Does Su Internet TLD exist

Domain Name Questions and Answers

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Domain names in general

The registration of .ch domain names

Domain names in general

What is a domain name?

Imagine if you could just type in the name of the person you want to call instead of the phone number while calling. That would be very useful as names are much easier to remember than numbers. Domain names offer this convenience on the Internet. Computers connected to the Internet communicate with each other using numeric IP addresses that uniquely identify each computer. Such an address looks like this: The Domain Name System DNS enables the use of domain names instead of IP addresses. The SWITCH website, for example, can be accessed not only via the web server's IP address, but also via the domain name Like IP addresses, domain names must be unique. In order to guarantee this, the allocation is carried out by various central offices (registries).

What domain names are there? What do the endings .ch, .li, .com etc. mean?

The namespace of the Domain Name System DNS has a hierarchical structure. At the top are the so-called Top Level Domains (TLD). On the one hand there are the generic top level domains (gTLD) such as com, net, org, which are not assigned to a specific country. On the other hand, there are numerous country-specific top level domains, called Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD). These include ch (Switzerland), li (Principality of Liechtenstein), de (Germany), fr (France), it (Italy), uk (England) and many more.

Below the top level domain are the so-called second level domains. SWITCH therefore manages the second level domains under the TLDs ch and li. The third level domain (also called sub-domain) is defined in the local network and is mostly used to designate independent sub-areas of a domain, e.g. The www in front of the domain name is the host name, which is also defined locally (i.e. usually by the provider).

See also registration authorities

Why have your own domain name?

Your domain name is your unmistakable identity on the Internet. In and of itself, having your own domain name is not a requirement for realizing a website. Your website could also be accessed via the hosting provider's domain name. This would look like this, for example: Mostly this is the case with free web hosting offers. Such addresses are difficult to remember, not exactly nice and above all provider-dependent. As soon as you change the provider, the previous address would no longer be valid for your website. With your own domain name, the address for your website always remains the same and is directly related to you, your company or your business area.

What can I use a domain name for?

The domain name is usually used for one's own homepage (company presence, web shop, web business card, private website, etc.) as well as for e-mail addresses. The domain name can lead to a website that already exists at a different address. You can also do without a website altogether and only use the domain name for e-mail addresses. Forwarding to an existing e-mail address is also possible. A website can be accessed under several domain names. You can therefore use several variants of your (company) name or different product names as domain names that all lead to the same website. The same name can also be registered under several top level domains (e.g. ch and com).

However, it is also possible to register a domain name without actively using it. For example, because you are not ready with your website. Or it is about registering a domain name to prevent a competitor from using the name.

How do I get my domain name?

Since domain names must be unique worldwide, they are assigned by a central office (registry) and their recognized registrars. Such a registration authority is usually responsible for a single TLD, sometimes for several TLDs. SWITCH is the central registry for domain names with the endings .ch and .li. Such domain names can be registered via the recognized registrars. For domain names with other endings, contact the relevant registration authorities (see next section) or a registrar / provider. There are usually costs for registering a domain name.

Registration offices: Where can I register domain names with extensions such as .ch, .com, .de etc.?

SWITCH is the central registry for domain names with the endings .ch and .li. Such domain names can be registered via the recognized registrars. For domain names with other endings (or under other top level domains), it is best to contact a registrar or the provider with whom you want to host your website.

List of central registries

Depending on the top level domain, domain names can be registered directly with the registry or (as with .ch and .li) only through recognized registrars.

Neighboring countries
Germany - France - Italy - Austria

Country Code (National) Top Level Domains
List of registries for ccTLDs

Generic top level domains
List of registries for gTLDs

All top level domains
List of all top level domains at IANA

What is a good domain name? Tips for choosing a name

A good domain name should be easy to remember and relate to you, your company or your products, services, etc. For the sake of conciseness and memorability, a domain name should not be too long. Special characters (e.g. characters with umlauts and accents) are possible depending on the top level domain, but you should consider that users in other countries may have problems entering these characters or that browsers and other software may not yet support them.

There is also the question of under which top level domains (ch, com, etc.) one should register one's desired name. In terms of functionality, it makes no difference, all TLDs work across the Internet. Many consider the TLD com to be international, so internationally active companies prefer to register domain names with the ending .com, often in addition to .ch domain names. Sometimes the availability of a domain name also decides under which TLD you register. It is also possible to have multiple domain names that lead to the same website.

See also rules for domain names

What does it take to use the domain name?

In order for the domain name to be used for a website, e-mail or other services, name servers are required. The web server and mail server must also be set up. These services are usually provided by a hosting provider for a fee. SWITCH does not provide any such services itself.

How do I find a provider / hoster? Does SWITCH offer such services?

An Internet service provider ISP gives you access to the Internet (access provider) on the one hand, and on the other hand you can place your website with the provider (hosting provider). The selection of providers is large and the offer is diverse. This website can be useful for you when looking for a Swiss ISP. Or you can contact one of our registrars, many of whom offer web hosting, also in connection with the registration of domain names. SWITCH itself does not offer any such services.

How can I check whether a domain name is free?
How can I find out who is the holder of a domain name?

For domain names with the ending .ch and .li:

Select "Query" in the navigation. Enter the domain name in the input field and click on "Query". If the domain name is already registered, the registrar and technical information are displayed. No information on the holder of the domain name is displayed, you can find more information here. If the domain name has not yet been registered, the "List of all registrars" button leads to a list of the registrars with whom the domain name can be registered.

For domain names with other extensions:

Use the query options of the respective registration authority.

A domain name is registered, but there is no website under that name, why?

The most common reason for this is that the domain name was registered without a name server. The name servers are usually entered when the domain name and the website are activated by the hosting provider. But even if a domain name has entered name servers, this does not yet mean that a website can also be found. It is possible that the web server (on which the website files are located) is not yet ready or the files have not yet been installed. Or the domain name is only used for email or FTP. It is also possible that the name servers are not (no longer) configured correctly.

Where can I get IP addresses from?

You can usually get IP addresses from your Internet service provider. The providers are assigned IP address ranges by the so-called Regional Internet Registries.

The IP address space is currently administered by five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) worldwide: RIPE NCC, ARIN, APNIC, LACNIC and AfriNIC. The RIPE NCC in Amsterdam is responsible for the European area. The RIPE NCC assigns large address blocks to its members, the local Internet Registries (LIRs). These are local Internet service providers who, in turn, assign IP addresses to their customers.

The registration of .ch domain names

Where do I register my .ch domain name?

You can register domain names with the ending .ch with one of the recognized registrars. It is no longer possible to register directly with SWITCH.

What is a registrar?

A registrar is a company that has a contract with a registry (e.g. SWITCH) and offers its customers the registration of domain names in addition to other services (e.g. web hosting). The registrar is therefore a reseller partner of a registry.

List of recognized registrars

Can SWITCH recommend a registrar to me?

For reasons of neutrality and equal treatment of all registrars, SWITCH does not make any recommendations.

What role does SWITCH play with regard to domain names and the Internet?

In addition to its main task of operating the research network in Switzerland, SWITCH has been managing the domain names for the top level domain .ch (Switzerland) since the dawn of the Internet and for a long time also for the top level domain .li (Liechtenstein). SWITCH fulfills this task on behalf of the Federal Office of Communication OFCOM and the Office of Communication of the Principality of Liechtenstein. SWITCH is thus the official registry for .ch and .li domain names, but no longer the point of contact for customers or holders of domain names. This task is carried out by SWITCH's contractual partners, the registrars. SWITCH does not offer any other services in connection with the Internet (Internet access and e-mail, web hosting, web design). Please contact one of the registrars, a provider or a web design company.

Are there any restrictions on my choice of name? Domain Name Rules

The rules for valid domain names are not the same for all registries. The rules for domain names with the endings .ch and .li are defined in the SWITCH GTC, in particular in section 3.1. A list of permitted characters can be found in the appendices to the GTC (see also which letters and characters are permitted). The maximum length for a domain name is 63 characters, the minimum 3 characters. Municipality names can only be registered for the respective municipality. Before registering a domain name, it must be clarified whether this violates the rights of third parties. SWITCH cannot check the right to a specific domain name and assumes that the holder has the authorization.

Which letters and characters are allowed?

For a domain name with the ending .ch or .li, the following characters are permitted in accordance with the terms and conditions appendix 1 and 2:

From the ASCII character set:

From the Latin-1 Supplement and Latin Extended-A character sets:

Can a domain name also contain umlauts and accents?

Since March 1, 2004, domain names under ch and li can also contain characters with umlauts and accents and other non-ASCII characters. A list of all permitted characters can be found in the appendix to the terms and conditions (see also which letters and characters are permitted). Such domain names are called Internationalized Domain Names IDN. Because the DNS still does not support these characters, a translation must take place in the background. Since this standard is still quite new, the functioning of such domain names cannot be guaranteed in every case. It is advisable not to rely on one IDN alone for important applications.

More about Internationalized Domain Names IDN

Do you have to be Swiss to register a .ch domain name?

You don't have to be Swiss or have your place of residence / company headquarters in Switzerland to register a .ch domain name. Therefore, with a .ch domain name, one cannot assume that a Swiss company or a person from Switzerland is behind it.

What does a domain name cost?

The costs for registering a domain name with the ending .ch depend on the registrar with whom the domain name is registered. The provider incurs additional costs for using the domain name on the Internet (setting up a web server, name servers, etc.).

Is it possible to register a domain name inactive (i.e. without a name server)?

You can register a domain name without actively using it. For example, if your website isn't ready yet or you just want to prevent a competitor from using that name.

Transitional period: will a domain name become available immediately after it has been deleted?

After a .ch or .li domain name has been deleted, it is in the so-called transition period for 40 days (see GTC 3.3.3). During this time it cannot be re-registered. During this period, the holder of the domain name can contact the registrar to restore the domain name.

Who can I contact for changes (activation / activation of the domain name, entering / changing name servers, changing providers, updating contact data)?

For all matters relating to your .ch domain name, please contact the registrar who administers this domain name. Use the domain name query to find the registrar of your domain name and view their contact information.

Which registrar manages my domain name?

In most cases, this is the provider where your website is hosted. Use the domain name query to find the registrar of your domain name and view their contact information.

How can I change my domain name to another registrar?

You need a transfer code (Auth code) to transfer or move your domain name to another registrar. You can get this from your current registrar. Then give the code to the new registrar.

What do I do if I have problems or disputes with the registrar?

The contract between you and your registrar is private and disputes about the performance of the contract are to be resolved under civil law. If you have any differences, contact your lawyer or the local consumer protection department. However, the registrar is obliged to enable the holder to transfer to another registrar at any time. Civil law claims due to non-performance of the contract are reserved.

How long will it take to reach my website?
How long does it take for changes to the name servers on the Internet to take effect?

After entering new name servers for a domain name, these name servers must also be entered in the zone file so that the domain name works on the Internet. This happens automatically and takes place at the latest one hour after the name server has been entered / changed.

  • A domain name that previously did not have a name server can be accessed a maximum of one hour after the change has been made.
  • If the name servers have been changed for the domain name (e.g. change of provider), depending on the configuration of the previous name server, it can take a few hours or even days for the new name servers to respond for the domain name.

My domain name is not working. My website cannot be found.

This can have different causes:

  • The domain name does not yet have a name server.
  • The (new) name servers are not yet entered in the zone file.
  • The name servers are entered, but are not (no longer) configured correctly.
  • The web server is not ready yet. Be it because it has not yet been set up or because the data has not yet been installed.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact your registrar or hosting provider.

See also How long does it take to reach my website
See also Who can I contact for changes