holder, the domain’s technical data and any other contacts appointed to look after it.

What is meant by a domain's connectivity? What types of connectivity are possible for a .de domain?

When we speak about the connectivity of a domain we refer to the provision of services that make it possible to reach it in the Internet. Under the Top Level Domain .de there are two alternative ways of ensuring the accessibility of a domain:

The first of this is a direct NSentry in the .de zone. The domain concerned is connected up directly via an address record (IN A or IN AAAA) or a mail-exchanger (IN MX) entry to the corresponding services.

The second is to connect the domain up through its own name server. In this case, the .de zone contains only a link to the appropriate name server.

How often are the .de name servers updated?

To become globally accessible, a newly registered domain must be included in the .de zone. Normally, this is done the next time the name servers are updated after the registration has been completed. The same applies to updates of name server records for domains that are already in the zone.

Normally, the update is implemented at every hour, and afterwards the zone will include all changes that have been confirmed by DENIC prior to the update.

My provider has confirmed that my domain has been registered. How long do I have to wait for the services associated with it to be available in the Internet?

Several conditions have to be satisfied before a domain becomes accessible. Usually, your provider will enter your domain in his/her name server and set up the envisaged services before registering the domain for you. Your provider then sends a registration request to DENIC. When DENIC sends back its acknowledgement it means that the domain data has been added to our domain database. It does not, however, mean that the domain is immediately available everywhere in the world. It might be that you can already access your domain though your provider's name server, but other Internet users might go through other name servers, which will only be able receive information about the new domain once it has been included in the .de zone.

DENIC's current practice is to reload the .de every hour. You will find the reload times in the FAQ "How often are the .de name servers updated?".

If it happens that your domain is still not available for some Internet users even after this time, the reason might be that a particular name server has saved information in its cache to the effect that this domain does not exist and has not asked another name server about possible modifications. In such cases, you should contact your provider.

What is a domain?

Domains are an addressing technique for identifying and localizing computers (or "hosts") in the Internet. Computers recognize one another solely by means of their IP addresses, which are purely numerical. The IPv4 standard, which is still the dominant one, requires them to be in the form xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, where each xxx stands for a number between 0 and 255. A typical IP address might, for instance, be 10.136.66.12. When one computer wants to communicate with another one via the Internet, it sends it "Internet packets" which are addressed to the recipient's IP address.

It is human nature that we usually find it a lot easier to memorize terms and descriptions than rows of figures. That was the reason the Domain Name System (DNS) was developed and it makes it possible to use words, names and terms instead of digits more or less at will (although a few rules have to be complied with). That now makes it possible for Internet users to access hosts either through their IP address or by entering the domain. The DNS can also be used for calling other services and information.

When a domain is called in the Internet, special computers, known as name servers, assume the task of translating it into the corresponding IP address. Because each domain and each IP address is unique, they can both only be registered once in the world.

The DNS itself has a hierarchical structure. A number of Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as .de or .com, are defined as its topmost layer. Under these TLDs, it is possible to register second-level domains, which are nearly always referred to simply as "domains". DENIC administers those domains that come under the Top Level Domain .de.

How does the name of a .de domain have to built up? Are there any character strings that can't be registered?

A valid domain must be comprised solely of the digits 0-9, the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, the hyphens and the other letters listed in the Annex of the DENIC Domain Guidelines. Hyphens are not permitted in first or last place, nor is it possible for both the third and fourth places to be hyphens at the same time (such as xn--.de). No distinction is made between capital and small letters (upper and lower case). The minimum length of a .de domain is one character and the maximum length is 63 characters (cf. RFC1035). If the domain includes letters from the Annex, the maximum length is determined by its ACE version in accordance with RFC3490.

You should read carefully what DENIC's Domain Guidelines say about this.

It is possible for further sub-domains to be set up under my domain?

Yes. It is possible to divide a domain up into sub-domains (a sub-domain of bigcity-university.de would be, for instance, info.bigcity-university.de). However, such sub-domains are not registered by DENIC, but have to be set up by you or your provider. If you want to use the web address http://www.subdomain.de-beispieldomain.de, then DENIC will register the domain de-beispieldomain.de for you. To get the sub-domain subdomain.de-beispieldomain.de set up you should then contact your provider.

What preconditions do I have to satisfy to be able to register a .de domain?

When you register a .de domain you conclude a contract, so you must satisfy all the conditions that apply to the conclusion of any sort of legally binding contract. First of all, that means that you be capable of entering into legally binding rights and duties, which any natural individual or legal entity is certainly capable of doing. Secondly you must be capable of conducting business or you must be effectively represented.

Who makes sure that the domain I request does not collide with the rights of third parties?

It is possible that the registration or use of a domain infringes the rights of others. DENIC makes it quite clear in its Domain Guidelines and Domain Terms and Conditions that it is your duty, before you register a domain, to check whether this domain might infringe any rights. Apart from that, of course, it is in your own interest, to perform such a check, since if, in the final analysis it turns out that your domain does infringe the rights of others, you will, in case of doubt, find you have problems with the holders of those rights, resulting in the loss of the domain.

In order to find out if other people might have conflicting rights, the least you can do, for instance, is the following:

Firstly, you should see if there are any (trade)marks that are identical or similar to your domain that have been registered or applied for with the German Patent and Trademark Office (Deutschen Patent- und Markenamt , DPMA). You can find that out from the information center of the patent office, through a commercial (trade)mark search service or with the assistance of patent attorneys or lawyers.

Secondly, you should check whether companies that are identical or similar to your domain have been entered in the commercial register. This sort of search is already available online, at least partially. Apart from that, you might find that institutions such as a German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer, IHK) would be able to assist you or, again, you could turn to a legal professional.

Thirdly, it is advisable to make use of the other search facilities available, such as Internet search engines, commercial registers or even the Yellow Pages.
If you find out that someone else might also have a right to the domain, you must do what a court of law would do in the event of litigation, namely, weigh up whose right is greater, yours or the other party's. This is exceedingly difficult to do, since even court judgements in domain cases are partly contradictory. Reviewing these judgements, one aspect that usually seems to play an important role is "priority", which means establishing who has been effectively using a particular designation longer. Another important consideration is the public familiarity with the designations and/or their users.

If there is any doubt - especially if you yourself feel apprehensive - you should most certainly obtain professional advice (from a lawyer, for instance, or from a patent lawyer, if trademark rights are an issue). In unclear cases, paying for specialist advice beforehand often costs a lot less than being sued later on by someone whose rights you had overlooked. You might also find it helpful to search for further information yourself (perhaps using the Internet) on matters such as court judgements.

How can I check whether the domain I would like infringes the rights of others?

It is possible for the registration or use of a domain to infringe the rights of others. DENIC makes it quite clear in its Domain Guidelines and Domain Terms and Conditions that it is your duty, before you register a domain to check whether this domain might involve infringing rights. Apart from that, of course, it is in your own interest, to perform such a check, since if, in the final analysis it transpires that your domain does infringe the rights of others, you will, in case of doubt, find you have problems with the holders of those rights, resulting in the loss of the domain.

In order to find out if other people might have conflicting rights, the least you can do, for instance, is the following:

Firstly, you should see if there are any (trade)marks that are identical or similar to your domain that have been registered or applied for with the German Patent and Trademark Office (Deutschen Patent- und Markenamt , DPMA). You can find that out from the information centre of the patent office, through a commercial (trade)mark search service or with the assistance of patent attorneys or lawyers.

Secondly, you should check whether companies that are identical or similar to your domain have been entered in the commercial register. This sort of search is already available online (at least partially). Apart from that, you might find that a German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer, IHK) would be able to assist you or, again, you could turn to a legal professional.

Thirdly, it is advisable to make use of the other search facilities available, such as Internet search engines, commercial registers or even the Yellow Pages.

If you find out that someone else might also have a right to the domain, you must also do what a court of law would do in the event of litigation, namely, weigh up whose right is greater, yours or the other party's. This is exceedingly difficult to do, since even court judgements in domain cases are partly contradictory. Reviewing these judgements, one aspect that usually seems to play an important role is "priority", which means establishing who has been effectively using a particular designation longer. Another important consideration is the public familiarity with the designations and/or their users.

If there is any doubt (especially if you yourself feel apprehensive), you should most certainly obtain professional advice (from a lawyer, for instance). In unclear cases, paying for specialist advice beforehand often costs a lot less than being sued later on by someone whose rights you had overlooked. You might also find it helpful to search for further information yourself (perhaps using the Internet) on matters such as court judgements.

What consequences will it have for me if I supply inaccurate data when ordering a domain?

When you order a domain, you are required to ensure that the correct and complete data is given for the domain holder and any other named contacts. If you fail to do that, such as by indicating an irrelevant address or a false name, you run the risk of losing the domain later on. Wrong data gives DENIC the right to terminate the Domain Contract without giving you any notice beforehand. Be warned that it is a right that DENIC does not hesitate to use.

Why does DENIC insist on particular forms for our communication?

DENIC provides forms for many transactions. That makes the job easier for both you and us. All you have to do is print out the forms and complete them. This way DENIC can be sure it will receive the declarations needed. Clarifications become unnecessary and delays are avoided.

The reason why DENIC asks you to send in the provided forms signed by you (or your representative) is to prevent misunderstandings at some later date.

Is there always a direct contractual relationship between the domain holder and DENIC?

Whenever you register a domain, it always leads to the creation of a domain contract directly between DENIC and you, the domain holder, even if the registration is handled by a provider. That has to be so, since DENIC, the registry, is the only body that can provide the service "domain" – and actually does this in practice. The contents of the domain contract are determined by DENIC's Domain Terms and Conditions and its Domain Guidelines.

What are the costs associated with a .de-domain?

Fundamentally, two different routes are available to you for arranging to have a .de-domain registered:

One of them is to get your domain registered through a provider who is a DENIC member or who works with a DENIC member. Each provider has their own basis for calculating prices and will usually offer various packages with different ranges of services. For that reason, we cannot give you any indication as to what you will have to pay in a specific case. You should get all the additional information you need from the providers concerned.

The other route is to use our own service, DENICdirect. What we charge is always published in our most recent price list. As a not-for-profit organization, we are bound to offer this service at cost price. The prices you pay at DENICdirect are thus generally higher than those charged by providers, who are often able to offer you considerably lower prices for domain registration as part of standardized, customized packaged services.

How long does it take to process a domain registration?

The processing of domain requests has to go via a DENIC member. There are two interfaces which may be used by the members. If the Mail Registry Interface in used, DENIC first sends an acknowledgement of receipt to the member concerned. Incomming requests were processed requests immediately and the member receives either a confirmation of the processing or an error message. Currently, processing takes as a rule about five minutes (longer if our system happens to be undergoing maintenance). Alternatively, members can use the Realtime Registry Interface. In this case, the confirmation of the processing or an error message is received directly after transmitting the request.

But please note that your provider will need some time as well to process your application. Should there ever be a delay in processing your request, the first person to contact therefor is your provider, in order to make sure that they really have already submitted the job in your name and so that they can request a detailed report on the status of your job if there is an unusual delay.

How and where can I arrange for my domain to be registered?

The registration of a .de domain can be arranged through any provider who is either a DENIC member themselves or who works with a DENIC member. The usual practice is that registration will be offered to you as part of the package of planning your Internet presence or that it will be an automatic part of an Internet-access package.

Once you have decided in favour of a particular provider, you can also apply to register your domain directly through them. We would ask you to understand that we are unable to give any prices for the registration of .de domains in cases like this since, each provider decides themselves what to charge.

If you don't want to have your domain registration undertaken by a provider, you have the alternative of entrusting it to our DENICdirect service. We will then charge our services to you in accordance with the most recent DENIC price list. In arriving at your decision, please consider that we will not provide you with any additional Internet services, such as web space or e-mail accounts. These are services that you will then have to organize yourself or order from a provider. For these reasons, most domain holders prefer to have registration handled by a provider.

Regardless of the route by which you arrange to have your domain registered, a contractual relationship is created between you as the domain holder and DENIC as the registry. To conclude the contract, it is necessary that the registration is in compliance with the conditions stipulated in DENIC's Domain Guidelines. The contractual provisions are summarized in DENIC's DomainTerms and Conditions.

What can I do if the domain I would like to have has already been registered for someone else?

DENIC always registers domains on a “first-come, first-served” basis. If someone else registered before you, there are only two things you can do. Firstly, you could settle for a different name for your domain. Secondly, you could try contacting the domain holder (whose identity you can find from the web whois on our homepage) and ask them if they would be willing to transfer the domain to you and, if so, what their conditions would be. The only exception to this might be if you can show that you have a greater right to the domain than its current holder. We have put some advice together for you on how to proceed in such instances. You will find it in the “Legal Information” section of our website. Our FAQs also include a segment for prospective holders interested in a domain that has already been registered.

How does a correct name-server entry have to look like?

All information is made availlable to you on our website in section Nameserver  NSentry Data.

How does a correct NSentry have to look like?

All information is made availlable to you on our website in section Nameserver  NSentry Data.