What is an Impressum and Do I Need it?

An "Impressum" is a page on a website where the owner provides information about themselves. In some countries, it is illegal not to have an Impressum on the site. 

Many websites have an "About Us" section where the owner provides details about who they are and how to get in touch with them. However, many website owners prefer to remain anonymous, making it difficult for users to contact the website owner about any issues they may have.

In some countries, owners of commercial websites are legally required to post certain information about themselves. This ensures transparency and reduces fraudulent activities, making it easier for customers to obtain a company's information and protect themselves from scams and frauds. The requirement to disclose information applies not only to websites but also to newspapers, magazines, and other publications available to the public.

The Impressum (sometimes called an Imprint) is a mandatory page on all websites in German-speaking countries such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It reveals information about the publisher of the site, providing basic legal notice about the website or business owner and giving visitors essential information about the business.

For business websites and social media pages, an "Impressum" is required. For instance, if a business has a Facebook page, it must provide the same information needed for the Impressum requirement. Personal websites that do not make money, such as non-commercial blogs, do not need an Impressum. Learn the 6 Steps for Website Compliance.

Content of an Impressum

Although national laws may have different requirements for an Impressum, it usually includes the following:

  • Name of the owner or manager of the website
  • Registered business address
  • Contact information (e.g., phone number, email address)
  • Official incorporation information (e.g., official name and registration number of the company)

To know exactly what to include in an Impressum, you need to determine if your country requires your website to have one and, if so, what specific information is needed. If you operate a business website in a German-speaking country, you must follow the Impressum regulations.

Impressum Laws

The rules for the Impressum requirement are outlined in various laws. For example, the German Telemedia Act (Telemediengesetz) and the Austrian Media Act (Mediengesetz) both mandate that websites, books, and newspapers have an Impressum. In Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Law on Unfair Competition addresses this issue.

The German Telemedia Act requires all commercial websites to post the following information:

  • Name, legal address, legal form (for legal persons)
  • Contact details, including email address
  • Information about commercial register and registration number
  • If the business activity is subject to approval from a state agency, details of the relevant supervisory body
  • VAT ID, if available

The Swiss Federal Law on Unfair Competition states that "anyone offering goods, work, or services through electronic commerce without meeting the following conditions is acting unfairly: ... indicate clearly and fully its identity and contact address, including e-mail." This is why all business websites must have an "Impressum" for their users.

Similar Arrangements in Other Jurisdictions

There are similar laws in other countries, even if they aren't always called "Impressum" or "Imprint." For example, French law requires all professional websites to have certain information on them, even if they don't sell anything online. This ensures that users can always contact site owners and that their rights are protected.



The requirement to have an Impressum is crucial for website compliance, even though not all countries mandate it. Website owners should research the relevant legal requirements to determine if they must include an Impressum on their page. The same applies to business pages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This will ensure compliance with local Impressum laws or similar regulations and help avoid significant fines. Even if your country's laws don't require an Impressum, having one can build trust with your website visitors, potentially leading to more business transactions.

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