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Use of DNS Aliases for Network Services (RFC2219)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002777D
Original Publication Date: 1997-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 7 page(s) / 17K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M. Hamilton: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

It has become a common practice to use symbolic names (usually CNAMEs) in the Domain Name Service (DNS - [RFC-1034, RFC-1035]) to refer to network services such as anonymous FTP [RFC-959] servers, Gopher [RFC-1436] servers, and most notably World-Wide Web HTTP [RFC-1945] servers. This is desirable for a number of reasons. It provides a way of moving services from one machine to another transparently, and a mechanism by which people or agents may programmatically discover that an organization runs, say, a World- Wide Web server.

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Network Working Group M. Hamilton

Request for Comments: 2219 Loughborough University

BCP: 17 R. Wright

Category: Best Current Practice Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

October 1997

Use of DNS Aliases for Network Services

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the

Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for

improvements. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

It has become a common practice to use symbolic names (usually

CNAMEs) in the Domain Name Service (DNS - [RFC-1034, RFC-1035]) to

refer to network services such as anonymous FTP [RFC-959] servers,

Gopher [RFC-1436] servers, and most notably World-Wide Web HTTP

[RFC-1945] servers. This is desirable for a number of reasons. It

provides a way of moving services from one machine to another

transparently, and a mechanism by which people or agents may

programmatically discover that an organization runs, say, a World-

Wide Web server.

Although this approach has been almost universally adopted, there is

no standards document or similar specification for these commonly

used names. This document seeks to rectify this situation by

gathering together the extant 'folklore' on naming conventions, and

proposes a mechanism for accommodating new protocols.

It is important to note that these naming conventions do not provide

a complete long term solution to the problem of finding a particular

network service for a site. There are efforts in other IETF working

groups to address the long term solution to this problem, such as the

Server Location Resource Records (DNS SRV) [RFC-2052] work.

1. Rationale

In order to locate the network services offered at a particular

Internet domain one is faced with the choice of selecting from a

growing number of centralized databases - typically Web or Usenet

News "wanderers", or attempting to infer the existence of network

services from whatever DNS information may be available. The former

approach is not practical in some cases, notably when the entity

seeking service information is a program.

Perhaps the most visible example of the latter approach at work is in

the case of World-Wide Web HTTP servers. It is common practice to

try prefixing the domain name of an organization with "http://www."

in order to reach its World-Wide Web site, e.g. taking "hivnet.fr"

and arriving at "http://www.hivnet.fr." Some popular Wo...