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  • Why do I need a domain name and an IP address in the Internet?
  • What is a top level domain?
  • Can DENIC eG provide me with an IP address?
  • What do Internet addresses (IP addresses) look like? What are class A, B or C nets?
  • What are NSentry-domains and nameservers?
  • What is the difference between DENIC eG and an Internet Service Provider?
  • I am an Internet provider. What do I have to do to in order to become a member of DENIC eG and register domains for my customers?
  • Where can I find information about the Internet and statistics about the number of Internet users, hosts, domains etc.?

    Why do I need a domain name and an IP address in the Internet?

    All computers in the Internet (also called hosts) are identified by an unambigous number, the so-called IP address. It has the form, where xxx is a placeholder for numbers between 0 and 255. A typical IP address would be If a host wants to communicate with another host over the Internet, then it sends "Internet packets", which contain an IP number as "address". Because users can remember names better than numbers, the domain name system was introduced. Each domain name corresponds to one IP address. This way the hosts can be accessed via IP addresses and domain names. Due to the unambiguousness requirement of IP addresses, every domain name must also be unique worldwide.

    Domain names are organized hierarchically from right to left. The rightmost part after the last dot is called top level domain, the one to its left second level domain or simply domain. All further parts to the left are sub-domains. Domains below the top level domain DE are managed by DENIC eG.

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    What is a top level domain?

    The top level domains (TLDs) are the highest level in the international domain name system. They are the rightmost part of a domain name, right after the last dot. There is a subdivision into general or generic TLDs (gTLDs) like .com, .net and .org and country-specific TLDs (the ccTLDs for country code TLDs) like .de for Germany or .ch for Switzerland. The top level domains .mil, .int, .edu and .gov are also gTLDs, but are reserved for specific user groups like the American government or international organisations. The country codes are managed by the Network Information Centers (NICs), for Germany this would be DENIC eG. The international organization ICANN is responsible for the gTLDs, their operative administration is in the hands of the company Network Solutions.

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    Can DENIC eG provide me with an IP address?

    DENIC eG was, until April 30, 1996, the "Registry of Last Resort" for Germany and did in this function provide unique IP addresses.

    Due to the strong growth of the Internet and the technical problems arising from this growth, this procedure is not practicable any longer. Therefore, since April 30, 1996, we do not provide IP addresses anymore.

    If you need IP addresses for Internet access, then you can order them from your Internet Service Provider. You can use one of our members or choose from a large list of Local Internet Registries at RIPE.

    If you do not want to connect yourself to the Internet, you can probably get by with a so-called private address space. This concept is described in detail in RFC1918 (Address Allocation for Private Internets).

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    What do Internet addresses (IP addresses) look like? What are class A, B or C nets?

    In the Internet every host (computer) has a unique ID, the IP-address, which consists of four bytes. These four bytes are written in decimal notation, seperated by dots.

    The administrator of a LAN (Local Area Network) receives from his Network Information Center (NIC) a block of consecutive IP-addresses and assigns them to the connected hosts. This block is called an "Address Range". The number of addresses in an "Address Range" is an exponent of 2. If needed different sized blocks are combined to a larger block.

    The following table shows how many addresses can be assigned to hosts with a specific block size (classfull), how many identical bytes the addresses have (prefix) and what subnet mask identifies the hosts.

    hosts prefix classfull subnet mask
    2 31 - 255 255 255 254
    4 30 - 255 255 255 252
    8 29 - 255 255 255 248
    16 28 - 255 255 255 240
    32 27 - 255 255 255 224
    64 26 - 255 255 255 192
    128 25 - 255 255 255 128
    256 24 1C 255 255 255 0
    512 23 2C 255 255 254 0
    1.024 22 4C 255 255 252 0
    2.048 21 8C 255 255 248 0
    4.096 20 16C 255 255 240 0
    8.192 19 32C 255 255 224 0
    16.384 18 64C 255 255 192 0
    32.768 17 128C 255 255 128 0
    65.536 16 1B 255 255 0 0
    131.072 15 2B 255 254 0 0
    262.144 14 4B 255 252 0 0
    524.288 13 8B 255 248 0 0
    1.048.576 12 16B 255 240 0 0
    2.097.152 11 32B 255 224 0 0
    4.194.304 10 64B 255 192 0 0
    8.388.608 9 128B 255 128 0 0
    16.777.216 8 1A 255 0 0 0
    33.554.432 7 2A 254 0 0 0
    67.108.864 6 4A 252 0 0 0
    134.217.728 5 8A 248 0 0 0
    268.435.456 4 16A 240 0 0 0
    536.870.912 3 32A 224 0 0 0
    1.073.741.824 2 64A 192 0 0 0
    2.147.483.648 1 128A 128 0 0 0
    4.294.967.296 0 256A 0 0 0 0

    The historical division into class A, class B and class C nets corresponds to "Address Ranges" with a fixed number of addresses. There were only three possible block sizes, which were supposed to correspond to the size of the respective organization. This division has, however, proved to be unflexible and was discontinued in 1994 in favor of the "Address Ranges".

    • Class A Address
      It is of the form A.x.x.x with 0 <= A <= 126. Thus there are exactly 127 class A addresses. The address 10.x.x.x is not assigned.

    • Class B Address
      It is of the form B1.B2.x.x with 128 <= B1 <= 191 and 0 <= B2 <= 255. With a class B net it is possible to assign addresses to about 65000 hosts. Currently over 61% of all class B addresses have been assigned, so that due to the rapid growth of the Internet a scarcity develops. Therefore class B addresses are only assigned in cases, where the need for a class B net is well-founded and reasonable. The addresses up to are not assigned.

    • Class-C-Address
      It is of the form C1.C2.C3.x with 192 <= C1 <= 223 and 0 <= C2, C3 <= 255 and allows up to 255 hosts in one address block. Only 36% of all available class C nets are assigned, so usually, instead of a class B net a number of consecutive class C nets is assigned. The reserved addresses in this range are up to

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    What are NSentry-domains and nameservers?

    There are two ways to secure the delegation of a domain:

    1. Our primary nameserver delegates the domain to a subordinate nameserver. This means that the addresses of two nameservers are entered into our database. Every request, that reaches our nameserver, is forwarded to this nameserver with the expectation that this nameserver provides additional data for the domain in question. Therefore nameservers are tested for minimal functionality prior to the first time they are entered into our database.

    2. Alternatively, we can configure our primary nameserver in such a way, that up to five services like or are connected with IP addresses of servers, that operate these services. These domains have previously been called MX-ONLY-Domains and are today known as NSentry domains.

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    What is the difference between DENIC eG and an Internet Service Provider?

    DENIC eG in Frankfurt/Main administers the top level domain .de and operates the primary nameservers for the DE-domains. Therefore DENIC eG, which is borne by the German Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is the central registry for all DE-domains.

    DENIC eG offers no IP services (Internet access, webspace, etc.) to third parties and also does not manage websites. These services are provided by ISPs.

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    I am an Internet provider. What do I have to do in order to become a member of DENIC eG and register domains for my customers?

    The only way to carry out a domain registration is via a member of DENIC eG. According to 3 of our statute you can become a member yourself if you are an Internet Service Provider offering all IP services to your customers (E-mail, FTP, WWW, Telnet etc.), if you have two independent uplinks to the Internet and if you possess your own networks (IP address blocks).

    If you want to find out more, please write to and include your postal address or contact our office. We will then send you a membership application form. The financial aspects of becoming a member of DENIC eG: you have to pay an admission fee of 1500 Euro, buy a stake in our cooperative for 1500 Euro and deposit 15000 Euro as a bank guarantee or a time money account pledged to DENIC eG.

    We ask for your understanding that we can only tell you about the member prices for domain registration, administration and provider changes if the DENIC board has agreed to your membership application.

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    Where can I find information about the Internet and statistics about the number of Internet hosts etc.?

    Some (unfortunately rudimentary) statistics about the growth of the Internet can be found on our website. This presentation is based on numbers, that are determined by RIPE. More information, e.g. about the method with which these numbers are retrieved, are available under

    These numbers, however, are not accurate numbers, they should be understood as orders of magnitude. For example, hosts behind a firewall are not reachable and therefore cannot be included in the count. The number of Internet users is also largely unknown. One could multiply the number of hosts with the average number of users per host (perhaps 3-10) to get a roundabout number based on an estimate.

    Additionally, there is the question which kinds of Internet connections should be counted:

    • There are users and hosts behind firewalls, which consequently are invisible.
    • Do we want to count T-Online, AOL- or CompuServe users?
    • Does the technical possibility of Internet access count or only the actual access?
    • What about dial-up users?
    • ...

    Unfortunately we do not have more information available, or, respectively, more information does not exist. If you know a publicy accessible source to more accurate data, we kindly ask you to notify us.

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