Difference between revisions of "What is a domain name?"


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Revision as of 15:44, 1 January 2008

Domain names are hostnames that provide more easily memorable names to stand in for numeric IP addresses. They allow for any service to move to a different location in the topology of the Internet (or another internet), which would then have a different IP address.

Each string of letters, digits and hyphens between the dots is called a label in the world of the domain name system (DNS). Valid labels are subject to certain rules, which have relaxed over the course of time. Originally labels had to start with a letter, and end with a letter or digit; any intervening characters may be letters, digits, or hyphens. Labels must be between 1 and 63 characters long (inclusive). Letters are ASCII A�%G–�%@Z and a�%G–�%@z; domain names are compared case-insensitively. Later it became permissible for labels to commence with a digit (but not for domain names to be entirely numeric), and for labels to contain internal underscores, but support for such domain names is uneven. These are the rules imposed by the way names are looked up ("resolved") by DNS. Some top level domains (see below) impose more rules, such as a longer minimum length, on some labels. Fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) are sometimes written with a final dot.

Translating numeric addresses to alphabetical ones, domain names allow Internet users to localize and visit Web sites. Additionally since more than one IP address can be assigned to a domain name, and more than one domain name assigned to an IP address, one server can have multiple roles, and one role can be spread among multiple servers.





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