New legal basis for .ch Internet addresses

The SWITCH foundation will stop selling .ch domain names as of the beginning of January 2015 and successively hand over the related client support to its business partners, the registrars. The basis for this change is the new Ordinance on Internet Domains (ODI), which was passed by the Federal Council today. SWITCH will in future focus on operating the .ch domain name directory and on ensuring that the Swiss Internet remains secure and stable.

Published on 05.11.2014

SWITCH and the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) have defined the process for transferring .ch domain names together, and it has been coordinated with the registrars. Some 400,000 clients with a total of one million domain names are affected. SWITCH welcomes this new Ordinance and its separation of the sovereign, regulated function from the business with clients.

Starting mid-January 2015

In the middle of January 2015, SWITCH will begin writing to its clients to request that they transfer their domain names to the registrars. Clients will receive a letter three months before their subscription ends containing instructions for the transfer. All .ch websites will remain online without any interruption throughout the transfer process. SWITCH will inform clients on a staggered basis, the aim being to have all clients transfer their domain names to a registrar of their choosing by autumn 2016. The existing SWITCH website for registering domain names,, will be amended at the start of 2015.

SWITCH to remain as registry until at least 2017

Since it will take until autumn 2016 to transfer all SWITCH clients to the registrars, SWITCH will continue to be the registry for .ch until at least 2017. The new Ordinance on Internet domains (OID) thus provides for an extension to the current delegation period. SWITCH is confident that it will remain the right choice for the secure and stable operation of .ch going forward. Our subsidiary switchplus will carry on the domain name business and offer its clients a complete range of website services. 

Ensuring a secure and stable Swiss Internet

In operating the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure for .ch, SWITCH makes sure that the Swiss Internet is stable and accessible worldwide and protects it against failures and attacks. Safeguarding the DNS has thus been written into the new Ordinance on Internet Domains (ODI). SWITCH's renowned Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been successfully combating malware (harmful software) on Swiss websites since 2010, making .ch one of the most secure top-level domains in the world. The registry for .ch is a critical infrastructure for Switzerland and must therefore meet particularly high security standards. SWITCH's many years of experience and proven track record guarantee the robust design and stable operation of this critical infrastructure.

Explanation of terms


A registry is an organisation that centrally administers the operation of a country's Domain Name System (DNS). In particular, it is in charge of registering the country's domain names. Examples include in Austria and in Germany. SWITCH is contracted by OFCOM in Switzerland to register domain names ending in .ch and by the Office for Communications in the Principality of Liechtenstein to register domain names ending in .li.


A registrar is a company that offers its clients domain name registration services as well as additional services such as e-mail and web hosting. It thus acts as a resale partner of the registry and an interface between the registry and the end clients (domain name holders).


As a partner of the universities, SWITCH brought the Internet to Switzerland more than 25 years ago. Today, the non-profit organisation with 100 employees at its headquarters in Zurich develops and markets Internet services for lecturers, researchers and students, as well as for commercial clients. SWITCH stands for security on the Internet.