A 'domain name' is a name in the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the Internet naming system by which networks, computers, webservers, mail servers and other applications are identified.A domain name must be unique. Domain names must also satisfy a number of technical requirements. We make a distinction here between non-IDN domain names and IDN domain names.
DNS Belgium will not accept the following domain names for registration:
- names that are already registered (“first come, first served” -principle)
- for .be domain names: names in quarantine, names that are put "out-of-support" or on hold
- for .brussels or .vlaanderen domain names: names with a special status, for instance “pending restore” or “locked”
- for .brussels of .vlaanderen domain names: names in an specific situation, for instance “grace period” or “redemption grace period”
- for non-IDN domain names:
- names that consist of less than two characters or more than 63 characters
- names that contain other characters than ‘a-z’, ‘0-9’ or ‘-“
- names with a ‘-‘ on the third and fourth position
- names that start or end with a ‘-‘
- for Internationalized domain names:
- names where the U-label consists of less than 2 characters or names where the A-label and/or U-label consist of more than 63 characters
- names where the U-label starts of ends with a ‘-‘
- names where the U-label contains a ‘-‘ on the third and fourth position
- names where the U-label contains other characters than mentioned in the table below
The following categories of .brussels and .vlaanderen domain names have limitations:
- Names with just 2 characters are reserved and will only be granted to requestors who have the authorisation from the national government or the registry of the country code in question
- Names of countries are also reserved and will only be granted to requestors who have the authorisation from the national government of the country in question
- Names of international organisations, such as the Red Cross, are also reserved and will only be granted to the organisations in question
You will find more information in the general terms and conditions for .be or the general terms and conditions for .vlaanderen and .brussels.
How your browser deals with IDN domain names
The ability to operate with IDN domain names has existed since IDNA 2003, which is a standard developed to enable various applications to work with accents. All recent browsers support the IDNA 2003 standard. Unseen by you, your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) will use special coding to convert an IDN domain name into an ASCII form (a form that only uses ordinary letters, number and a hyphen) so that you can navigate to that address. For example, your browser will convert www.dñs.be to www.xn--ds-zja.be. Except in most cases you won’t notice anything.
DNS Belgium implements IDNA 2008, which is a development of the IDNA 2003 standard. For the character set that DNS Belgium offers, there is no difference between the two versions, except for the German ß. In IDNA 2003, this character is converted into ‘ss’, which means that browsers that don’t yet support IDNA 2008, will not convert domain names with an ß to an ASCII form, but the ß will simply be replaced by ‘ss’. For example, when you go to www.dnßbelgium.be, most browsers will direct you to www.dnssbelgium.be, meaning that you will arrive at a different website. At the current time, only the Opera browser supports IDNA 2008.
If another party has registered the ‘ss’ variant of a domain name with an ß, depending on the browser they are using, users may be taken either to your website or to another website. For this reason, it is recommended that you also register domain names with an ß with a version featuring ‘ss’.
ICANNThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organisation that is responsible worldwide for managing domain names.
NTIAThe division of the US Department of Trade that handles the domain name system.
IANAThe Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is responsible for the global coordination of the DNS Root, IP addressing, and other internet protocol resources.
CENTRCouncil of European National Top-level domain Registries. It is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the interest of country code TLD managers.
U-labelA U-label is an IDN domain name with special characters, such as belgië.be
A-labelAn A-label is the ASCII version of a U-label; in other words: an A-label uses ASCII characters only (A-Z, 0-9 and/or ‘-’) to display the domain name. This conversion is carried out automatically by the DNS Belgium registration system. This conversion is required to enable your browser to surf to the correct page. For example, the U-label belgië.be is displayed as xn--belgi-rsa.be when converted to an A-label.