Service & Support
nic.at - Registration Guidelines
(V 5.0, 01/10/2013)
nic.at registers internet domains under the top-level domain (TLD) “.at” as well as the sub-level domains (SLDs) “.co.at” and “.or.at” according to the internationally accepted standards for the operation of a country-TLD registry.
- Domain = A domain (e.g. “example.at”) is a combination of the domain name, the dot and a top-level domain, in this case the top-level domain “.at”, or a sub-level domain, in this case “.co.at” or “.or.at”.
- Domain name = A domain name is a sequence of characters, numbers (0 to 9) and hyphens (-). Under this definition, the term “characters” includes letters (a to z) as well as those characters listed at
- IDN = Internationalized Domain Name = A domain (e.g. bücher.at) which consists of at least one letter outside of the “a to z” set according to the list at
(cf. Section 9 of these guidelines).
- ACE string = ASCII Compatible Encoding String (e.g. xn--bcher-kva.at): A technically generated character string which consists only of characters from a to z, numbers from 0 to 9 and hyphens; the first four characters in the string consist of the combination “xn--”. The ACE string must be technically “translatable“ into an IDN (cf. RFC 3492).
- nic.at handle = A nic.at handle is a combination of letters and numbers which refers to a person and his/her address in the nic.at database.
- DNSSEC = Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is an extension of the Domain Name System to verify the authenticity of DNS responses using cryptographic signatures.
Where these guidelines or nic.at’s General Terms and Conditions refer to a “domain”, the term also includes IDNs unless explicitly specified otherwise.
3. Domain Name and Nameserver
The minimum length of a domain name is three (3) characters under the top-level domain .at and one (1) character under the sub-level domains .co.at and .or.at. In the case of an IDN, the number of characters in the IDN is used for this purpose. The maximum length is sixty-three (63) characters; in this case, the number of characters in the ACE string is used. A domain name must not start or end with a hyphen and must not contain two hyphens at the third and fourth position unless it is the ACE string of an IDN. No distinction is drawn between capital and lowercase letters, as capital letters are converted into lowercase letters via “Nameprep”.
Upon registration of a domain, at least two but no more than eight name servers are to be specified. In addition, one to six DS records can be indicated if the domain in question is DNSSEC-signed and the DS record(s) is (are) meant to be activated. The data provided in the application must match the technical configuration exactly. The domain holder is to ensure that all specified name servers are constantly available. Only the ACE string (i.e. not the IDN) may be included in the name server’s description.
4. Registration of a Domain
Applications for domains are either submitted using the services of a registrar (cf. Section 6 of these guidelines) or using the electronic application form provided by nic.at at
If the electronic forms at are used, it is necessary to indicate the ACE string or the IDN when registering an IDN. When an IDN is registered by a registrar, only the ACE string is to be indicated in the application; nic.at will perform the technical decoding necessary to create the IDN. The subject matter of the contract is in any case the IDN, not the ACE string.
An application is only considered submitted once it is received without any errors in form or content. In order for an application to be processed, the data required under these guidelines must be submitted completely and accurately, and the requested domain must comply with these guidelines. Applications for domain delegation are processed electronically, and only one domain can be registered per application. Domains are delegated on a first come, first served basis.
nic.at reserves the right to verify that the name servers as well as any DS records indicated are operational. The application for registration can be submitted by the domain holder himself or by an agent authorized by the domain holder. The registration contract is concluded between the future domain holder and nic.at only at the time of delegation; in addition to these guidelines, nic.at’s General Terms and Conditions (available at ) also apply.
5. Domain Holder, Domain Contacts
The domain holder is the sole contractual partner to nic.at and thus assumes all rights and obligations concerning this domain. In the case of a physical person, the complete first and last name are to be specified in the registration application; for other domain holders, the complete name according to statutory provisions (e.g. legal form according to the commercial register) is to be specified. Likewise, the domain holder’s postal address and e-mail address must be specified. Please note that P.O. box addresses are not considered sufficient as postal addresses, nor are IDNs acceptable as e-mail addresses. The display of the e-mail address and the fax and phone number in the WHOIS database can be disabled at the domain holder’s request. The domain holder’s e-mail address must be compliant with the provisions of RFC 822.
For the domain contacts, i.e. the administrative contact (admin-c) and technical contact (tech-c), the name, address and the e-mail address have to be specified. The admin-c is a domain holder’s contact person for administrative matters who is not permitted to take legally relevant steps. The technical contact (tech-c) is responsible for technical issues related to the domain.
In addition, it is necessary to specify an invoice recipient, who may be the domain holder himself or a third party (cf. Section 6 of these guidelines). The invoice recipient’s name, address and e-mail also have to be specified. nic.at reserves the right to use the domain holder as the invoice recipient if the data indicated for the invoice recipient is obviously incorrect or the invoice recipient refuses to pay for the domain.
The data indicated for the domain holder and all contacts must contain ASCII-compliant characters; no IDN-specific characters may be used.
The domain holder may use a registrar for the purpose of registering and administering a domain. The registrar acts as the domain holder’s agent vis-à-vis nic.at. As a basic prerequisite for such an arrangement, the Registrar himself must submit the application and be named as the invoice recipient for nic.at. A current list of all registrars is available at(cf. also Section 3.9 of nic.at‘s General Terms and Conditions).
All registrations by nic.at will be carried out in good faith regarding the lawfulness of the client's claim. The applicant declares that he will comply with the relevant legal regulations and, in particular, not infringe upon other parties’ rights to trademarks or signs and rights under competition law (rights to names, trademark rights, unfair competition, etc.).
The applicant expressly acknowledges and consents to the publication of the domain holder’s name and address, as well as the name and address of other contacts named by him, on the Internet, in particular in the nic.at WHOIS database.
The applicant acknowledges that IDNs constitute a technology which may cause technical problems in certain applications.
The applicant acknowledges that where DNSSEC is used, he is responsible for signing the respective domain and for ensuring that the relevant DS record(s) is/are transmitted to nic.at. nic.at’s sole responsibilities are to incorporate the transmitted DS record(s) into the .at zone and to ensure that the .at zone itself is signed correctly.
What is a domain holder?
The domain holder is the bearer of all rights and liabilities regarding a domain. He can dispose of, use, rent or transfer the domain to another person etc. No domain data must be modified without the domain holder's approval. However, he also has the responisbility to pay for open domain fees (himself or via an ISP), and he is liable for legal infringements regarding the domain. The domain holder is the only one who can effectively cancel the domain or transfer it to a third party.
What is a valid .at-domain name?
Valid characters in a domain name may be letters (“a-z”), numbers (“0-9), hyphens (“-“) and the. Two hyphens in a row as the third and fourth characters of adomain name are not allowed. The name must not begin or end with a hyphen. Length: domain names below .co.at and .or.at: at least one character (e.g. t3.co.at and s.or.at), domain names below .at: at least three characters. Maximum length: 63 characters.
What is "first come, first served" and how can it be verified?
"First come, first served" means that domain registrations are processed in the order of their receipt and that the first correct application leads to a delegation. Each electronic application gets a unique ticket number upon receipt, which makes the order clearly visible at any time.