|TLD type||Country code top-level domain|
|Intended use||Entities connected with Belgium|
|Actual use||Very popular in Belgium; youtu.be URL shortening for YouTube|
|Structure||Names can be registered directly at second level; some third-level names under categories such as ac.be for academic institutions also exist|
.be is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Belgium. The domain became active in 1989 and was administrated by Pierre Verbaeten of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. In 2000, the control of the TLD was transferred to DNS Belgium. As of June 2013 there are 1,392,477 registered domains.
It was announced in November 2005 that the initial registration of domains would be free until the beginning of 2006, though with some limits on the number any individual was allowed to register. This was remarkably popular, with some 17,000 registrations coming in on the first day of the promotion.
Domain names are registered directly at second level. Some of Belgian's main academic institutions, such as the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, use third-level names under ac.be, but others have abandoned its use (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universiteit Gent and Université Catholique de Louvain).
Any .be registration has to be ordered via a registered agent.
The far right party Vlaams Belang introduced a draft resolution in the Parliament of the region of Flanders demanding the creation of a Flemish top level domain .vl (for "Vlaanderen", Flanders in Dutch) but this resolution failed to receive support of the region's other parties. Only recognized UN member states are eligible for a two-letter domain extension. In October 2008, the Flemish government expressed its intention to obtain a three-letter domain code for Flanders, like .vla, .vln or .fla.
On the website YouTube, a shortener for YouTube videos is youtu.be, for example
youtu.be/CODE. Also, these shortened URLs (without the
http:// prefix) are allowed to be included in comments left on YouTube videos, whereas most URLs are not.