What is a valid domain name? 

Building blocks of a domain name

A domain name always ends on an extension or Top Level Domain ( TLD ). Different TLDs exist: 

  • for countries (.be, .nl, .fr, etc.) 
  • for regions (.vlaanderen, .brussels, .gent, etc.) 
  • general (.com, .org, etc.) 
  • others (.finance, .shop, etc.) 

This part cannot be chosen freely. You must make a choice between the extensions allowed by  ICANN . A full list is available here

A name can be chosen under the TLD. E.g. thisisme.be. Everyone is able to register a domain name according to the following rules. 

Requirements for .be, .brussels and .vlaanderen

  • A domain name consists of minimum two and maximum 63 characters.
  • All letters from a to z, all numbers from 0 to 9 and a hyphen (-) are possible.
  • A domain name mustn't consist of a hyphen (-) on the third and fourth position at the same time.
  • The following special characters are also possible. Domain names containing such letters are called IDN or internationalised domain names:

ß 

à

Á

â

ã

ó

ô

þ

ü

ú

ð

æ

å

ï

ç

è

õ

ö

ÿ

ý

ò

ä

œ

ê

ë

ì

í

ø

ù

î

û

ñ

é

IDN domain names

  • U-label

    An IDN domain name is written as u U-label. It contains special characters, such as letters with accents or letters from another alphabet.

    Eg.: "belgië.be"

  • A-label

    An A-label is the coded version of the U-label. The name is converted to ASCII characters (A-Z, 0-9 and/or ‘-’). This conversion is needed for your browser to display the right page.

    eg.: "belgië.be" becomes "xn--belgi-rsa.be"

Choose a domain name

Here you can easily check whether your domain name is available: 

Reserved domain names 

For .brussels and .vlaanderen, a domain name may be reserved. The following categories of domain names are currently on a reservation list:   

  • Names with only 2 characters that may correspond with country codes. In that case the national government of that country and the domain name administrator of this country code must give their consent. 
  • Names of countries, because the national government of that country must give its consent. 
  • Names of international bodies such as the Red Cross, because they are only awarded to the bodies in question. 

Read more about it in the .be terms and conditions or in the .brussels and .vlaanderen terms and conditions.