For most extensions, domain names are generally allocated on a "first come, first served" basis. This is the case with ".be". Consequently, the procedure for registering a domain name is relatively straightforward. Here are the key steps:
Step 1: choose the domain name and its extension
It is important to take the time to choose your domain name carefully. It must satisfy the company's requirements in terms of target audience, image and communication strategy. The root must be simple and effective like the keyword you use to be found on search engines. The extension can be generic such as ".com" if you wish to have a global presence and strengthen your company's international image. However, a local extension such as ".be" (or even ".vlaanderen", ".brussels" or ".gent") inspires greater confidence to the visitors from the relevant country even if your website is not exclusively directed to them (today, anyone can have a .be, you do not have to be Belgian resident). In addition, registering variations of the domain name will protect you from the risks of abusive registration.
Step 2: check the availability of the domain name
The selected domain name must be unique, two identical domain names cannot coexist.
The selected domain name must not infringe an earlier right held by a third party, be it a domain name, a trademark or a trading name. Neither could it infringe on copyright or a surname.
It is therefore your responsibility to take all the necessary precautions in order to avoid any subsequent disputes.
Step 3: select the registering agent (or registrar)
Each extension is managed by a unique domain name "registry" . The list of extensions and registries can be viewed on the IANA website. However, registries cannot sell the domain names directly.
In order to register a domain name, you must contact a registering agent or registrar. For the Belgium-related extensions ".be", ".vlaanderen" and ".brussels", the list of registrars is available on dnsbelgium.be. As for the ".gent" registers, they can be identified here: http://www.nic.gent/registrars. ICANN also accredits the registrars of certain extensions (".com", ".aero", etc.) for which it holds a list. Otherwise, you can consult the registries' websites.
It is also possible to register a domain name through other intermediaries (a reseller, web designer, etc.).
There is a wide range of services related to domain names, from the simple, fast and inexpensive registration of a ".be" or ".com", to the development of international campaigns involving dozens of organisations in different countries. Some providers also add email or hosting services to their domain name registration. You should opt for the registering agent that best suits your expectations. Ensure that their offer corresponds to your requirements and compare the prices, conditions and services offered by different providers.
Step 4: provide the relevant information to the registering agent (or registrar)
Using a simple electronic form, you will provide the following information to your registering agent: company name, name of contact person, phone number, postal address and email address. As the only means of direct communication between the registry or registering agent and you, you must provide a valid email address otherwise it could lead to the deletion of your domain name, for example. If you wish to transfer your domain name, or change registrar, a transfer code will be sent to this email address for this purpose.
Step 5: register the domain name
Registration is fully automatic and the domain name is active immediately. The registration is valid for a period of time ranging between one and ten years. The holder has priority over the domain name renewal. If the domain name is not renewed, it can be put "in quarantine" so that the holder can reactivate it, before it is returned to the public domain. Such a procedure applies to ".be".
After registration, you are advised to check whether the domain name has indeed been registered in your company's name and not, for example, in the name of an intermediary.
Step 6: automatic registration of the domain name in the WHOIS directory
Once registered, the domain name is entered directly into the WHOIS database. WHOIS is a search engine for viewing the availability of domain names which also provides technical and administrative information on the domain name holder.