Internet service provider

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Internet service providers or Internet service providers ( English Internet Service Provider , abbreviated ISP or Internet Access Provider ), in German-speaking countries often just providers , colloquially usually just called Internet providers or Internet providers , are providers of services, content or technical services that are necessary for use or operation of content and services on the Internet are required.

Internet provider services

Internet access (connectivity, connection to the Internet)

This service consists of the provision of Internet connectivity , i.e. the transfer of IP packets in and out of the Internet. The transfer can take place via radio technology (in which case the provider can be referred to as a wireless Internet service provider ), dial-up lines , dedicated lines , broadband access . If access is provided to a server that is located at the provider (computer center, colocation of the provider), the transfer can take place via a simple network cable. Forwarding to the Internet can take place through direct access to Internet nodes or the networks of other Internet service providers.

Depending on the size of their networks, providers can be divided into the categories Tier 3 (local providers), Tier 2 (operators of large, important, supra-regional networks) and Tier 1 (operators of global Internet backbones ) (for the English tier -1/2/3 for 'first, second and third rank' there is currently no common German term). Larger operators also make their line capacity available to each other as part of a free interconnection . Tier 1 carrier (operator ") operate their own infrastructure , while Tier 2 and Tier 3 carriers do not own Internet backbones operate and therefore other vendors traffic (Engl. Traffic ) have to buy.


  • Domain hosting (registering and offering a domain) includes the registration and usually also the operation of domains within the domain name system .
  • Server hosting: (direct offering of content, applications and servers) Server hosting is the operation of virtual and dedicated, i.e. physical, servers , optionally with important additional services such as maintenance and data backup .
  • Web hosting: Web hosting is the accommodation (hosting) of websites on a web server of an Internet service provider. The provider called the web host makes its resources available, usually against payment. This includes in particular the provision and operation of web servers and their network connection. The scope of services of web hosting offers varies considerably. The offers start with a simple web presence via server with script language support (e.g. Perl , PHP ) and database backend (like MySQL with PHPMyAdmin) up to packages that contain a web content management system , monitoring , data backup , statistical evaluations, load distribution or high availability .
  • Mail hosting: E-mail hosting is the provision of e-mail services, in particular a mail server , on hosts operated by the provider . Optionally, this can also include filtering (such as spam and virus protection) and a web interface for managing your own e-mail inbox. In 2006 there were around 3,200 companies in Germany that offered e-mail services. However, over 60% of the companies had fewer than 1,000 customers and thus covered around 1.28% of all customers. 2% of the companies served 85.47% of the approximately 74.9 million customers.

Housing or colocation

As a server housing is defined as the services of a provider to offer its customers a data center for their hosts provides (commonly known as servers) are available. The Housing (Engl., Housing ') usually includes server racks or at least room shares therein, uninterruptible power supply , redundant air conditioning systems , access control , alarm system and connection to the Internet .

A colocation is the rented room or space in a data center in order to accommodate and operate your own hosts, i.e. computers, there. Smaller providers also often rent space from other providers, which they sublet as a colocation ('additional location').

Writing or creating content

The content provider, or colloquially content provider (English: content provider ) provides z. B. provides own editorial contributions and content or has a corresponding program ( CMS ) available on a rental basis . It does not matter which internet provider the respective pages or domains are actually located with, because the content is only linked by the content provider . This has the advantage that the customer can use a CMS and does not have to worry about his own server. Internet access providers often refer to "hosting" and "housing providers" as "content providers" because they actually deliver the content from the point of view of the dial-in provider.

The content is only available as long as the contractual relationship with the provider exists.

Good content providers are not only rigid prefabricated templates (English. Templates ) are available, but can do individual to each side adjustments and extended at any time.

Application provider

An application service provider makes specific applications available to customers on the Internet.

Provider liability

The articles Internet service provider # Provider liability and Provider privilege overlap thematically. Help me to better differentiate or merge the articles (→  instructions ) . To do this, take part in the relevant redundancy discussion . Please remove this module only after the redundancy has been completely processed and do not forget to include the relevant entry on the redundancy discussion page{{ Done | 1 = ~~~~}}to mark. Headbreak 14:36, Jul 12, 2011 (CEST)

In the past, the liability of Internet service providers for illegal content on Internet sites operated or technically supported by them was legally controversial. The question of responsibility has now been clarified in Germany by the Telemedia Act - TMG ( §§ 7 ff. TMG), which replaced the Teledienstegesetz - TDG (§ 8 TDG) and the State Media Service Treaty - MDStV (§ 6 MDStV) in 2007.

The fact that there were two sets of rules in Germany is due to the dispute between the federal government and the states regarding legal responsibility for the Internet, which led to a compromise that did not always allow a clear allocation in individual cases. As a rule of thumb, if it was a service-oriented offer (e.g. online banking) or trading in goods and services (e-commerce) , it was a teleservice (federal responsibility). If the focus was on an editorial nature (e.g. online magazines), the state treaty applied.

Both sets of rules provided for the responsibility of Internet service providers to be differentiated according to their respective function, which was also adopted in the Telemedia Act. According to the general laws, the content provider is fully responsible for the content for which it is responsible; in this respect there are no differences to offline media. The hosting provider must be responsible for the third-party content made available by him for another (at least upon omission, otherwise see the exclusion regulation in § 7 Paragraph 2 TMG) ​​if he is aware of its illegality or according to the developed by the case law Principles of the so-called inspection obligation should have been aware of their illegality. If he is not aware of it, or if he has promptly removed the content after becoming aware of it, he is not liable. The Internet provider only provides technical access and is therefore not responsible in principle, although the case law has not yet made any final clarification with regard to injunctive relief claims and such claims may be considered in accordance with the principles of the obligation to examine. The rules nevertheless provide for an exception, namely if the Internet service provider has arranged for the illegal content to be forwarded and conveyed or is working with the sender of the illegal content.

Another legal problem is whether Internet providers have to provide information about their users. The OLGe Munich and Hamburg denied this in 2005, in any case under civil law there is no right to information. However, information must be given to the state - for example in criminal proceedings - for example when the question arises of who was “on the Internet” and when with which IP address . This is usually necessary for the prosecution of crime on the Internet such as copyright infringement , child pornography and insults . In April 2012, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that rights holders may find out the names and addresses of users from the Internet provider in the event of copyright infringements. In addition to the question of whether and when providers have to provide information, there is the question of which data they must and are allowed to store or keep in stock. According to the current legal situation, you must immediately delete all connection data ( Section 100 TKG ) if you do not need the data for billing. In the case of a flat rate (“flat rate”), it must always be deleted. T-Online did not adhere to this, however, which led to Holger Voss' proceedings , which have now been declared final by the Federal Court of Justice . The current discussion on data retention should also be noted . The Karlsruhe Regional Court ruled against a large host provider: “After submitting an injunction issued against a customer for offensive statements, the customer's web host is obliged to block the statement complained about. This also applies after a change in the language of the legally prohibited utterance, if the content-related agreement can be determined without any particular difficulties. ”A corresponding decision was also made by the Munich District Court with reference to the Federal Court of Justice .


As Ökoprovider ISP are referred to their servers with green electricity to operate. The Trier University of Applied Sciences has identified such providers as part of a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and divided them into three quality classes: Class A includes providers who purchase electricity from independent green electricity providers . With class B hosters, the green electricity comes from conventional suppliers, while with class C the origin of the green electricity is unclear or is only proven by tradable certificates such as RECS . The Trier University of Applied Sciences has also developed the Firefox extension "Green Power Indicator", with which Internet users can find out about the provider and power status of a website. In 2012 the project was awarded the "EnviroInfo Student Prize". Ecologically oriented providers can also be found on the website of the Green Web Foundation .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Market study: E-mail providers in Germany by the Federal Network Agency, p. 7 ( Memento from October 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 435 kB)
  2. Philip Uecker: Host provider, content provider, access provider or what? (PDF; 4.11 MB) In: DFN-Infobrief Recht. June 2009, p. 5 f. , accessed April 27, 2016 .
  3. Internet service providers have to give out data from pirated copiers ,, August 10, 2012, accessed on August 13, 2012
  4. Draft law on the new regulation of telecommunications surveillance (PDF), June 27, 2007; Retrieved July 1, 2013
  5. ^ LG Karlsruhe, MMR 2008, 109
  6. ^ BGH, judgment of March 11, 2004 , Az. I ZR 304/01, full text - "Internet auction I"
  7. ^ AG Munich, Az. 161 C 13533/08, unpublished
  8. Eco provider , Trier University of Applied Sciences, Birkenfeld Environmental Campus
  9. ^ Green Hosting Directory , Green Web Foundation