|TLD type||Country code top-level domain|
|Registry||Reliable Software Inc.|
|Sponsor||The Operative-analytical center of the Republic of Belarus|
|Intended use||Entities connected with Belarus|
|Actual use||Popular in Belarus and the German state of Bavaria|
|Registration restrictions||No restrictions; third-level subdomains have specific restrictions|
|Structure||Second-level registrations are available, as well as third-level names beneath some second-level labels|
.by is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Belarus. It is administered by The Operative-analytical center of the Republic of Belarus (Оперативно-аналитический центр при Президенте Республики Беларусь.). The code "BY" originates from "Byelorussia", which is the transcription of the Russian name for the country (Белоруссия), Russian being Belarus' most commonly used language. It was officially used during their inclusion in the Soviet Union. The ccTLD was created for Belarus on May 10, 1994.
The Operative-analytical center of the Republic of Belarus allows for anyone (not only for those who resides in Belarus) to register a second level domain, such as something.by. However, third level domains such as something.gov.by and something.mil.by are only offered to those who are government officials. The names that are chosen for the second level domains must not conflict with those already registered or well known companies. The names also must have two or more Latin characters and it cannot either start or finish with a hyphen (-). Second level names that might have words or phrases that deem to be vulgar or illegal can also be rejected by the Administrator of ccTLD BY.
In the Republic of Belarus from the very beginning there was only one company which carried out the registration of domains .by – Open Contact Ltd. In October 2006 two other Belarusian companies got the license to provide technical protection of information, including its execution by cryptographic means, and comprising the usage of a digital signature. These are Reliable Software Inc. and Business Network JV. The former one has started to receive inquiries and to carry out domain registration since the 27th of March 2007. On the 3rd of September 2007 the license was granted also to Extmedia and on the 29th of June - to Active Technologies. At present each of the five companies carries out domain registration officially. Since 1994 the only Technical Administrator of the .by domain was Open Contact Ltd.
According to the results of the competition conducted in September 2010 by the Operative Analytical Centre (OAC) - the authorized government body for the purposes of security of the Internet - the .by domain was redelegated to Reliable Software Inc. (hoster.by). On the 7th of February 2012 ICANN approved the candidacy of the company unequivocally.
In 2007 while Open Contact Ltd. was the Technical Administrator of the .by domain it announced the reduction of price on national domains from 190 thousand Belarusian rubles (88 USD) to 130 thousand (60 USD). This measure triggered the process of transmission of Belarusian web-sites from generic top-level domains to the national one.
Since 2012, when Reliable Software Inc. (hoster.by) became the Technical Administrator of the .by domain, several changes have been adopted: the assessment of inquiries in the Operative Analytical Centre (OAC) and a free 30-day reservation of a domain name have been eliminated and WHOIS-service has started to work.
Since 2011 due to changes in currency exchange rate the price has decreased. The costs to use a .by domain is a 12 USD fee for the first year and second payment of 12 USD to maintain the domain. The renewal of the domain occurs yearly. The maximum upfront payment is 1 years. The payment of the fees occur by bank transfer, WebMoney, credit card or cash depending on the registrar.
Internationalized country code top-level domain
Belarus has applied for a top domain in the Cyrillic alphabet, intended to be used with subdomains in the same alphabet. This top domain is .бел. It is active from 2015 and used for many sites. Russia and Ukraine also have active domains of this type.
.by is used for domain hack by institutions from the German state of Bavaria (German: Bayern), such as bayern.by, the Bavarian Tourism Agency. Since "by" means "town" or "city" in Norwegian, it's also used by some newspapers, such as osl.by for an Oslo newspaper, and trd.by for a Trondheim newspaper.