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Map of the Catalan language area

.cat is a sponsored generic top-level domain (sTLD) launched on December 19, 2005 and administered by Fundació puntCAT . Its purpose is to promote the Catalan language and culture. The .cat domain is language and culture specific, but not geographically restricted.

Before .cat was introduced, efforts were made to introduce a ccTLD .ct for Catalonia . However, since Catalonia is not included in the ISO 3166-1 country list and Spain feared for its territorial integrity , this proposal did not succeed. The language and culture-specific .cat domain was introduced as a replacement.


The sunrise phase from February 13 to April 21, 2006 was followed by the release for general registration on April 23, 2006. Since then, any natural or legal person can register a .cat domain, provided that

  • Catalan-language content has previously been published online.
  • There is access to a specific code, sometimes referred to as ENS.
  • Efforts (in whatever language) are made to promote the Catalan language and culture.
  • an institution or three natural persons who already use a .cat domain are in favor of the assignment.

In September 2007 around 24,000 .cat domains were registered, in February 2013 over 61,000 addresses, and in mid-2019 around 110,000. In comparison to other country-specific extensions .cat is rather insignificant.

Motivation and criticism

Catalan is spoken in parts of Spain, Italy, southern France and Andorra, which is why Catalan websites were previously divided into different domains. In order to promote cultural and linguistic unity, proponents suggested introducing a language-specific cross-border domain for Catalan. With the implementation of this proposal, .cat became the first language-specific top-level domain.

Critics see .cat as a contradiction to RFC 1591 , which does not provide for language-specific TLDs. Other language-specific TLDs such as .bzh , .cym , .gal and .sco were suggested but not approved. In addition, experts fear that the use of .cat creates the international impression that Catalonia is a separate country. Even strengthening nationalism through the top-level domain was under discussion.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Delegation Record for .CAT. IANA, accessed February 11, 2013 .
  2. Monika Ermert: Catalans get a special domain. In: Heise online. December 22, 2005, accessed February 11, 2013 .
  3. Florian Hitzelberger: Sunrise Period started by .cat. In: domain-right. March 26, 2006, accessed February 11, 2013 .
  4. Florian Hitzelberger: New year, old suffering. In: domain-right. February 7, 2013, accessed February 11, 2013 .
  5. page of the registrar. November 30, 2018, accessed May 10, 2019 .
  6. Florian Hitzelberger: New TLD come under criticism. In: domain-right. October 3, 2005, accessed February 11, 2013 .
  7. Torsten Eßer: Nationalism on the Internet? In: Telepolis. March 21, 2006, accessed February 11, 2013 .