What is TMCH – Trademark Clearing House?

It is an organisation established to protect trademark owners during the launch of new domain name extensions. TMCH offers trademark owners the opportunity to register their brand name in a central, worldwide database. You can register with TMCH for 1, 3 or 5 years. If your registered trademark is registered in the TMCH database, you can take part in the sunrises for all new extensions during this period. Any possible misuse of your brand name will also be reported: if another party registers your brand name under a new extension, the actual trademark owner receives a notification from TMCH. If, as a trademark owner, you wish to register one or more brand names under different new domain extensions, you are recommended to contact TMCH. Find out more!

What is ICANN – Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers?

This non-profit organisation is the international authority in domain name management.
More information at www.icann.org.

Why the new extensions .vlaanderen and .brussels?

DNS Belgium believes these new extensions contribute to realising our mission, which is to stimulate companies and individuals to be present online. And thus to stimulate the online market.

For .vlaanderen the objective is to enable citizens and companies to link online to Flanders’ values, to the local market as to outlet, production or origin. Thus to build a strong brand both nationally and internationally.

The Brussels government wants to emphasize Brussel’s international character online and thus attract more tourism, sports events, business events, cultural happenings and festivities in Brussels.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS is the system that converts domain names into IP addresses. Whenever 'thisisme2.be' is entered, your computer establishes a link with a DNS server, which contains the IP address for every domain name. Using this information, the computer then connects to that IP address.

What does DNS Belgium do?

DNS Belgium is a not-for-profit association that has handled the registration of all .be domain names since 1999. To use the trade jargon, we are a 'ccTLD-operator' or a 'registry', because we maintain the register of all .be domain names.
To make it easier to visualise, simply compare us with a telephone exchange for the internet in Belgium. Our job is to ensure that when someone enters a .be domain name into their browser, they are switched through to the right server. Which is quite a job, because there are hundreds of thousands of domain names that may be called up millions of times a day.
Anyone has been able to register a .be domain name in Belgium since 11th December 2000. Since this liberalisation, the number of .be domain names has risen from around 40,000 at the end of 2000 to over 800,000 in 2008.

Where can I register a domain name?

Only registrars are allowed to register domain names. And to be able to do that, they need to have a contract with DNS Belgium. You can go to any registrar to register a domain name.
Like most other domain name managers, DNS Belgium also uses the 'registry-registrar model'. This means that the manager (DNS Belgium) allows certain businesses (the registrars) to make modifications to the registry of domain names. DNS Belgium does not 'sell' domain names itself, but merely manages the registry of names.

A registrar is allowed to create new domain names, as well as keep the contact details of registrants up to date and determine the name servers for the domain names. The advantage of this is that registrants (and there are thousands of them) can go directly to their registrar if they have any questions. That way they can get assistance faster.

What is a sub-domain name?

A sub-domain name is a name that you attach to your domain name, such as 'hobby.thisisme2.be'. In this case, the domain name is 'thisisme2' and the sub-domain name is 'hobby'. In theory, you can create as many sub-domain names as you like.

Extensions and levels

You can divide up your domain name into different levels. Hence you can have 'top level', 'second level', 'third level', etc. The different levels are indicated by a full-stop or dot in the domain name. You can identify the level by reading the various parts of the domain name from right to left.In the example of 'manual.thisisme2.be', '.be' is the top level, 'thisisme2' is the second level and 'manual' is the third level.

TLDs (Top Level Domains)

The final part of www.thisisme2.be is '.be'. This is a ccTLD, which is one of two types of TLD. ccTLD stands for 'country code top level domain', and is the code for the country where the website is based. In the countries neighbouring Belgium, it is '.nl' for the Netherlands, '.fr' for France, '.de' for Germany and '.uk' or '.co.uk' for the United Kingdom.
The list of TLDs is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The TLDs are managed separately by the TLD operators, which are also known as registries. They work like a telephone exchange by switching incoming calls for a domain name through to the correct servers. DNS Belgium is the registry for '.be' domain names.

What are the fees charged to the registrars?

These are the fees for the different transactions charged to the registrars in case of a .be domain name:

  • € 4,00 (excl. VAT) for:

the registration of a new name
the yearly rental fee for continued use of a domain name
the transfer to another registrar
the transfer to another registrant

  • Updating contact details of a domain name is without charge.
  • A 'Monitored Update' is without charge.
  • For the reactivation of a domain name in quarantine, however, registrars are charged € 10,00 (excl. VAT).
  • The transfer of a domain name in quarantine is charged € 40,00 (excl. VAT).
  • The activation of the Domain Guard service, amounts to € 80,00 VAT excl. per year. This fee includes 4 temporary deactivations of Domain Guard per year.

These are the fees for the different transactions charged to the registrars in case of a .brussels or .vlaanderen domain name:

  • € 20,00 (excl. VAT) for:

the registration of a new name
the yearly rental fee for continued use of a domain name
the transfer to another registrar

  • Updating contact details of a domain name is without charge.
  • Updating the registrant by the current registrar is without charge.
  • For the restore of a domain name in redemption, registrars are charged € 40,00 (excl. VAT).


Is my name still free?

To see if the name you would like to register is still free, you can use the Whois Search feature on our website.

How do I get an internet connection?

You can get an internet connection via a so called ISP (Internet Service Provider). Depending on whether you need a fixed IP address (typically for usage over leased lines and such), you will have to stop by a Local Internet Registry (LIR) (most ISP's will take care of this for you).

Why does my registrar/ISP charge more than you do?

DNS Belgium does not impose fixed prices for its registrars. Each registrar is free to determine its own price policy taking into account its costs and the services offered. DNS Belgium has a completely automated registration system which enables the registrar to register your domain name. This system makes it possible for us to force down prices. The registrar, on the other hand, has to execute several transactions and will have to check some data. This research brings about extra costs multiplying by several times the amount determined by DNS Belgium. Nevertheless we are convinced that the large number of registrars and competition between these guarantee an honest price for a domain name.
Finally note that in many cases a domain name is merely part of a range of services such as webspace, e-mail addresses etc. In such case it is unrealistic to compare with DNS Belgium prices.

Can I connect my (free) website?

for instance: http://members.freeprovider.com/~myname.html to www.mydomain.be? We only register domain names, this means that we connect mydomain.be to the nameservers of your provider. All other services (like www, ftp, mail etc...) are organized by your provider. It is this nameserver provider who can make the connection to your (free) website. Although this is technically possible, both providers should allow this operation, if one doesn't agree it can't work. For more details contact your provider(s).

Can I get a list of all domain names?

No, this is against the Belgian privacy legislation and such a list can be abused for spamming. Our whois service can be used to find some information, this can be done using our whois server whois.dns.be or using our website: Whois Search in the top banner. Subsequently interrogating our whois server will be seen as abuse, this can result in the blocking of your IP address for a certain time.

Can I setup my own webserver, and do I need a provider in that case?

This has nothing to do with us, we only make connections to nameservers, not to webservers. The only thing we need to know is the nameservers on which your domain name will be hosted. It is the responsibility of your registrar to fill in these nameservers in the application templates.

Can I register my domain name without nameservers for the moment and add them later?

It is possible to register a domain name without nameservers. However, you should be aware that your domain name will not function.

How much does a website cost with you?

We do not host websites, this is done by providers. We only connect domain names (domainname.be , and not www.domainname.be) to the nameservers of your provider. It is this nameserver provider who makes a connection to your website.

Can I become an registrar and what are the conditions?

If you are a company and you are prepared to accept the conditions, you can become a registrar. You can find more information under "Become a registrar".

Can I register a .com (or .nl,.de,.fr,.eu etc...) domain name with you?

No, .com domains are managed by Internic. Please take a look at their website (www.internic.net) or contact your provider. For domain names with other extensions please take a look at domain name services.

Somebody else registered my name, what can I do?

If it is your company name, a tradename or trademark, and the other company cannot claim any legal rights to the name it registered, you should appeal to the Alternative Dispute Procedure. This is a fast procedure that typically takes about 50 days between the submission of the complaint and the decision of the mediator.
More information about the ADR Prodedure can be found here.These disputes can be treated by traditional courts as well.In all other cases (e.g. generic names), nothing can be done since this is a "first come, first served" system.

What needs to happen with a transfer procedure after a Cepina case?

DNS Belgium will implement the ruling of the third-party arbitrator 15 days after Cepina has handed down this ruling, unless the registrant initiates an appeal procedure for the dispute resolution process during this period. In this case, DNS Belgium will take no further action (and will keep the domain name “on hold” in the meantime) until the appeal procedure has been completed or halted.

If no appeal procedure is initiated, DNS Belgium will transfer the domain name to a temporary account belonging to DNS Belgium. It will also replace the details of the registrant by the details of the complainant and send the transfer code to the e-mail address given by the complainant to Cepina. The complainant then just needs to give this transfer code to its registrar to move the domain name to the registrar in question. 

Can I transfer my domain name to another registrar?

Yes, you can. More details about the transfer procedure can be found on our website.
A transfer implies that your registration period starts again and that your registrar will have to pay the fee for a new registration to DNS Belgium.

How to transfer a domain name to a new registrant?

To transfer a domain name to a new registrant, the transfer procedure should be used. For more information about this procedure click here.

The e-mail address is not correct, so I do not obtain a transfer code. Who changes it?

When there is an incorrect e-mail address, the registrant contacts its current registrar with the request to change the e-mail address. The registrar is then obliged to change the address. It is also technically possible to carry out this change with a domain name that is in quarantine. Also see.

Whose e-mail address is given in the contact information for a domain name?

The e-mail address given in the contact information of a registrant must be the address of the registrant itself or its authorised representative and not the address of the registrar or the reseller, except if the registrant expressly requests.

What if the registrar refuses to change the e-mail address?

If the registrar refuses to change the e-mail address at the request of the registrant itself, you can lodge a complaint (attaching the e-mails sent) with the legal department of DNS Belgium via legal@dnsbelgium.be. The legal department will investigate the complaint and contact the registrar. If the registrar is unable to give a valid reason and refuses to carry out the update, DNS Belgium will do it in the registrar’s place and invoice any costs involved to the registrar.

I am receiving an error message when entering the transfer code. Why is that?

This usually happens if you also enter "www." or ".be" before or after the domain name.

What happens if my registrar is no longer a be registrar?

Whenever the contract between a registrar and DNS Belgium terminates there are 2 possibilities:   
  1. Takeover by another registrar:    
Another registrar takes over the whole portfolio of domain names. Your registrar should inform you of this takeover and the registrar transfer is free of charge. You have of course the opportunity to appoint a different registrar at any time but in that case the transfer becomes paying and the expiry date of your domain will be changed.    
  1. No takeover:    
All domains will be (temporarily) transferred to DNS Belgium who will contact all registrants. You are invited to choose as soon as possible a new registrar to host your domain since we cannot guarantee the nameservers of the old registrar to remain operational. 
What does the (new) registrar do?   
To be able to transfer your domain name check our transfer procedure. No charge will be made to the registrar for a transfer of this type and the domain name will retain its original renewal date. However, a transfer fee will apply if the domain name has reached its expiry date, and the renewal date will be altered accordingly.   
In case you should not have appointed another registrar on the expiry date of your domain, we send you another letter to inform you that your domain name is put 'out of service'. Two months later the domain name will be deactivated (which means that website / e-mail will no longer be operational). After another three months your domain name will be released and will be available for anybody to register.
How do I get a new registrar?   
You should contact a company listed on our website. DNS Belgium does not charge the registrar for this transaction. (Unless it is the end of a registration period and you want to renew it, in that case the status of the domain will be 'OUT OF SERVICE').  

What does it mean when a domain name has the status quarantine, on hold, out of service?

Detailed information on the various possibilities can be found here.

When will a quarantined domain be released?

Remember : when a registrar deletes a domain name it is put 'in quarantine' (more information?). The domain name is 'frozen' for 40 days and no transactions can be carried out, except for these two:   
a REACTIVATE: transaction that can restore a quarantined domain to the condition it was in before the delete.    
A transfer initiated during the quarantine period (transfer from quarantine)
General principle: the automatic release program will only free a domain name if a full 40 days have passed.
Names are freed 24 times a day, each time on the hour (1.00, 2.00, 3.00, etc.)
Contrary to the former transfer procedure a domain name can still be deleted by the current registrar after having requested the transfer code (which is valid for 7 days) and before the launching/executing of the transfer by the new registrar. The transfer can still be executed but it will be a transfer from quarantine.

Who owns a domain name and what rules does DNS Belgium adopt?

On the site www.dnsbelgium.be you can carry out a WHOIS check, which will enable you to see the data about the registrant of a particular domain name.
The second block of data (with the title 'registrant') contains the data about the owner of the domain name that you have just completed. Normally, you find out immediately who the owner is and how you may be able to reach them (address details, telephone, e-mail).
The 'registrant' block, however, contains two fields that can relate to the name of the owner. These two fields are 'name' and 'organisation'. Both can be completed together, or it may happen than only the 'name' field is completed.
If only the first field is completed, then we assume that it is a registration in the name of a private individual. In this case, it is naturally the private individual that is the registrant or owner. Only his e-mail address and language are shown.
If the second field is completed, we consider this as a registration in the name of a company/organisation. In this case, the latter is considered to be the registrant, and not the private individual whose name appears in the 'name' field. Here all contact details are shown.
Why should that be? The domain name of the company/organisation cannot be held hostage by an employee who suddenly leaves or who is dismissed, and who tries to transfer or delete the domain name or to link it to another website via the managing registrar. 

Who has the authority over a domain name in the following cases?

Death: the beneficiary; we will request a death certificate + authorisation from a beneficiary
Bankruptcy: the receiver; we request a document from the receiver to confirm the bankruptcy. If that is the case, you can enter the receiver’s e-mail address so that he receives the transfer code and can give it to the new registrant.
Acquisition: the party making the acquisition; we will ask for an official document (such as a copy of the Belgian Official Gazette) in which the acquisition is confirmed.
Liquidation: the liquidator; we will ask for proof that this person is indeed the liquidator.

What does it mean to lock a domain name ?

A registrant can ask his registrar to lock his .be domain name to protect it against transfers. Locking shuts out fraudulent attempts to transfer their domain name and to ensure that it remains in the right hands.
A domain name may only be locked by registrars at the express request of the registrant of the domain name. The .be domain name must be unlocked on the simple request of the registrant. If not, no transfer request can be initiated by any other registrar.

Is a registration tool available for registrars?

There are 2 interfaces for the registrar to work with: Web or EPP.

  • WEB: Our online interface is a simple tool to manage the domain names in your account. All you need is a webbrowser.
  • EPP: In the EPP interface, the registrar can automatically maintain his registration platform synchronously with our registration system. E.g. a new registration requested on the website of the registrar can be transmitted to us immediately, a few miliseconds later, the result is returned and the registrar can notify his client immediately, 24/7. EPP is an international standard for registering domain names, it allows for registration of domain names in .be and other extentions. Of course, some knowledge of EPP and SSL is required. Building the EPP registration platform is the task of the registrar.

Both interfaces are explained extensively in the Registration Guidelines.

For EPP some client examples are available on the registrar website. Be advised that this software comes with absolutely no warranty or support, it is simply a way for new registrars to get started

Where can I find the handle for a contact?

You will always receive the new handle in our returnmessage to your template.

You can also look up handles with on the registrar web interface or with EPP.

Please be advised that contacts are always linked to exactly one registrar. If another registrar would use this handle, he would get an error. Otherwise, there would be trouble: one registrar updating information suddenly also updates information from another registrar. Because DNS implies that the registrar is ultimately responsible for the data, the registrar has to have complete control over it.

We also advise to always use the same handle for different registrations of the same client. This makes it easier to keep client data up to date.

What's the difference between REGISTRANT, ONSITE and TECHNICAL?

  • REGISTRANT: the person who owns the right of use of the domainname.
  • ONSITE: a technical contact with the client, the website builder, the website hoster, ...
  • TECHNICAL: the technical contact of the Registrar.

How can I check the availablility of a domain name?

If you are a registrar and you use EPP, the best tool is EPP, the "check-domain" template. Read more on this in the Registration Guidelines.
Otherwise, we recommend DAS instead. DAS stands for Domain Availibility Service and has fewer limitations. The output is limited. DAS is available on das.dns.be via TCP port 4343.
DAS only returns the status of the domain name and has a simple protocol: you only need to enter the domain name, including ".be".
The result will come back in strict format as well :

% .be Domain Availability Server 3.0
%% RC=0
Domain: name.be
Status: xyz

In case an error occurs, the result is :
% .be Domain Availability Server 3.0
%% RC=rc
% message
Domain: name.be

A list of error codes and corresponding messages follows:

  • RC | message
  • 0 | Query successful
  • -1 | Internal server error
  • -2 | Excessive querying
  • -3 | IP address blocked

Upon connecting to DAS, it will wait for a query command (without sending a header, prompt, ...).
Upon completion of the query, DAS will close the connection.

How do I check the data of a domain name?

Available Whois services
You can find the data of a domain name in the Whois. There are two ways to check Whois:

  • via our website, on the homepage
  • via our whois server, on whois.dns.be via TCP port 43

Purpose of the whois on our website
The Whois service is a tool to give internet users the opportunity to:

  • check whether your data is correct if you are the registrant of a domain name;
  • In the event of problems with a domain, the people in charge are known, and can be contacted;
  • Third parties who believe that they have a claim to a domain name can contact the registrant thanks to this data.

Legal notice
As indicated in the legal notice that the end-user must accept on every query, it is prohibited to use this information for commercial purposes. This measure was taken on security grounds. DNS.be wishes to prevent the Whois database (or particular parts of it) being reconstructed by means of frequent Whois queries. Such reconstruction may have the consequence that particulars of registrants are suddenly offered on a commercial basis, which is, in the opinion of DNS.be, incompatible with a publicly available Whois function.
Limits on the web whois

  • The user has to fill in the captcha after more than 3 requests
  • The contact details of the registrant are displayed in an image instead of plain text.
  • Maximum 100 queries per IP address per day

Purpose of the direct whois
The direct whois server doesn't show ant personal data to avoid abuse. You can use it to find technical contact persons, the registrar or the nameservers connected to a domain name. Of course, you can also see the status of a domain name.
How do I interrogate the direct whois?
The Whois server can be queried at any time. This can be done on 2 ways:
Whois towards our whois.dns.be on TCP port 43 with a Whois-client. you can find innumerable Whois clients on the internet:
On a Linux/Unix-machine you have a standard Whois-client: whois -h whois.dns.be domainname.
for Windows a lot of freeware-versions can be found on the net.

  1. Via telnet: You can do a telnet session to our Whois-server: whois.dns.be on TCP port 43:

telnet whois.dns.be 43
Connected to whois.dns.be.
Escape character is '^]'.

When you enter a domain name, you receive the Whois-information on standard output. You can build a script around this.

Limits on the direct whois

  • No registrant information.
  • No information about onsite contacts.
  • Limited information for technical contact.
  • After more than 100 queries per hour per IP address, you receive an error message.
  • After more than 200 queries per hour per IP address, your IP will be blocked for 1 hour

You are blocked but you haven't exceeded the limits?
If you are given an IP address when you login to you provider, the blocking can occur independently of your control:

  • Possibility 1: you have been allocated an IP address which has previously been misused to query our Whois server. You can try to make a new connection to the internet, which may mean that you are allocated a new IP address. (Depending on the specific hardware configuration, you may also be able to use Windows tools (e.g. winipcfg or ipconfig) that allow a new IP address to be requested). If you were the cause of being blocked, please take the limits of our whois requests into account in the future.
  • Possibility 2: you are using the ISP's web proxy server. In that case, it appears to us that all Whois queries are coming from the same IP address, i.e. the address of the web proxy server itself. Since several users may use such a web proxy server, the chances of being blocked are greater. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to distinguish between users and decide whether or not you have been unfairly blocked.

What are the possible return codes/return messages of EPP/XML?

The result codes are defined in the RFC for EPP:

There you find them all together with an extensive explanation.