.ch internet domain names

The technical management of the .ch domain in relation to the global internet domain name system has been delegated to SWITCH until the end of 2026. SWITCH also provides the service for accessing the registration data for .ch domain names (RDDS, formerly WHOIS). However, with the entry into force of the revision of the Ordinance on Internet Domains (ODI) on 1 January 2021, the personal information of holders of .ch domain names is no longer accessible via this service.

OFCOM granted Switch the mandate to manage the .ch domain names (registry function) in a public invitation to tender in 2016. This mandate is valid for the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2021 and has been extended for a further five years, namely until the end of 2026. Since 2015, the regulations governing .ch domain names have imposed a strict separation between the registry and registrar functions. As a result, the Switch registry cannot offer the registration of .ch domain names directly to end customers.

The revision of the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID), which entered into force on 1 January 2021, contains important changes to the rules on the publication of registration data for the .ch domain in order to protect privacy. Personal information concerning the holders of .ch domain names, such as name and postal address, is no longer be published via the RDDS (formerly WHOIS) service provided by the registry Switch. Such information is only accessible to persons who can reasonably be expected to have an overriding legitimate interest.

Registry and Registrar functions

The registry function consists of collecting the registration information about individual domain names necessary for the Domain Name System (DNS) in a central database and publishing it in the "Internet zone file". Through the entry in the "Internet zone file", services and applications (internet websites, e-mail) can be identified via the domain names and are therefore made accessible worldwide to internet users. The registry therefore operates and maintains a database in which all domain names with a particular extension such as .com, .net, .ch, etc. are grouped together.

Registrars are official providers of domain names and offer their services to end customers. Registrars are contractually and operationally linked to the registry. Separation of the registry and registrar functions has become widespread as the current model in the management of top-level (ccTLD and gTLD) domains.

Specialist staff
Last modification 06.01.2021

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