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Domain names - concepts and facilities (RFC1034) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000001839D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

P.V. Mockapetris: AUTHOR


This RFC introduces domain style names, their use for Internet mail and host address support, and the protocols and servers used to implement domain name facilities.

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 3% of the total text.

Network Working Group P. Mockapetris

Request for Comments: 1034 ISI

Obsoletes: RFCs 882, 883, 973 November 1987



This RFC is an introduction to the Domain Name System (DNS), and omits

many details which can be found in a companion RFC, "Domain Names -

Implementation and Specification" [RFC-1035]. That RFC assumes that the

reader is familiar with the concepts discussed in this memo.

A subset of DNS functions and data types constitute an official

protocol. The official protocol includes standard queries and their

responses and most of the Internet class data formats (e.g., host


However, the domain system is intentionally extensible. Researchers are

continuously proposing, implementing and experimenting with new data

types, query types, classes, functions, etc. Thus while the components

of the official protocol are expected to stay essentially unchanged and

operate as a production service, experimental behavior should always be

expected in extensions beyond the official protocol. Experimental or

obsolete features are clearly marked in these RFCs, and such information

should be used with caution.

The reader is especially cautioned not to depend on the values which

appear in examples to be current or complete, since their purpose is

primarily pedagogical. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


This RFC introduces domain style names, their use for Internet mail and

host address support, and the protocols and servers used to implement

domain name facilities.

2.1. The history of domain names

The impetus for the development of the domain system was growth in the


- Host name to address mappings were maintained by the Network

Information Center (NIC) in a single file (HOSTS.TXT) which

was FTPed by all hosts [RFC-952, RFC-953]. The total network

bandwidth consumed in distributing a new version by this

scheme is proportional to the square of the number of hosts in

the network, and even when multiple levels of FTP are used,

the outgoing FTP load on the NIC host is considerable.

Explosive growth in the number of hosts didn't bode well for

the future.

- The network population was also changing in character. The

timeshared hosts that made up the original ARPANET were being

replaced with local networks of workstations. Local

organizations were administering their own names and

addresses, but had to wait for the NIC to change HOSTS.TXT to

make changes visible to the Internet at large. Organizations

also wanted some local structure on the name space.

- The applications on the Internet were getting more

sophisticated and creating a need for general purpose name


The result was several ideas about name spaces and their management

[IEN-116, RFC-799, RFC-819, RFC-830]. The proposals varied, but...