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The Domain Database – Central Register of all .de Domains

Every month, five or six-digit numbers of new domains are registered in DENIC's domain database. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of existing domain registrations are updated.

Besides the name service, the management of the domain database for .de and the related registration system is the second of the supporting pillars on which DENIC's services are based. Both together are essential prerequisites for the smooth functioning of the Internet in Germany.

A Telephone Directory for the Internet

A website or a service can only be found on the Internet if the address that is supposed to lead there is globally unique and clearly identifiable. This is why a domain may exist only once under each Top-Level Domain – that is under each address ending such as .de or .com. Examples are denic.de, denic.net, denic.info, denic.online and so on.

To ensure that a domain is really unique, for each Top-Level Domain there is a central register in which all domains with the corresponding ending are entered. For all Internet addresses with the ending .de, this central register is kept by DENIC. DENIC manages the database containing all .de domains, the "telephone directory“ of the Internet so to speak.

Whether a new domain with the ending .de is registered, whether an existing one is made available via a different name server or whether a domain is deleted: All this data finds its way into DENIC's domain database. At regular intervals, a copy of the then current domain inventory - the so-called .de zone - is sent to the DENIC name server network, which is distributed all over the world. Thus, updates are made available to all Internet users.

Equal Rights for All

Domains are registered in line with the "first come, first served" principle. Which request is entered first into DENIC’s database through the registration system? This is the all-important question.

Given the vast number of transactions, DENIC performs all domain registrations and data updates completely automatically by means of an electronic registration system that is available round the clock. Currently, the system processes more than a million requests and several billions of queries per month.

Only Internet Service Providers who are members of DENIC have direct access to this registration system. Other providers that want to register domains for their customers must work together with a DENIC member for this purpose.

Registrants who do not want to involve a provider can also register directly with DENIC. However, this does not include further services such as the provision of webspace or e-mail accounts.

Confidentiality, Integrity, Authenticity

Strict security measures exclude unauthorised persons from accessing the data in the registration system and prevent data manipulation. The registration system checks the integrity of the contents of a domain request and verifies the identity of the requesting DENIC member. Thus, we ensure that only the member that has been entrusted with the administration of a domain by a client can change the data of the corresponding domain.

Certain data of the domain database is accessible to the public for information. This allows everyone to make a query to find out whether a specific .de domain is still available. This information service is also known as "whois".

Security on the Highest Level

DENIC operates two identical, ultra-modern data centers, one in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and one in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In these data centers, the registration services are made available.

All infrastructure components and server systems in the decentralised data centers, which are geographically far apart from each other, are redundant, that is the infrastructure is duplicated at several facilities. These redundant components having the same functions are not required in normal operation. But they provide for a very high degree of reliability, system stability and resilience to failure.

The data center platform makes ample use of innovative technologies, thus enabling the automation of processes, which can be carried out very quickly and efficiently. This, in turn, enables DENIC to implement new functions and improvements several times a day, even during ongoing operation. Moreover, in emergencies we can quickly switch over from the active data center to the redundant one.