0395.ch Lore: why the .ch domain?

January 1, 2023

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Note for non-technical readers: you can think of “TLD” as the part of the site link that comes after the site name. So the TLD for google.com is .com; 0395.ch is .ch; and so on.

.ch is a Switzerland domain – it is not a Chinese domain like some people might think. Each TLD is controlled by ‘someone’ (normally: a government entity or a corporation), so by adopting a certain TLD, you are subject to certain laws and/or restrictions. Knowing that, my choice of this top-level domain (TLD) followed an exclusion-based logic:

  • I did not want to pick a .com or related domain name as this is not a website with commercial purposes;
  • I did not want a TLD that raises brows because of phishing or scams, such as .xyz (nothing against those who use it for legit purposes though!);
  • I did not want a ‘novelty’ TLD, because many of them are property of certain companies; e.g. .dev and .app are operated by Google, which might be good for a startup who wants to look trendy and cool, but it is terrible for privacy as you’re subject to whatever Google decides; this leaves me with only TLDs controlled by governments and their laws, which means I have to carefully pick a country with a good track record of respect for human rights and free speech, and low bureaucracy to create a website;
  • My own country Brazil isn’t an authoritarian nation, but it is also not exactly a free speech haven. Even if it were, anything .br (Brazilian TLD) is very bureaucratic, has no domain privacy and is generally stuck in the 90s, and the same goes for many Asian and African countries (sorry .jp!);
  • USA is not exactly known for their respect of citizen’s privacy (much on the contrary), so nothing US-based, or any country belonging to the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes┬áby extension;
  • The strongest data privacy laws in the world are Switzerland, Sweden and Iceland – I’ve known this for a while and re-confirmed it after research;
  • Then I’ve searched for the .is (Iceland) domain with an European registrar; costs EUR125/year! So no-go due to financial reasons;
  • The .se (Sweden) domain for this blog was already in use;
  • Thus, by elimination: .ch (Switzerland). The only downside is maybe some people think that .ch is a Chinese TLD, but that’s a risk I’m wiling to take.

Surely I am exposing myself by having a personal blog; but I prefer to think from another perspective. What I am doing here is voting with my wallet towards a TLD that is affordable and is controlled by a country which has a pretty good privacy track record, and it is also a stable liberal democracy which respects human rights and free speech.

Let’s have a cup of Nespresso and a Toblerone in commemoration to Swiss law. Prost!
Afterthought/Update: you might point out that this website is not hosted in Switzerland, even with the .ch domain. It is true. The servers are in Germany, which albeit has pioneered GDPR, it is still a proud member of 14 Eyes. But I expect that to change by the second quarter of this year (2023). (edit: postponed again)