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[Note that this file is a concatenation of more than one RFC.]

Network Working Group                                     P. Mockapetris
Request for Comments: 1034                                           ISI
Obsoletes: RFCs 882, 883, 973                              November 1987


                 DOMAIN NAMES - CONCEPTS AND FACILITIES



1. STATUS OF THIS MEMO

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
addresses).

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.

2. INTRODUCTION

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
Internet:

   - 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



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


     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
     service.


The result was several ideas about name spaces and their management
[IEN-116, RFC-799, RFC-819, RFC-830].  The proposals varied, but a
common thread was the idea of a hierarchical name space, with the
hierarchy roughly corresponding to organizational structure, and names
using "."  as the character to mark the boundary between hierarchy
levels.  A design using a distributed database and generalized resources
was described in [RFC-882, RFC-883].  Based on experience with several
implementations, the system evolved into the scheme described in this
memo.

The terms "domain" or "domain name" are used in many contexts beyond the
DNS described here.  Very often, the term domain name is used to refer
to a name with structure indicated by dots, but no relation to the DNS.
This is particularly true in mail addressing [Quarterman 86].

2.2. DNS design goals

The design goals of the DNS influence its structure.  They are:

   - The primary goal is a consistent name space which will be used
     for referring to resources.  In order to avoid the problems
     caused by ad hoc encodings, names should not be required to
     contain network identifiers, addresses, routes, or similar
     information as part of the name.

   - The sheer size of the database and frequency of updates
     suggest that it must be maintained in a distributed manner,
     with local caching to improve performance.  Approaches that



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


     attempt to collect a consistent copy of the entire database
     will become more and more expensive and difficult, and hence
     should be avoided.  The same principle holds for the structure
     of the name space, and in particular mechanisms for creating
     and deleting names; these should also be distributed.

   - Where there tradeoffs between the cost of acquiring data, the
     speed of updates, and the accuracy of caches, the source of
     the data should control the tradeoff.

   - The costs of implementing such a facility dictate that it be
     generally useful, and not restricted to a single application.
     We should be able to use names to retrieve host addresses,
     mailbox data, and other as yet undetermined information.  All
     data associated with a name is tagged with a type, and queries
     can be limited to a single type.

   - Because we want the name space to be useful in dissimilar
     networks and applications, we provide the ability to use the
     same name space with different protocol families or
     management.  For example, host address formats differ between
     protocols, though all protocols have the notion of address.
     The DNS tags all data with a class as well as the type, so
     that we can allow parallel use of different formats for data
     of type address.

   - We want name server transactions to be independent of the
     communications system that carries them.  Some systems may
     wish to use datagrams for queries and responses, and only
     establish virtual circuits for transactions that need the
     reliability (e.g., database updates, long transactions); other
     systems will use virtual circuits exclusively.

   - The system should be useful across a wide spectrum of host
     capabilities.  Both personal computers and large timeshared
     hosts should be able to use the system, though perhaps in
     different ways.

2.3. Assumptions about usage

The organization of the domain system derives from some assumptions
about the needs and usage patterns of its user community and is designed
to avoid many of the the complicated problems found in general purpose
database systems.

The assumptions are:

   - The size of the total database will initially be proportional



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


     to the number of hosts using the system, but will eventually
     grow to be proportional to the number of users on those hosts
     as mailboxes and other information are added to the domain
     system.

   - Most of the data in the system will change very slowly (e.g.,
     mailbox bindings, host addresses), but that the system should
     be able to deal with subsets that change more rapidly (on the
     order of seconds or minutes).

   - The administrative boundaries used to distribute
     responsibility for the database will usually correspond to
     organizations that have one or more hosts.  Each organization
     that has responsibility for a particular set of domains will
     provide redundant name servers, either on the organization's
     own hosts or other hosts that the organization arranges to
     use.

   - Clients of the domain system should be able to identify
     trusted name servers they prefer to use before accepting
     referrals to name servers outside of this "trusted" set.

   - Access to information is more critical than instantaneous
     updates or guarantees of consistency.  Hence the update
     process allows updates to percolate out through the users of
     the domain system rather than guaranteeing that all copies are
     simultaneously updated.  When updates are unavailable due to
     network or host failure, the usual course is to believe old
     information while continuing efforts to update it.  The
     general model is that copies are distributed with timeouts for
     refreshing.  The distributor sets the timeout value and the
     recipient of the distribution is responsible for performing
     the refresh.  In special situations, very short intervals can
     be specified, or the owner can prohibit copies.

   - In any system that has a distributed database, a particular
     name server may be presented with a query that can only be
     answered by some other server.  The two general approaches to
     dealing with this problem are "recursive", in which the first
     server pursues the query for the client at another server, and
     "iterative", in which the server refers the client to another
     server and lets the client pursue the query.  Both approaches
     have advantages and disadvantages, but the iterative approach
     is preferred for the datagram style of access.  The domain
     system requires implementation of the iterative approach, but
     allows the recursive approach as an option.





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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


The domain system assumes that all data originates in master files
scattered through the hosts that use the domain system.  These master
files are updated by local system administrators.  Master files are text
files that are read by a local name server, and hence become available
through the name servers to users of the domain system.  The user
programs access name servers through standard programs called resolvers.

The standard format of master files allows them to be exchanged between
hosts (via FTP, mail, or some other mechanism); this facility is useful
when an organization wants a domain, but doesn't want to support a name
server.  The organization can maintain the master files locally using a
text editor, transfer them to a foreign host which runs a name server,
and then arrange with the system administrator of the name server to get
the files loaded.

Each host's name servers and resolvers are configured by a local system
administrator [RFC-1033].  For a name server, this configuration data
includes the identity of local master files and instructions on which
non-local master files are to be loaded from foreign servers.  The name
server uses the master files or copies to load its zones.  For
resolvers, the configuration data identifies the name servers which
should be the primary sources of information.

The domain system defines procedures for accessing the data and for
referrals to other name servers.  The domain system also defines
procedures for caching retrieved data and for periodic refreshing of
data defined by the system administrator.

The system administrators provide:

   - The definition of zone boundaries.

   - Master files of data.

   - Updates to master files.

   - Statements of the refresh policies desired.

The domain system provides:

   - Standard formats for resource data.

   - Standard methods for querying the database.

   - Standard methods for name servers to refresh local data from
     foreign name servers.





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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


2.4. Elements of the DNS

The DNS has three major components:

   - The DOMAIN NAME SPACE and RESOURCE RECORDS, which are
     specifications for a tree structured name space and data
     associated with the names.  Conceptually, each node and leaf
     of the domain name space tree names a set of information, and
     query operations are attempts to extract specific types of
     information from a particular set.  A query names the domain
     name of interest and describes the type of resource
     information that is desired.  For example, the Internet
     uses some of its domain names to identify hosts; queries for
     address resources return Internet host addresses.

   - NAME SERVERS are server programs which hold information about
     the domain tree's structure and set information.  A name
     server may cache structure or set information about any part
     of the domain tree, but in general a particular name server
     has complete information about a subset of the domain space,
     and pointers to other name servers that can be used to lead to
     information from any part of the domain tree.  Name servers
     know the parts of the domain tree for which they have complete
     information; a name server is said to be an AUTHORITY for
     these parts of the name space.  Authoritative information is
     organized into units called ZONEs, and these zones can be
     automatically distributed to the name servers which provide
     redundant service for the data in a zone.

   - RESOLVERS are programs that extract information from name
     servers in response to client requests.  Resolvers must be
     able to access at least one name server and use that name
     server's information to answer a query directly, or pursue the
     query using referrals to other name servers.  A resolver will
     typically be a system routine that is directly accessible to
     user programs; hence no protocol is necessary between the
     resolver and the user program.

These three components roughly correspond to the three layers or views
of the domain system:

   - From the user's point of view, the domain system is accessed
     through a simple procedure or OS call to a local resolver.
     The domain space consists of a single tree and the user can
     request information from any section of the tree.

   - From the resolver's point of view, the domain system is
     composed of an unknown number of name servers.  Each name



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


     server has one or more pieces of the whole domain tree's data,
     but the resolver views each of these databases as essentially
     static.

   - From a name server's point of view, the domain system consists
     of separate sets of local information called zones.  The name
     server has local copies of some of the zones.  The name server
     must periodically refresh its zones from master copies in
     local files or foreign name servers.  The name server must
     concurrently process queries that arrive from resolvers.

In the interests of performance, implementations may couple these
functions.  For example, a resolver on the same machine as a name server
might share a database consisting of the the zones managed by the name
server and the cache managed by the resolver.

3. DOMAIN NAME SPACE and RESOURCE RECORDS

3.1. Name space specifications and terminology

The domain name space is a tree structure.  Each node and leaf on the
tree corresponds to a resource set (which may be empty).  The domain
system makes no distinctions between the uses of the interior nodes and
leaves, and this memo uses the term "node" to refer to both.

Each node has a label, which is zero to 63 octets in length.  Brother
nodes may not have the same label, although the same label can be used
for nodes which are not brothers.  One label is reserved, and that is
the null (i.e., zero length) label used for the root.

The domain name of a node is the list of the labels on the path from the
node to the root of the tree.  By convention, the labels that compose a
domain name are printed or read left to right, from the most specific
(lowest, farthest from the root) to the least specific (highest, closest
to the root).

Internally, programs that manipulate domain names should represent them
as sequences of labels, where each label is a length octet followed by
an octet string.  Because all domain names end at the root, which has a
null string for a label, these internal representations can use a length
byte of zero to terminate a domain name.

By convention, domain names can be stored with arbitrary case, but
domain name comparisons for all present domain functions are done in a
case-insensitive manner, assuming an ASCII character set, and a high
order zero bit.  This means that you are free to create a node with
label "A" or a node with label "a", but not both as brothers; you could
refer to either using "a" or "A".  When you receive a domain name or



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


label, you should preserve its case.  The rationale for this choice is
that we may someday need to add full binary domain names for new
services; existing services would not be changed.

When a user needs to type a domain name, the length of each label is
omitted and the labels are separated by dots (".").  Since a complete
domain name ends with the root label, this leads to a printed form which
ends in a dot.  We use this property to distinguish between:

   - a character string which represents a complete domain name
     (often called "absolute").  For example, "poneria.ISI.EDU."

   - a character string that represents the starting labels of a
     domain name which is incomplete, and should be completed by
     local software using knowledge of the local domain (often
     called "relative").  For example, "poneria" used in the
     ISI.EDU domain.

Relative names are either taken relative to a well known origin, or to a
list of domains used as a search list.  Relative names appear mostly at
the user interface, where their interpretation varies from
implementation to implementation, and in master files, where they are
relative to a single origin domain name.  The most common interpretation
uses the root "." as either the single origin or as one of the members
of the search list, so a multi-label relative name is often one where
the trailing dot has been omitted to save typing.

To simplify implementations, the total number of octets that represent a
domain name (i.e., the sum of all label octets and label lengths) is
limited to 255.

A domain is identified by a domain name, and consists of that part of
the domain name space that is at or below the domain name which
specifies the domain.  A domain is a subdomain of another domain if it
is contained within that domain.  This relationship can be tested by
seeing if the subdomain's name ends with the containing domain's name.
For example, A.B.C.D is a subdomain of B.C.D, C.D, D, and " ".

3.2. Administrative guidelines on use

As a matter of policy, the DNS technical specifications do not mandate a
particular tree structure or rules for selecting labels; its goal is to
be as general as possible, so that it can be used to build arbitrary
applications.  In particular, the system was designed so that the name
space did not have to be organized along the lines of network
boundaries, name servers, etc.  The rationale for this is not that the
name space should have no implied semantics, but rather that the choice
of implied semantics should be left open to be used for the problem at



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


hand, and that different parts of the tree can have different implied
semantics.  For example, the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain is organized and
distributed by network and host address because its role is to translate
from network or host numbers to names; NetBIOS domains [RFC-1001, RFC-
1002] are flat because that is appropriate for that application.

However, there are some guidelines that apply to the "normal" parts of
the name space used for hosts, mailboxes, etc., that will make the name
space more uniform, provide for growth, and minimize problems as
software is converted from the older host table.  The political
decisions about the top levels of the tree originated in RFC-920.
Current policy for the top levels is discussed in [RFC-1032].  MILNET
conversion issues are covered in [RFC-1031].

Lower domains which will eventually be broken into multiple zones should
provide branching at the top of the domain so that the eventual
decomposition can be done without renaming.  Node labels which use
special characters, leading digits, etc., are likely to break older
software which depends on more restrictive choices.

3.3. Technical guidelines on use

Before the DNS can be used to hold naming information for some kind of
object, two needs must be met:

   - A convention for mapping between object names and domain
     names.  This describes how information about an object is
     accessed.

   - RR types and data formats for describing the object.

These rules can be quite simple or fairly complex.  Very often, the
designer must take into account existing formats and plan for upward
compatibility for existing usage.  Multiple mappings or levels of
mapping may be required.

For hosts, the mapping depends on the existing syntax for host names
which is a subset of the usual text representation for domain names,
together with RR formats for describing host addresses, etc.  Because we
need a reliable inverse mapping from address to host name, a special
mapping for addresses into the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain is also defined.

For mailboxes, the mapping is slightly more complex.  The usual mail
address <local-part>@<mail-domain> is mapped into a domain name by
converting <local-part> into a single label (regardles of dots it
contains), converting <mail-domain> into a domain name using the usual
text format for domain names (dots denote label breaks), and
concatenating the two to form a single domain name.  Thus the mailbox



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


HOSTMASTER@SRI-NIC.ARPA is represented as a domain name by
HOSTMASTER.SRI-NIC.ARPA.  An appreciation for the reasons behind this
design also must take into account the scheme for mail exchanges [RFC-
974].

The typical user is not concerned with defining these rules, but should
understand that they usually are the result of numerous compromises
between desires for upward compatibility with old usage, interactions
between different object definitions, and the inevitable urge to add new
features when defining the rules.  The way the DNS is used to support
some object is often more crucial than the restrictions inherent in the
DNS.

3.4. Example name space

The following figure shows a part of the current domain name space, and
is used in many examples in this RFC.  Note that the tree is a very
small subset of the actual name space.

                                   |
                                   |
             +---------------------+------------------+
             |                     |                  |
            MIL                   EDU                ARPA
             |                     |                  |
             |                     |                  |
       +-----+-----+               |     +------+-----+-----+
       |     |     |               |     |      |           |
      BRL  NOSC  DARPA             |  IN-ADDR  SRI-NIC     ACC
                                   |
       +--------+------------------+---------------+--------+
       |        |                  |               |        |
      UCI      MIT                 |              UDEL     YALE
                |                 ISI
                |                  |
            +---+---+              |
            |       |              |
           LCS  ACHILLES  +--+-----+-----+--------+
            |             |  |     |     |        |
            XX            A  C   VAXA  VENERA Mockapetris

In this example, the root domain has three immediate subdomains: MIL,
EDU, and ARPA.  The LCS.MIT.EDU domain has one immediate subdomain named
XX.LCS.MIT.EDU.  All of the leaves are also domains.

3.5. Preferred name syntax

The DNS specifications attempt to be as general as possible in the rules



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


for constructing domain names.  The idea is that the name of any
existing object can be expressed as a domain name with minimal changes.
However, when assigning a domain name for an object, the prudent user
will select a name which satisfies both the rules of the domain system
and any existing rules for the object, whether these rules are published
or implied by existing programs.

For example, when naming a mail domain, the user should satisfy both the
rules of this memo and those in RFC-822.  When creating a new host name,
the old rules for HOSTS.TXT should be followed.  This avoids problems
when old software is converted to use domain names.

The following syntax will result in fewer problems with many
applications that use domain names (e.g., mail, TELNET).

<domain> ::= <subdomain> | " "

<subdomain> ::= <label> | <subdomain> "." <label>

<label> ::= <letter> [ [ <ldh-str> ] <let-dig> ]

<ldh-str> ::= <let-dig-hyp> | <let-dig-hyp> <ldh-str>

<let-dig-hyp> ::= <let-dig> | "-"

<let-dig> ::= <letter> | <digit>

<letter> ::= any one of the 52 alphabetic characters A through Z in
upper case and a through z in lower case

<digit> ::= any one of the ten digits 0 through 9

Note that while upper and lower case letters are allowed in domain
names, no significance is attached to the case.  That is, two names with
the same spelling but different case are to be treated as if identical.

The labels must follow the rules for ARPANET host names.  They must
start with a letter, end with a letter or digit, and have as interior
characters only letters, digits, and hyphen.  There are also some
restrictions on the length.  Labels must be 63 characters or less.

For example, the following strings identify hosts in the Internet:

A.ISI.EDU  XX.LCS.MIT.EDU  SRI-NIC.ARPA

3.6. Resource Records

A domain name identifies a node.  Each node has a set of resource



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


information, which may be empty.  The set of resource information
associated with a particular name is composed of separate resource
records (RRs).  The order of RRs in a set is not significant, and need
not be preserved by name servers, resolvers, or other parts of the DNS.

When we talk about a specific RR, we assume it has the following:

owner           which is the domain name where the RR is found.

type            which is an encoded 16 bit value that specifies the type
                of the resource in this resource record.  Types refer to
                abstract resources.

                This memo uses the following types:

                A               a host address

                CNAME           identifies the canonical name of an
                                alias

                HINFO           identifies the CPU and OS used by a host

                MX              identifies a mail exchange for the
                                domain.  See [RFC-974 for details.

                NS
                the authoritative name server for the domain

                PTR
                a pointer to another part of the domain name space

                SOA
                identifies the start of a zone of authority]

class           which is an encoded 16 bit value which identifies a
                protocol family or instance of a protocol.

                This memo uses the following classes:

                IN              the Internet system

                CH              the Chaos system

TTL             which is the time to live of the RR.  This field is a 32
                bit integer in units of seconds, an is primarily used by
                resolvers when they cache RRs.  The TTL describes how
                long a RR can be cached before it should be discarded.




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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


RDATA           which is the type and sometimes class dependent data
                which describes the resource:

                A               For the IN class, a 32 bit IP address

                                For the CH class, a domain name followed
                                by a 16 bit octal Chaos address.

                CNAME           a domain name.

                MX              a 16 bit preference value (lower is
                                better) followed by a host name willing
                                to act as a mail exchange for the owner
                                domain.

                NS              a host name.

                PTR             a domain name.

                SOA             several fields.

The owner name is often implicit, rather than forming an integral part
of the RR.  For example, many name servers internally form tree or hash
structures for the name space, and chain RRs off nodes.  The remaining
RR parts are the fixed header (type, class, TTL) which is consistent for
all RRs, and a variable part (RDATA) that fits the needs of the resource
being described.

The meaning of the TTL field is a time limit on how long an RR can be
kept in a cache.  This limit does not apply to authoritative data in
zones; it is also timed out, but by the refreshing policies for the
zone.  The TTL is assigned by the administrator for the zone where the
data originates.  While short TTLs can be used to minimize caching, and
a zero TTL prohibits caching, the realities of Internet performance
suggest that these times should be on the order of days for the typical
host.  If a change can be anticipated, the TTL can be reduced prior to
the change to minimize inconsistency during the change, and then
increased back to its former value following the change.

The data in the RDATA section of RRs is carried as a combination of
binary strings and domain names.  The domain names are frequently used
as "pointers" to other data in the DNS.

3.6.1. Textual expression of RRs

RRs are represented in binary form in the packets of the DNS protocol,
and are usually represented in highly encoded form when stored in a name
server or resolver.  In this memo, we adopt a style similar to that used



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


in master files in order to show the contents of RRs.  In this format,
most RRs are shown on a single line, although continuation lines are
possible using parentheses.

The start of the line gives the owner of the RR.  If a line begins with
a blank, then the owner is assumed to be the same as that of the
previous RR.  Blank lines are often included for readability.

Following the owner, we list the TTL, type, and class of the RR.  Class
and type use the mnemonics defined above, and TTL is an integer before
the type field.  In order to avoid ambiguity in parsing, type and class
mnemonics are disjoint, TTLs are integers, and the type mnemonic is
always last. The IN class and TTL values are often omitted from examples
in the interests of clarity.

The resource data or RDATA section of the RR are given using knowledge
of the typical representation for the data.

For example, we might show the RRs carried in a message as:

    ISI.EDU.        MX      10 VENERA.ISI.EDU.
                    MX      10 VAXA.ISI.EDU.
    VENERA.ISI.EDU. A       128.9.0.32
                    A       10.1.0.52
    VAXA.ISI.EDU.   A       10.2.0.27
                    A       128.9.0.33

The MX RRs have an RDATA section which consists of a 16 bit number
followed by a domain name.  The address RRs use a standard IP address
format to contain a 32 bit internet address.

This example shows six RRs, with two RRs at each of three domain names.

Similarly we might see:

    XX.LCS.MIT.EDU. IN      A       10.0.0.44
                    CH      A       MIT.EDU. 2420

This example shows two addresses for XX.LCS.MIT.EDU, each of a different
class.

3.6.2. Aliases and canonical names

In existing systems, hosts and other resources often have several names
that identify the same resource.  For example, the names C.ISI.EDU and
USC-ISIC.ARPA both identify the same host.  Similarly, in the case of
mailboxes, many organizations provide many names that actually go to the
same mailbox; for example Mockapetris@C.ISI.EDU, Mockapetris@B.ISI.EDU,



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


and PVM@ISI.EDU all go to the same mailbox (although the mechanism
behind this is somewhat complicated).

Most of these systems have a notion that one of the equivalent set of
names is the canonical or primary name and all others are aliases.

The domain system provides such a feature using the canonical name
(CNAME) RR.  A CNAME RR identifies its owner name as an alias, and
specifies the corresponding canonical name in the RDATA section of the
RR.  If a CNAME RR is present at a node, no other data should be
present; this ensures that the data for a canonical name and its aliases
cannot be different.  This rule also insures that a cached CNAME can be
used without checking with an authoritative server for other RR types.

CNAME RRs cause special action in DNS software.  When a name server
fails to find a desired RR in the resource set associated with the
domain name, it checks to see if the resource set consists of a CNAME
record with a matching class.  If so, the name server includes the CNAME
record in the response and restarts the query at the domain name
specified in the data field of the CNAME record.  The one exception to
this rule is that queries which match the CNAME type are not restarted.

For example, suppose a name server was processing a query with for USC-
ISIC.ARPA, asking for type A information, and had the following resource
records:

    USC-ISIC.ARPA   IN      CNAME   C.ISI.EDU

    C.ISI.EDU       IN      A       10.0.0.52

Both of these RRs would be returned in the response to the type A query,
while a type CNAME or * query should return just the CNAME.

Domain names in RRs which point at another name should always point at
the primary name and not the alias.  This avoids extra indirections in
accessing information.  For example, the address to name RR for the
above host should be:

    52.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA  IN      PTR     C.ISI.EDU

rather than pointing at USC-ISIC.ARPA.  Of course, by the robustness
principle, domain software should not fail when presented with CNAME
chains or loops; CNAME chains should be followed and CNAME loops
signalled as an error.

3.7. Queries

Queries are messages which may be sent to a name server to provoke a



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


response.  In the Internet, queries are carried in UDP datagrams or over
TCP connections.  The response by the name server either answers the
question posed in the query, refers the requester to another set of name
servers, or signals some error condition.

In general, the user does not generate queries directly, but instead
makes a request to a resolver which in turn sends one or more queries to
name servers and deals with the error conditions and referrals that may
result.  Of course, the possible questions which can be asked in a query
does shape the kind of service a resolver can provide.

DNS queries and responses are carried in a standard message format.  The
message format has a header containing a number of fixed fields which
are always present, and four sections which carry query parameters and
RRs.

The most important field in the header is a four bit field called an
opcode which separates different queries.  Of the possible 16 values,
one (standard query) is part of the official protocol, two (inverse
query and status query) are options, one (completion) is obsolete, and
the rest are unassigned.

The four sections are:

Question        Carries the query name and other query parameters.

Answer          Carries RRs which directly answer the query.

Authority       Carries RRs which describe other authoritative servers.
                May optionally carry the SOA RR for the authoritative
                data in the answer section.

Additional      Carries RRs which may be helpful in using the RRs in the
                other sections.

Note that the content, but not the format, of these sections varies with
header opcode.

3.7.1. Standard queries

A standard query specifies a target domain name (QNAME), query type
(QTYPE), and query class (QCLASS) and asks for RRs which match.  This
type of query makes up such a vast majority of DNS queries that we use
the term "query" to mean standard query unless otherwise specified.  The
QTYPE and QCLASS fields are each 16 bits long, and are a superset of
defined types and classes.





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The QTYPE field may contain:

<any type>      matches just that type. (e.g., A, PTR).

AXFR            special zone transfer QTYPE.

MAILB           matches all mail box related RRs (e.g. MB and MG).

*               matches all RR types.

The QCLASS field may contain:

<any class>     matches just that class (e.g., IN, CH).

*               matches aLL RR classes.

Using the query domain name, QTYPE, and QCLASS, the name server looks
for matching RRs.  In addition to relevant records, the name server may
return RRs that point toward a name server that has the desired
information or RRs that are expected to be useful in interpreting the
relevant RRs.  For example, a name server that doesn't have the
requested information may know a name server that does; a name server
that returns a domain name in a relevant RR may also return the RR that
binds that domain name to an address.

For example, a mailer tying to send mail to Mockapetris@ISI.EDU might
ask the resolver for mail information about ISI.EDU, resulting in a
query for QNAME=ISI.EDU, QTYPE=MX, QCLASS=IN.  The response's answer
section would be:

    ISI.EDU.        MX      10 VENERA.ISI.EDU.
                    MX      10 VAXA.ISI.EDU.

while the additional section might be:

    VAXA.ISI.EDU.   A       10.2.0.27
                    A       128.9.0.33
    VENERA.ISI.EDU. A       10.1.0.52
                    A       128.9.0.32

Because the server assumes that if the requester wants mail exchange
information, it will probably want the addresses of the mail exchanges
soon afterward.

Note that the QCLASS=* construct requires special interpretation
regarding authority.  Since a particular name server may not know all of
the classes available in the domain system, it can never know if it is
authoritative for all classes.  Hence responses to QCLASS=* queries can



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never be authoritative.

3.7.2. Inverse queries (Optional)

Name servers may also support inverse queries that map a particular
resource to a domain name or domain names that have that resource.  For
example, while a standard query might map a domain name to a SOA RR, the
corresponding inverse query might map the SOA RR back to the domain
name.

Implementation of this service is optional in a name server, but all
name servers must at least be able to understand an inverse query
message and return a not-implemented error response.

The domain system cannot guarantee the completeness or uniqueness of
inverse queries because the domain system is organized by domain name
rather than by host address or any other resource type.  Inverse queries
are primarily useful for debugging and database maintenance activities.

Inverse queries may not return the proper TTL, and do not indicate cases
where the identified RR is one of a set (for example, one address for a
host having multiple addresses).  Therefore, the RRs returned in inverse
queries should never be cached.

Inverse queries are NOT an acceptable method for mapping host addresses
to host names; use the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain instead.

A detailed discussion of inverse queries is contained in [RFC-1035].

3.8. Status queries (Experimental)

To be defined.

3.9. Completion queries (Obsolete)

The optional completion services described in RFCs 882 and 883 have been
deleted.  Redesigned services may become available in the future, or the
opcodes may be reclaimed for other use.

4. NAME SERVERS

4.1. Introduction

Name servers are the repositories of information that make up the domain
database.  The database is divided up into sections called zones, which
are distributed among the name servers.  While name servers can have
several optional functions and sources of data, the essential task of a
name server is to answer queries using data in its zones.  By design,



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name servers can answer queries in a simple manner; the response can
always be generated using only local data, and either contains the
answer to the question or a referral to other name servers "closer" to
the desired information.

A given zone will be available from several name servers to insure its
availability in spite of host or communication link failure.  By
administrative fiat, we require every zone to be available on at least
two servers, and many zones have more redundancy than that.

A given name server will typically support one or more zones, but this
gives it authoritative information about only a small section of the
domain tree.  It may also have some cached non-authoritative data about
other parts of the tree.  The name server marks its responses to queries
so that the requester can tell whether the response comes from
authoritative data or not.

4.2. How the database is divided into zones

The domain database is partitioned in two ways: by class, and by "cuts"
made in the name space between nodes.

The class partition is simple.  The database for any class is organized,
delegated, and maintained separately from all other classes.  Since, by
convention, the name spaces are the same for all classes, the separate
classes can be thought of as an array of parallel namespace trees.  Note
that the data attached to nodes will be different for these different
parallel classes.  The most common reasons for creating a new class are
the necessity for a new data format for existing types or a desire for a
separately managed version of the existing name space.

Within a class, "cuts" in the name space can be made between any two
adjacent nodes.  After all cuts are made, each group of connected name
space is a separate zone.  The zone is said to be authoritative for all
names in the connected region.  Note that the "cuts" in the name space
may be in different places for different classes, the name servers may
be different, etc.

These rules mean that every zone has at least one node, and hence domain
name, for which it is authoritative, and all of the nodes in a
particular zone are connected.  Given, the tree structure, every zone
has a highest node which is closer to the root than any other node in
the zone.  The name of this node is often used to identify the zone.

It would be possible, though not particularly useful, to partition the
name space so that each domain name was in a separate zone or so that
all nodes were in a single zone.  Instead, the database is partitioned
at points where a particular organization wants to take over control of



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


a subtree.  Once an organization controls its own zone it can
unilaterally change the data in the zone, grow new tree sections
connected to the zone, delete existing nodes, or delegate new subzones
under its zone.

If the organization has substructure, it may want to make further
internal partitions to achieve nested delegations of name space control.
In some cases, such divisions are made purely to make database
maintenance more convenient.

4.2.1. Technical considerations

The data that describes a zone has four major parts:

   - Authoritative data for all nodes within the zone.

   - Data that defines the top node of the zone (can be thought of
     as part of the authoritative data).

   - Data that describes delegated subzones, i.e., cuts around the
     bottom of the zone.

   - Data that allows access to name servers for subzones
     (sometimes called "glue" data).

All of this data is expressed in the form of RRs, so a zone can be
completely described in terms of a set of RRs.  Whole zones can be
transferred between name servers by transferring the RRs, either carried
in a series of messages or by FTPing a master file which is a textual
representation.

The authoritative data for a zone is simply all of the RRs attached to
all of the nodes from the top node of the zone down to leaf nodes or
nodes above cuts around the bottom edge of the zone.

Though logically part of the authoritative data, the RRs that describe
the top node of the zone are especially important to the zone's
management.  These RRs are of two types: name server RRs that list, one
per RR, all of the servers for the zone, and a single SOA RR that
describes zone management parameters.

The RRs that describe cuts around the bottom of the zone are NS RRs that
name the servers for the subzones.  Since the cuts are between nodes,
these RRs are NOT part of the authoritative data of the zone, and should
be exactly the same as the corresponding RRs in the top node of the
subzone.  Since name servers are always associated with zone boundaries,
NS RRs are only found at nodes which are the top node of some zone.  In
the data that makes up a zone, NS RRs are found at the top node of the



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


zone (and are authoritative) and at cuts around the bottom of the zone
(where they are not authoritative), but never in between.

One of the goals of the zone structure is that any zone have all the
data required to set up communications with the name servers for any
subzones.  That is, parent zones have all the information needed to
access servers for their children zones.  The NS RRs that name the
servers for subzones are often not enough for this task since they name
the servers, but do not give their addresses.  In particular, if the
name of the name server is itself in the subzone, we could be faced with
the situation where the NS RRs tell us that in order to learn a name
server's address, we should contact the server using the address we wish
to learn.  To fix this problem, a zone contains "glue" RRs which are not
part of the authoritative data, and are address RRs for the servers.
These RRs are only necessary if the name server's name is "below" the
cut, and are only used as part of a referral response.

4.2.2. Administrative considerations

When some organization wants to control its own domain, the first step
is to identify the proper parent zone, and get the parent zone's owners
to agree to the delegation of control.  While there are no particular
technical constraints dealing with where in the tree this can be done,
there are some administrative groupings discussed in [RFC-1032] which
deal with top level organization, and middle level zones are free to
create their own rules.  For example, one university might choose to use
a single zone, while another might choose to organize by subzones
dedicated to individual departments or schools.  [RFC-1033] catalogs
available DNS software an discusses administration procedures.

Once the proper name for the new subzone is selected, the new owners
should be required to demonstrate redundant name server support.  Note
that there is no requirement that the servers for a zone reside in a
host which has a name in that domain.  In many cases, a zone will be
more accessible to the internet at large if its servers are widely
distributed rather than being within the physical facilities controlled
by the same organization that manages the zone.  For example, in the
current DNS, one of the name servers for the United Kingdom, or UK
domain, is found in the US.  This allows US hosts to get UK data without
using limited transatlantic bandwidth.

As the last installation step, the delegation NS RRs and glue RRs
necessary to make the delegation effective should be added to the parent
zone.  The administrators of both zones should insure that the NS and
glue RRs which mark both sides of the cut are consistent and remain so.

4.3. Name server internals




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4.3.1. Queries and responses

The principal activity of name servers is to answer standard queries.
Both the query and its response are carried in a standard message format
which is described in [RFC-1035].  The query contains a QTYPE, QCLASS,
and QNAME, which describe the types and classes of desired information
and the name of interest.

The way that the name server answers the query depends upon whether it
is operating in recursive mode or not:

   - The simplest mode for the server is non-recursive, since it
     can answer queries using only local information: the response
     contains an error, the answer, or a referral to some other
     server "closer" to the answer.  All name servers must
     implement non-recursive queries.

   - The simplest mode for the client is recursive, since in this
     mode the name server acts in the role of a resolver and
     returns either an error or the answer, but never referrals.
     This service is optional in a name server, and the name server
     may also choose to restrict the clients which can use
     recursive mode.

Recursive service is helpful in several situations:

   - a relatively simple requester that lacks the ability to use
     anything other than a direct answer to the question.

   - a request that needs to cross protocol or other boundaries and
     can be sent to a server which can act as intermediary.

   - a network where we want to concentrate the cache rather than
     having a separate cache for each client.

Non-recursive service is appropriate if the requester is capable of
pursuing referrals and interested in information which will aid future
requests.

The use of recursive mode is limited to cases where both the client and
the name server agree to its use.  The agreement is negotiated through
the use of two bits in query and response messages:

   - The recursion available, or RA bit, is set or cleared by a
     name server in all responses.  The bit is true if the name
     server is willing to provide recursive service for the client,
     regardless of whether the client requested recursive service.
     That is, RA signals availability rather than use.



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


   - Queries contain a bit called recursion desired or RD.  This
     bit specifies specifies whether the requester wants recursive
     service for this query.  Clients may request recursive service
     from any name server, though they should depend upon receiving
     it only from servers which have previously sent an RA, or
     servers which have agreed to provide service through private
     agreement or some other means outside of the DNS protocol.

The recursive mode occurs when a query with RD set arrives at a server
which is willing to provide recursive service; the client can verify
that recursive mode was used by checking that both RA and RD are set in
the reply.  Note that the name server should never perform recursive
service unless asked via RD, since this interferes with trouble shooting
of name servers and their databases.

If recursive service is requested and available, the recursive response
to a query will be one of the following:

   - The answer to the query, possibly preface by one or more CNAME
     RRs that specify aliases encountered on the way to an answer.

   - A name error indicating that the name does not exist.  This
     may include CNAME RRs that indicate that the original query
     name was an alias for a name which does not exist.

   - A temporary error indication.

If recursive service is not requested or is not available, the non-
recursive response will be one of the following:

   - An authoritative name error indicating that the name does not
     exist.

   - A temporary error indication.

   - Some combination of:

     RRs that answer the question, together with an indication
     whether the data comes from a zone or is cached.

     A referral to name servers which have zones which are closer
     ancestors to the name than the server sending the reply.

   - RRs that the name server thinks will prove useful to the
     requester.






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4.3.2. Algorithm

The actual algorithm used by the name server will depend on the local OS
and data structures used to store RRs.  The following algorithm assumes
that the RRs are organized in several tree structures, one for each
zone, and another for the cache:

   1. Set or clear the value of recursion available in the response
      depending on whether the name server is willing to provide
      recursive service.  If recursive service is available and
      requested via the RD bit in the query, go to step 5,
      otherwise step 2.

   2. Search the available zones for the zone which is the nearest
      ancestor to QNAME.  If such a zone is found, go to step 3,
      otherwise step 4.

   3. Start matching down, label by label, in the zone.  The
      matching process can terminate several ways:

         a. If the whole of QNAME is matched, we have found the
            node.

            If the data at the node is a CNAME, and QTYPE doesn't
            match CNAME, copy the CNAME RR into the answer section
            of the response, change QNAME to the canonical name in
            the CNAME RR, and go back to step 1.

            Otherwise, copy all RRs which match QTYPE into the
            answer section and go to step 6.

         b. If a match would take us out of the authoritative data,
            we have a referral.  This happens when we encounter a
            node with NS RRs marking cuts along the bottom of a
            zone.

            Copy the NS RRs for the subzone into the authority
            section of the reply.  Put whatever addresses are
            available into the additional section, using glue RRs
            if the addresses are not available from authoritative
            data or the cache.  Go to step 4.

         c. If at some label, a match is impossible (i.e., the
            corresponding label does not exist), look to see if a
            the "*" label exists.

            If the "*" label does not exist, check whether the name
            we are looking for is the original QNAME in the query



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


            or a name we have followed due to a CNAME.  If the name
            is original, set an authoritative name error in the
            response and exit.  Otherwise just exit.

            If the "*" label does exist, match RRs at that node
            against QTYPE.  If any match, copy them into the answer
            section, but set the owner of the RR to be QNAME, and
            not the node with the "*" label.  Go to step 6.

   4. Start matching down in the cache.  If QNAME is found in the
      cache, copy all RRs attached to it that match QTYPE into the
      answer section.  If there was no delegation from
      authoritative data, look for the best one from the cache, and
      put it in the authority section.  Go to step 6.

   5. Using the local resolver or a copy of its algorithm (see
      resolver section of this memo) to answer the query.  Store
      the results, including any intermediate CNAMEs, in the answer
      section of the response.

   6. Using local data only, attempt to add other RRs which may be
      useful to the additional section of the query.  Exit.

4.3.3. Wildcards

In the previous algorithm, special treatment was given to RRs with owner
names starting with the label "*".  Such RRs are called wildcards.
Wildcard RRs can be thought of as instructions for synthesizing RRs.
When the appropriate conditions are met, the name server creates RRs
with an owner name equal to the query name and contents taken from the
wildcard RRs.

This facility is most often used to create a zone which will be used to
forward mail from the Internet to some other mail system.  The general
idea is that any name in that zone which is presented to server in a
query will be assumed to exist, with certain properties, unless explicit
evidence exists to the contrary.  Note that the use of the term zone
here, instead of domain, is intentional; such defaults do not propagate
across zone boundaries, although a subzone may choose to achieve that
appearance by setting up similar defaults.

The contents of the wildcard RRs follows the usual rules and formats for
RRs.  The wildcards in the zone have an owner name that controls the
query names they will match.  The owner name of the wildcard RRs is of
the form "*.<anydomain>", where <anydomain> is any domain name.
<anydomain> should not contain other * labels, and should be in the
authoritative data of the zone.  The wildcards potentially apply to
descendants of <anydomain>, but not to <anydomain> itself.  Another way



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


to look at this is that the "*" label always matches at least one whole
label and sometimes more, but always whole labels.

Wildcard RRs do not apply:

   - When the query is in another zone.  That is, delegation cancels
     the wildcard defaults.

   - When the query name or a name between the wildcard domain and
     the query name is know to exist.  For example, if a wildcard
     RR has an owner name of "*.X", and the zone also contains RRs
     attached to B.X, the wildcards would apply to queries for name
     Z.X (presuming there is no explicit information for Z.X), but
     not to B.X, A.B.X, or X.

A * label appearing in a query name has no special effect, but can be
used to test for wildcards in an authoritative zone; such a query is the
only way to get a response containing RRs with an owner name with * in
it.  The result of such a query should not be cached.

Note that the contents of the wildcard RRs are not modified when used to
synthesize RRs.

To illustrate the use of wildcard RRs, suppose a large company with a
large, non-IP/TCP, network wanted to create a mail gateway.  If the
company was called X.COM, and IP/TCP capable gateway machine was called
A.X.COM, the following RRs might be entered into the COM zone:

    X.COM           MX      10      A.X.COM

    *.X.COM         MX      10      A.X.COM

    A.X.COM         A       1.2.3.4
    A.X.COM         MX      10      A.X.COM

    *.A.X.COM       MX      10      A.X.COM

This would cause any MX query for any domain name ending in X.COM to
return an MX RR pointing at A.X.COM.  Two wildcard RRs are required
since the effect of the wildcard at *.X.COM is inhibited in the A.X.COM
subtree by the explicit data for A.X.COM.  Note also that the explicit
MX data at X.COM and A.X.COM is required, and that none of the RRs above
would match a query name of XX.COM.

4.3.4. Negative response caching (Optional)

The DNS provides an optional service which allows name servers to
distribute, and resolvers to cache, negative results with TTLs.  For



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


example, a name server can distribute a TTL along with a name error
indication, and a resolver receiving such information is allowed to
assume that the name does not exist during the TTL period without
consulting authoritative data.  Similarly, a resolver can make a query
with a QTYPE which matches multiple types, and cache the fact that some
of the types are not present.

This feature can be particularly important in a system which implements
naming shorthands that use search lists beacuse a popular shorthand,
which happens to require a suffix toward the end of the search list,
will generate multiple name errors whenever it is used.

The method is that a name server may add an SOA RR to the additional
section of a response when that response is authoritative.  The SOA must
be that of the zone which was the source of the authoritative data in
the answer section, or name error if applicable.  The MINIMUM field of
the SOA controls the length of time that the negative result may be
cached.

Note that in some circumstances, the answer section may contain multiple
owner names.  In this case, the SOA mechanism should only be used for
the data which matches QNAME, which is the only authoritative data in
this section.

Name servers and resolvers should never attempt to add SOAs to the
additional section of a non-authoritative response, or attempt to infer
results which are not directly stated in an authoritative response.
There are several reasons for this, including: cached information isn't
usually enough to match up RRs and their zone names, SOA RRs may be
cached due to direct SOA queries, and name servers are not required to
output the SOAs in the authority section.

This feature is optional, although a refined version is expected to
become part of the standard protocol in the future.  Name servers are
not required to add the SOA RRs in all authoritative responses, nor are
resolvers required to cache negative results.  Both are recommended.
All resolvers and recursive name servers are required to at least be
able to ignore the SOA RR when it is present in a response.

Some experiments have also been proposed which will use this feature.
The idea is that if cached data is known to come from a particular zone,
and if an authoritative copy of the zone's SOA is obtained, and if the
zone's SERIAL has not changed since the data was cached, then the TTL of
the cached data can be reset to the zone MINIMUM value if it is smaller.
This usage is mentioned for planning purposes only, and is not
recommended as yet.





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4.3.5. Zone maintenance and transfers

Part of the job of a zone administrator is to maintain the zones at all
of the name servers which are authoritative for the zone.  When the
inevitable changes are made, they must be distributed to all of the name
servers.  While this distribution can be accomplished using FTP or some
other ad hoc procedure, the preferred method is the zone transfer part
of the DNS protocol.

The general model of automatic zone transfer or refreshing is that one
of the name servers is the master or primary for the zone.  Changes are
coordinated at the primary, typically by editing a master file for the
zone.  After editing, the administrator signals the master server to
load the new zone.  The other non-master or secondary servers for the
zone periodically check for changes (at a selectable interval) and
obtain new zone copies when changes have been made.

To detect changes, secondaries just check the SERIAL field of the SOA
for the zone.  In addition to whatever other changes are made, the
SERIAL field in the SOA of the zone is always advanced whenever any
change is made to the zone.  The advancing can be a simple increment, or
could be based on the write date and time of the master file, etc.  The
purpose is to make it possible to determine which of two copies of a
zone is more recent by comparing serial numbers.  Serial number advances
and comparisons use sequence space arithmetic, so there is a theoretic
limit on how fast a zone can be updated, basically that old copies must
die out before the serial number covers half of its 32 bit range.  In
practice, the only concern is that the compare operation deals properly
with comparisons around the boundary between the most positive and most
negative 32 bit numbers.

The periodic polling of the secondary servers is controlled by
parameters in the SOA RR for the zone, which set the minimum acceptable
polling intervals.  The parameters are called REFRESH, RETRY, and
EXPIRE.  Whenever a new zone is loaded in a secondary, the secondary
waits REFRESH seconds before checking with the primary for a new serial.
If this check cannot be completed, new checks are started every RETRY
seconds.  The check is a simple query to the primary for the SOA RR of
the zone.  If the serial field in the secondary's zone copy is equal to
the serial returned by the primary, then no changes have occurred, and
the REFRESH interval wait is restarted.  If the secondary finds it
impossible to perform a serial check for the EXPIRE interval, it must
assume that its copy of the zone is obsolete an discard it.

When the poll shows that the zone has changed, then the secondary server
must request a zone transfer via an AXFR request for the zone.  The AXFR
may cause an error, such as refused, but normally is answered by a
sequence of response messages.  The first and last messages must contain



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


the data for the top authoritative node of the zone.  Intermediate
messages carry all of the other RRs from the zone, including both
authoritative and non-authoritative RRs.  The stream of messages allows
the secondary to construct a copy of the zone.  Because accuracy is
essential, TCP or some other reliable protocol must be used for AXFR
requests.

Each secondary server is required to perform the following operations
against the master, but may also optionally perform these operations
against other secondary servers.  This strategy can improve the transfer
process when the primary is unavailable due to host downtime or network
problems, or when a secondary server has better network access to an
"intermediate" secondary than to the primary.

5. RESOLVERS

5.1. Introduction

Resolvers are programs that interface user programs to domain name
servers.  In the simplest case, a resolver receives a request from a
user program (e.g., mail programs, TELNET, FTP) in the form of a
subroutine call, system call etc., and returns the desired information
in a form compatible with the local host's data formats.

The resolver is located on the same machine as the program that requests
the resolver's services, but it may need to consult name servers on
other hosts.  Because a resolver may need to consult several name
servers, or may have the requested information in a local cache, the
amount of time that a resolver will take to complete can vary quite a
bit, from milliseconds to several seconds.

A very important goal of the resolver is to eliminate network delay and
name server load from most requests by answering them from its cache of
prior results.  It follows that caches which are shared by multiple
processes, users, machines, etc., are more efficient than non-shared
caches.

5.2. Client-resolver interface

5.2.1. Typical functions

The client interface to the resolver is influenced by the local host's
conventions, but the typical resolver-client interface has three
functions:

   1. Host name to host address translation.

      This function is often defined to mimic a previous HOSTS.TXT



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


      based function.  Given a character string, the caller wants
      one or more 32 bit IP addresses.  Under the DNS, it
      translates into a request for type A RRs.  Since the DNS does
      not preserve the order of RRs, this function may choose to
      sort the returned addresses or select the "best" address if
      the service returns only one choice to the client.  Note that
      a multiple address return is recommended, but a single
      address may be the only way to emulate prior HOSTS.TXT
      services.

   2. Host address to host name translation

      This function will often follow the form of previous
      functions.  Given a 32 bit IP address, the caller wants a
      character string.  The octets of the IP address are reversed,
      used as name components, and suffixed with "IN-ADDR.ARPA".  A
      type PTR query is used to get the RR with the primary name of
      the host.  For example, a request for the host name
      corresponding to IP address 1.2.3.4 looks for PTR RRs for
      domain name "4.3.2.1.IN-ADDR.ARPA".

   3. General lookup function

      This function retrieves arbitrary information from the DNS,
      and has no counterpart in previous systems.  The caller
      supplies a QNAME, QTYPE, and QCLASS, and wants all of the
      matching RRs.  This function will often use the DNS format
      for all RR data instead of the local host's, and returns all
      RR content (e.g., TTL) instead of a processed form with local
      quoting conventions.

When the resolver performs the indicated function, it usually has one of
the following results to pass back to the client:

   - One or more RRs giving the requested data.

     In this case the resolver returns the answer in the
     appropriate format.

   - A name error (NE).

     This happens when the referenced name does not exist.  For
     example, a user may have mistyped a host name.

   - A data not found error.

     This happens when the referenced name exists, but data of the
     appropriate type does not.  For example, a host address



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


     function applied to a mailbox name would return this error
     since the name exists, but no address RR is present.

It is important to note that the functions for translating between host
names and addresses may combine the "name error" and "data not found"
error conditions into a single type of error return, but the general
function should not.  One reason for this is that applications may ask
first for one type of information about a name followed by a second
request to the same name for some other type of information; if the two
errors are combined, then useless queries may slow the application.

5.2.2. Aliases

While attempting to resolve a particular request, the resolver may find
that the name in question is an alias.  For example, the resolver might
find that the name given for host name to address translation is an
alias when it finds the CNAME RR.  If possible, the alias condition
should be signalled back from the resolver to the client.

In most cases a resolver simply restarts the query at the new name when
it encounters a CNAME.  However, when performing the general function,
the resolver should not pursue aliases when the CNAME RR matches the
query type.  This allows queries which ask whether an alias is present.
For example, if the query type is CNAME, the user is interested in the
CNAME RR itself, and not the RRs at the name it points to.

Several special conditions can occur with aliases.  Multiple levels of
aliases should be avoided due to their lack of efficiency, but should
not be signalled as an error.  Alias loops and aliases which point to
non-existent names should be caught and an error condition passed back
to the client.

5.2.3. Temporary failures

In a less than perfect world, all resolvers will occasionally be unable
to resolve a particular request.  This condition can be caused by a
resolver which becomes separated from the rest of the network due to a
link failure or gateway problem, or less often by coincident failure or
unavailability of all servers for a particular domain.

It is essential that this sort of condition should not be signalled as a
name or data not present error to applications.  This sort of behavior
is annoying to humans, and can wreak havoc when mail systems use the
DNS.

While in some cases it is possible to deal with such a temporary problem
by blocking the request indefinitely, this is usually not a good choice,
particularly when the client is a server process that could move on to



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


other tasks.  The recommended solution is to always have temporary
failure as one of the possible results of a resolver function, even
though this may make emulation of existing HOSTS.TXT functions more
difficult.

5.3. Resolver internals

Every resolver implementation uses slightly different algorithms, and
typically spends much more logic dealing with errors of various sorts
than typical occurances.  This section outlines a recommended basic
strategy for resolver operation, but leaves details to [RFC-1035].

5.3.1. Stub resolvers

One option for implementing a resolver is to move the resolution
function out of the local machine and into a name server which supports
recursive queries.  This can provide an easy method of providing domain
service in a PC which lacks the resources to perform the resolver
function, or can centralize the cache for a whole local network or
organization.

All that the remaining stub needs is a list of name server addresses
that will perform the recursive requests.  This type of resolver
presumably needs the information in a configuration file, since it
probably lacks the sophistication to locate it in the domain database.
The user also needs to verify that the listed servers will perform the
recursive service; a name server is free to refuse to perform recursive
services for any or all clients.  The user should consult the local
system administrator to find name servers willing to perform the
service.

This type of service suffers from some drawbacks.  Since the recursive
requests may take an arbitrary amount of time to perform, the stub may
have difficulty optimizing retransmission intervals to deal with both
lost UDP packets and dead servers; the name server can be easily
overloaded by too zealous a stub if it interprets retransmissions as new
requests.  Use of TCP may be an answer, but TCP may well place burdens
on the host's capabilities which are similar to those of a real
resolver.

5.3.2. Resources

In addition to its own resources, the resolver may also have shared
access to zones maintained by a local name server.  This gives the
resolver the advantage of more rapid access, but the resolver must be
careful to never let cached information override zone data.  In this
discussion the term "local information" is meant to mean the union of
the cache and such shared zones, with the understanding that



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


authoritative data is always used in preference to cached data when both
are present.

The following resolver algorithm assumes that all functions have been
converted to a general lookup function, and uses the following data
structures to represent the state of a request in progress in the
resolver:

SNAME           the domain name we are searching for.

STYPE           the QTYPE of the search request.

SCLASS          the QCLASS of the search request.

SLIST           a structure which describes the name servers and the
                zone which the resolver is currently trying to query.
                This structure keeps track of the resolver's current
                best guess about which name servers hold the desired
                information; it is updated when arriving information
                changes the guess.  This structure includes the
                equivalent of a zone name, the known name servers for
                the zone, the known addresses for the name servers, and
                history information which can be used to suggest which
                server is likely to be the best one to try next.  The
                zone name equivalent is a match count of the number of
                labels from the root down which SNAME has in common with
                the zone being queried; this is used as a measure of how
                "close" the resolver is to SNAME.

SBELT           a "safety belt" structure of the same form as SLIST,
                which is initialized from a configuration file, and
                lists servers which should be used when the resolver
                doesn't have any local information to guide name server
                selection.  The match count will be -1 to indicate that
                no labels are known to match.

CACHE           A structure which stores the results from previous
                responses.  Since resolvers are responsible for
                discarding old RRs whose TTL has expired, most
                implementations convert the interval specified in
                arriving RRs to some sort of absolute time when the RR
                is stored in the cache.  Instead of counting the TTLs
                down individually, the resolver just ignores or discards
                old RRs when it runs across them in the course of a
                search, or discards them during periodic sweeps to
                reclaim the memory consumed by old RRs.





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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


5.3.3. Algorithm

The top level algorithm has four steps:

   1. See if the answer is in local information, and if so return
      it to the client.

   2. Find the best servers to ask.

   3. Send them queries until one returns a response.

   4. Analyze the response, either:

         a. if the response answers the question or contains a name
            error, cache the data as well as returning it back to
            the client.

         b. if the response contains a better delegation to other
            servers, cache the delegation information, and go to
            step 2.

         c. if the response shows a CNAME and that is not the
            answer itself, cache the CNAME, change the SNAME to the
            canonical name in the CNAME RR and go to step 1.

         d. if the response shows a servers failure or other
            bizarre contents, delete the server from the SLIST and
            go back to step 3.

Step 1 searches the cache for the desired data. If the data is in the
cache, it is assumed to be good enough for normal use.  Some resolvers
have an option at the user interface which will force the resolver to
ignore the cached data and consult with an authoritative server.  This
is not recommended as the default.  If the resolver has direct access to
a name server's zones, it should check to see if the desired data is
present in authoritative form, and if so, use the authoritative data in
preference to cached data.

Step 2 looks for a name server to ask for the required data.  The
general strategy is to look for locally-available name server RRs,
starting at SNAME, then the parent domain name of SNAME, the
grandparent, and so on toward the root.  Thus if SNAME were
Mockapetris.ISI.EDU, this step would look for NS RRs for
Mockapetris.ISI.EDU, then ISI.EDU, then EDU, and then . (the root).
These NS RRs list the names of hosts for a zone at or above SNAME.  Copy
the names into SLIST.  Set up their addresses using local data.  It may
be the case that the addresses are not available.  The resolver has many
choices here; the best is to start parallel resolver processes looking



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


for the addresses while continuing onward with the addresses which are
available.  Obviously, the design choices and options are complicated
and a function of the local host's capabilities.  The recommended
priorities for the resolver designer are:

   1. Bound the amount of work (packets sent, parallel processes
      started) so that a request can't get into an infinite loop or
      start off a chain reaction of requests or queries with other
      implementations EVEN IF SOMEONE HAS INCORRECTLY CONFIGURED
      SOME DATA.

   2. Get back an answer if at all possible.

   3. Avoid unnecessary transmissions.

   4. Get the answer as quickly as possible.

If the search for NS RRs fails, then the resolver initializes SLIST from
the safety belt SBELT.  The basic idea is that when the resolver has no
idea what servers to ask, it should use information from a configuration
file that lists several servers which are expected to be helpful.
Although there are special situations, the usual choice is two of the
root servers and two of the servers for the host's domain.  The reason
for two of each is for redundancy.  The root servers will provide
eventual access to all of the domain space.  The two local servers will
allow the resolver to continue to resolve local names if the local
network becomes isolated from the internet due to gateway or link
failure.

In addition to the names and addresses of the servers, the SLIST data
structure can be sorted to use the best servers first, and to insure
that all addresses of all servers are used in a round-robin manner.  The
sorting can be a simple function of preferring addresses on the local
network over others, or may involve statistics from past events, such as
previous response times and batting averages.

Step 3 sends out queries until a response is received.  The strategy is
to cycle around all of the addresses for all of the servers with a
timeout between each transmission.  In practice it is important to use
all addresses of a multihomed host, and too aggressive a retransmission
policy actually slows response when used by multiple resolvers
contending for the same name server and even occasionally for a single
resolver.  SLIST typically contains data values to control the timeouts
and keep track of previous transmissions.

Step 4 involves analyzing responses.  The resolver should be highly
paranoid in its parsing of responses.  It should also check that the
response matches the query it sent using the ID field in the response.



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


The ideal answer is one from a server authoritative for the query which
either gives the required data or a name error.  The data is passed back
to the user and entered in the cache for future use if its TTL is
greater than zero.

If the response shows a delegation, the resolver should check to see
that the delegation is "closer" to the answer than the servers in SLIST
are.  This can be done by comparing the match count in SLIST with that
computed from SNAME and the NS RRs in the delegation.  If not, the reply
is bogus and should be ignored.  If the delegation is valid the NS
delegation RRs and any address RRs for the servers should be cached.
The name servers are entered in the SLIST, and the search is restarted.

If the response contains a CNAME, the search is restarted at the CNAME
unless the response has the data for the canonical name or if the CNAME
is the answer itself.

Details and implementation hints can be found in [RFC-1035].

6. A SCENARIO

In our sample domain space, suppose we wanted separate administrative
control for the root, MIL, EDU, MIT.EDU and ISI.EDU zones.  We might
allocate name servers as follows:


                                   |(C.ISI.EDU,SRI-NIC.ARPA
                                   | A.ISI.EDU)
             +---------------------+------------------+
             |                     |                  |
            MIL                   EDU                ARPA
             |(SRI-NIC.ARPA,       |(SRI-NIC.ARPA,    |
             | A.ISI.EDU           | C.ISI.EDU)       |
       +-----+-----+               |     +------+-----+-----+
       |     |     |               |     |      |           |
      BRL  NOSC  DARPA             |  IN-ADDR  SRI-NIC     ACC
                                   |
       +--------+------------------+---------------+--------+
       |        |                  |               |        |
      UCI      MIT                 |              UDEL     YALE
                |(XX.LCS.MIT.EDU, ISI
                |ACHILLES.MIT.EDU) |(VAXA.ISI.EDU,VENERA.ISI.EDU,
            +---+---+              | A.ISI.EDU)
            |       |              |
           LCS   ACHILLES +--+-----+-----+--------+
            |             |  |     |     |        |
            XX            A  C   VAXA  VENERA Mockapetris




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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


In this example, the authoritative name server is shown in parentheses
at the point in the domain tree at which is assumes control.

Thus the root name servers are on C.ISI.EDU, SRI-NIC.ARPA, and
A.ISI.EDU.  The MIL domain is served by SRI-NIC.ARPA and A.ISI.EDU.  The
EDU domain is served by SRI-NIC.ARPA. and C.ISI.EDU.  Note that servers
may have zones which are contiguous or disjoint.  In this scenario,
C.ISI.EDU has contiguous zones at the root and EDU domains.  A.ISI.EDU
has contiguous zones at the root and MIL domains, but also has a non-
contiguous zone at ISI.EDU.

6.1. C.ISI.EDU name server

C.ISI.EDU is a name server for the root, MIL, and EDU domains of the IN
class, and would have zones for these domains.  The zone data for the
root domain might be:

    .       IN      SOA     SRI-NIC.ARPA. HOSTMASTER.SRI-NIC.ARPA. (
                            870611          ;serial
                            1800            ;refresh every 30 min
                            300             ;retry every 5 min
                            604800          ;expire after a week
                            86400)          ;minimum of a day
                    NS      A.ISI.EDU.
                    NS      C.ISI.EDU.
                    NS      SRI-NIC.ARPA.

    MIL.    86400   NS      SRI-NIC.ARPA.
            86400   NS      A.ISI.EDU.

    EDU.    86400   NS      SRI-NIC.ARPA.
            86400   NS      C.ISI.EDU.

    SRI-NIC.ARPA.   A       26.0.0.73
                    A       10.0.0.51
                    MX      0 SRI-NIC.ARPA.
                    HINFO   DEC-2060 TOPS20

    ACC.ARPA.       A       26.6.0.65
                    HINFO   PDP-11/70 UNIX
                    MX      10 ACC.ARPA.

    USC-ISIC.ARPA.  CNAME   C.ISI.EDU.

    73.0.0.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  PTR    SRI-NIC.ARPA.
    65.0.6.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  PTR    ACC.ARPA.
    51.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  PTR    SRI-NIC.ARPA.
    52.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  PTR    C.ISI.EDU.



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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


    103.0.3.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA. PTR    A.ISI.EDU.

    A.ISI.EDU. 86400 A      26.3.0.103
    C.ISI.EDU. 86400 A      10.0.0.52

This data is represented as it would be in a master file.  Most RRs are
single line entries; the sole exception here is the SOA RR, which uses
"(" to start a multi-line RR and ")" to show the end of a multi-line RR.
Since the class of all RRs in a zone must be the same, only the first RR
in a zone need specify the class.  When a name server loads a zone, it
forces the TTL of all authoritative RRs to be at least the MINIMUM field
of the SOA, here 86400 seconds, or one day.  The NS RRs marking
delegation of the MIL and EDU domains, together with the glue RRs for
the servers host addresses, are not part of the authoritative data in
the zone, and hence have explicit TTLs.

Four RRs are attached to the root node: the SOA which describes the root
zone and the 3 NS RRs which list the name servers for the root.  The
data in the SOA RR describes the management of the zone.  The zone data
is maintained on host SRI-NIC.ARPA, and the responsible party for the
zone is HOSTMASTER@SRI-NIC.ARPA.  A key item in the SOA is the 86400
second minimum TTL, which means that all authoritative data in the zone
has at least that TTL, although higher values may be explicitly
specified.

The NS RRs for the MIL and EDU domains mark the boundary between the
root zone and the MIL and EDU zones.  Note that in this example, the
lower zones happen to be supported by name servers which also support
the root zone.

The master file for the EDU zone might be stated relative to the origin
EDU.  The zone data for the EDU domain might be:

    EDU.  IN SOA SRI-NIC.ARPA. HOSTMASTER.SRI-NIC.ARPA. (
                            870729 ;serial
                            1800 ;refresh every 30 minutes
                            300 ;retry every 5 minutes
                            604800 ;expire after a week
                            86400 ;minimum of a day
                            )
                    NS SRI-NIC.ARPA.
                    NS C.ISI.EDU.

    UCI 172800 NS ICS.UCI
                    172800 NS ROME.UCI
    ICS.UCI 172800 A 192.5.19.1
    ROME.UCI 172800 A 192.5.19.31




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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


    ISI 172800 NS VAXA.ISI
                    172800 NS A.ISI
                    172800 NS VENERA.ISI.EDU.
    VAXA.ISI 172800 A 10.2.0.27
                    172800 A 128.9.0.33
    VENERA.ISI.EDU. 172800 A 10.1.0.52
                    172800 A 128.9.0.32
    A.ISI 172800 A 26.3.0.103

    UDEL.EDU.  172800 NS LOUIE.UDEL.EDU.
                    172800 NS UMN-REI-UC.ARPA.
    LOUIE.UDEL.EDU. 172800 A 10.0.0.96
                    172800 A 192.5.39.3

    YALE.EDU.  172800 NS YALE.ARPA.
    YALE.EDU.  172800 NS YALE-BULLDOG.ARPA.

    MIT.EDU.  43200 NS XX.LCS.MIT.EDU.
                      43200 NS ACHILLES.MIT.EDU.
    XX.LCS.MIT.EDU.  43200 A 10.0.0.44
    ACHILLES.MIT.EDU. 43200 A 18.72.0.8

Note the use of relative names here.  The owner name for the ISI.EDU. is
stated using a relative name, as are two of the name server RR contents.
Relative and absolute domain names may be freely intermixed in a master

6.2. Example standard queries

The following queries and responses illustrate name server behavior.
Unless otherwise noted, the queries do not have recursion desired (RD)
in the header.  Note that the answers to non-recursive queries do depend
on the server being asked, but do not depend on the identity of the
requester.


















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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


6.2.1. QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA, QTYPE=A

The query would look like:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY                                     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The response from C.ISI.EDU would be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 86400 IN A 26.0.0.73                |
               |               86400 IN A 10.0.0.51                |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The header of the response looks like the header of the query, except
that the RESPONSE bit is set, indicating that this message is a
response, not a query, and the Authoritative Answer (AA) bit is set
indicating that the address RRs in the answer section are from
authoritative data.  The question section of the response matches the
question section of the query.














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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


If the same query was sent to some other server which was not
authoritative for SRI-NIC.ARPA, the response might be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY,RESPONSE                            |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 1777 IN A 10.0.0.51                 |
               |               1777 IN A 26.0.0.73                 |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

This response is different from the previous one in two ways: the header
does not have AA set, and the TTLs are different.  The inference is that
the data did not come from a zone, but from a cache.  The difference
between the authoritative TTL and the TTL here is due to aging of the
data in a cache.  The difference in ordering of the RRs in the answer
section is not significant.

6.2.2. QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA, QTYPE=*

A query similar to the previous one, but using a QTYPE of *, would
receive the following response from C.ISI.EDU:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=*           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 86400 IN  A     26.0.0.73           |
               |                         A     10.0.0.51           |
               |                         MX    0 SRI-NIC.ARPA.     |
               |                         HINFO DEC-2060 TOPS20     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+









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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


If a similar query was directed to two name servers which are not
authoritative for SRI-NIC.ARPA, the responses might be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=*           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 12345 IN     A       26.0.0.73      |
               |                            A       10.0.0.51      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

and

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=*           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 1290 IN HINFO  DEC-2060 TOPS20      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

Neither of these answers have AA set, so neither response comes from
authoritative data.  The different contents and different TTLs suggest
that the two servers cached data at different times, and that the first
server cached the response to a QTYPE=A query and the second cached the
response to a HINFO query.
















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RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


6.2.3. QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA, QTYPE=MX

This type of query might be result from a mailer trying to look up
routing information for the mail destination HOSTMASTER@SRI-NIC.ARPA.
The response from C.ISI.EDU would be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=MX          |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 86400 IN     MX      0 SRI-NIC.ARPA.|
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | SRI-NIC.ARPA. 86400 IN     A       26.0.0.73      |
               |                            A       10.0.0.51      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

This response contains the MX RR in the answer section of the response.
The additional section contains the address RRs because the name server
at C.ISI.EDU guesses that the requester will need the addresses in order
to properly use the information carried by the MX.

6.2.4. QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA, QTYPE=NS

C.ISI.EDU would reply to this query with:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SRI-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=NS          |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The only difference between the response and the query is the AA and
RESPONSE bits in the header.  The interpretation of this response is
that the server is authoritative for the name, and the name exists, but
no RRs of type NS are present there.

6.2.5. QNAME=SIR-NIC.ARPA, QTYPE=A

If a user mistyped a host name, we might see this type of query.



Mockapetris                                                    [Page 43]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


C.ISI.EDU would answer it with:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA, RCODE=NE             |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=SIR-NIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | . SOA SRI-NIC.ARPA. HOSTMASTER.SRI-NIC.ARPA.      |
               |       870611 1800 300 604800 86400                |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

This response states that the name does not exist.  This condition is
signalled in the response code (RCODE) section of the header.

The SOA RR in the authority section is the optional negative caching
information which allows the resolver using this response to assume that
the name will not exist for the SOA MINIMUM (86400) seconds.

6.2.6. QNAME=BRL.MIL, QTYPE=A

If this query is sent to C.ISI.EDU, the reply would be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=BRL.MIL, QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A                 |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | MIL.             86400 IN NS       SRI-NIC.ARPA.  |
               |                  86400    NS       A.ISI.EDU.     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | A.ISI.EDU.                A        26.3.0.103     |
               | SRI-NIC.ARPA.             A        26.0.0.73      |
               |                           A        10.0.0.51      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

This response has an empty answer section, but is not authoritative, so
it is a referral.  The name server on C.ISI.EDU, realizing that it is
not authoritative for the MIL domain, has referred the requester to
servers on A.ISI.EDU and SRI-NIC.ARPA, which it knows are authoritative
for the MIL domain.





Mockapetris                                                    [Page 44]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


6.2.7. QNAME=USC-ISIC.ARPA, QTYPE=A

The response to this query from A.ISI.EDU would be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=USC-ISIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A          |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | USC-ISIC.ARPA. 86400 IN CNAME      C.ISI.EDU.     |
               | C.ISI.EDU.     86400 IN A          10.0.0.52      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

Note that the AA bit in the header guarantees that the data matching
QNAME is authoritative, but does not say anything about whether the data
for C.ISI.EDU is authoritative.  This complete reply is possible because
A.ISI.EDU happens to be authoritative for both the ARPA domain where
USC-ISIC.ARPA is found and the ISI.EDU domain where C.ISI.EDU data is
found.

If the same query was sent to C.ISI.EDU, its response might be the same
as shown above if it had its own address in its cache, but might also
be:
























Mockapetris                                                    [Page 45]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=USC-ISIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A          |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | USC-ISIC.ARPA.   86400 IN CNAME   C.ISI.EDU.      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | ISI.EDU.        172800 IN NS      VAXA.ISI.EDU.   |
               |                           NS      A.ISI.EDU.      |
               |                           NS      VENERA.ISI.EDU. |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | VAXA.ISI.EDU.   172800    A       10.2.0.27       |
               |                 172800    A       128.9.0.33      |
               | VENERA.ISI.EDU. 172800    A       10.1.0.52       |
               |                 172800    A       128.9.0.32      |
               | A.ISI.EDU.      172800    A       26.3.0.103      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

This reply contains an authoritative reply for the alias USC-ISIC.ARPA,
plus a referral to the name servers for ISI.EDU.  This sort of reply
isn't very likely given that the query is for the host name of the name
server being asked, but would be common for other aliases.

6.2.8. QNAME=USC-ISIC.ARPA, QTYPE=CNAME

If this query is sent to either A.ISI.EDU or C.ISI.EDU, the reply would
be:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=USC-ISIC.ARPA., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=A          |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | USC-ISIC.ARPA. 86400 IN CNAME      C.ISI.EDU.     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

Because QTYPE=CNAME, the CNAME RR itself answers the query, and the name
server doesn't attempt to look up anything for C.ISI.EDU.  (Except
possibly for the additional section.)

6.3. Example resolution

The following examples illustrate the operations a resolver must perform
for its client.  We assume that the resolver is starting without a



Mockapetris                                                    [Page 46]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


cache, as might be the case after system boot.  We further assume that
the system is not one of the hosts in the data and that the host is
located somewhere on net 26, and that its safety belt (SBELT) data
structure has the following information:

    Match count = -1
    SRI-NIC.ARPA.   26.0.0.73       10.0.0.51
    A.ISI.EDU.      26.3.0.103

This information specifies servers to try, their addresses, and a match
count of -1, which says that the servers aren't very close to the
target.  Note that the -1 isn't supposed to be an accurate closeness
measure, just a value so that later stages of the algorithm will work.

The following examples illustrate the use of a cache, so each example
assumes that previous requests have completed.

6.3.1. Resolve MX for ISI.EDU.

Suppose the first request to the resolver comes from the local mailer,
which has mail for PVM@ISI.EDU.  The mailer might then ask for type MX
RRs for the domain name ISI.EDU.

The resolver would look in its cache for MX RRs at ISI.EDU, but the
empty cache wouldn't be helpful.  The resolver would recognize that it
needed to query foreign servers and try to determine the best servers to
query.  This search would look for NS RRs for the domains ISI.EDU, EDU,
and the root.  These searches of the cache would also fail.  As a last
resort, the resolver would use the information from the SBELT, copying
it into its SLIST structure.

At this point the resolver would need to pick one of the three available
addresses to try.  Given that the resolver is on net 26, it should
choose either 26.0.0.73 or 26.3.0.103 as its first choice.  It would
then send off a query of the form:
















Mockapetris                                                    [Page 47]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY                                     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=ISI.EDU., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=MX               |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The resolver would then wait for a response to its query or a timeout.
If the timeout occurs, it would try different servers, then different
addresses of the same servers, lastly retrying addresses already tried.
It might eventually receive a reply from SRI-NIC.ARPA:

               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=ISI.EDU., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=MX               |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | ISI.EDU.        172800 IN NS       VAXA.ISI.EDU.  |
               |                           NS       A.ISI.EDU.     |
               |                           NS       VENERA.ISI.EDU.|
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | VAXA.ISI.EDU.   172800    A        10.2.0.27      |
               |                 172800    A        128.9.0.33     |
               | VENERA.ISI.EDU. 172800    A        10.1.0.52      |
               |                 172800    A        128.9.0.32     |
               | A.ISI.EDU.      172800    A        26.3.0.103     |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The resolver would notice that the information in the response gave a
closer delegation to ISI.EDU than its existing SLIST (since it matches
three labels).  The resolver would then cache the information in this
response and use it to set up a new SLIST:

    Match count = 3
    A.ISI.EDU.      26.3.0.103
    VAXA.ISI.EDU.   10.2.0.27       128.9.0.33
    VENERA.ISI.EDU. 10.1.0.52       128.9.0.32

A.ISI.EDU appears on this list as well as the previous one, but that is
purely coincidental.  The resolver would again start transmitting and
waiting for responses.  Eventually it would get an answer:



Mockapetris                                                    [Page 48]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=ISI.EDU., QCLASS=IN, QTYPE=MX               |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | ISI.EDU.                MX 10 VENERA.ISI.EDU.     |
               |                         MX 20 VAXA.ISI.EDU.       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | VAXA.ISI.EDU.   172800  A  10.2.0.27              |
               |                 172800  A  128.9.0.33             |
               | VENERA.ISI.EDU. 172800  A  10.1.0.52              |
               |                 172800  A  128.9.0.32             |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

The resolver would add this information to its cache, and return the MX
RRs to its client.

6.3.2. Get the host name for address 26.6.0.65

The resolver would translate this into a request for PTR RRs for
65.0.6.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  This information is not in the cache, so the
resolver would look for foreign servers to ask.  No servers would match,
so it would use SBELT again.  (Note that the servers for the ISI.EDU
domain are in the cache, but ISI.EDU is not an ancestor of
65.0.6.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA, so the SBELT is used.)

Since this request is within the authoritative data of both servers in
SBELT, eventually one would return:





















Mockapetris                                                    [Page 49]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Header     | OPCODE=SQUERY, RESPONSE, AA                       |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Question   | QNAME=65.0.6.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.,QCLASS=IN,QTYPE=PTR |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Answer     | 65.0.6.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.    PTR     ACC.ARPA.      |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Authority  | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+
    Additional | <empty>                                           |
               +---------------------------------------------------+

6.3.3. Get the host address of poneria.ISI.EDU

This request would translate into a type A request for poneria.ISI.EDU.
The resolver would not find any cached data for this name, but would
find the NS RRs in the cache for ISI.EDU when it looks for foreign
servers to ask.  Using this data, it would construct a SLIST of the
form:

    Match count = 3

    A.ISI.EDU.      26.3.0.103
    VAXA.ISI.EDU.   10.2.0.27       128.9.0.33
    VENERA.ISI.EDU. 10.1.0.52

A.ISI.EDU is listed first on the assumption that the resolver orders its
choices by preference, and A.ISI.EDU is on the same network.

One of these servers would answer the query.

7. REFERENCES and BIBLIOGRAPHY

[Dyer 87]       Dyer, S., and F. Hsu, "Hesiod", Project Athena
                Technical Plan - Name Service, April 1987, version 1.9.

                Describes the fundamentals of the Hesiod name service.

[IEN-116]       J. Postel, "Internet Name Server", IEN-116,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1979.

                A name service obsoleted by the Domain Name System, but
                still in use.








Mockapetris                                                    [Page 50]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


[Quarterman 86] Quarterman, J., and J. Hoskins, "Notable Computer
                Networks",Communications of the ACM, October 1986,
                volume 29, number 10.

[RFC-742]       K. Harrenstien, "NAME/FINGER", RFC-742, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, December 1977.

[RFC-768]       J. Postel, "User Datagram Protocol", RFC-768,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1980.

[RFC-793]       J. Postel, "Transmission Control Protocol", RFC-793,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, September 1981.

[RFC-799]       D. Mills, "Internet Name Domains", RFC-799, COMSAT,
                September 1981.

                Suggests introduction of a hierarchy in place of a flat
                name space for the Internet.

[RFC-805]       J. Postel, "Computer Mail Meeting Notes", RFC-805,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, February 1982.

[RFC-810]       E. Feinler, K. Harrenstien, Z. Su, and V. White, "DOD
                Internet Host Table Specification", RFC-810, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, March 1982.

                Obsolete.  See RFC-952.

[RFC-811]       K. Harrenstien, V. White, and E. Feinler, "Hostnames
                Server", RFC-811, Network Information Center, SRI
                International, March 1982.

                Obsolete.  See RFC-953.

[RFC-812]       K. Harrenstien, and V. White, "NICNAME/WHOIS", RFC-812,
                Network Information Center, SRI International, March
                1982.

[RFC-819]       Z. Su, and J. Postel, "The Domain Naming Convention for
                Internet User Applications", RFC-819, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, August 1982.

                Early thoughts on the design of the domain system.
                Current implementation is completely different.

[RFC-821]       J. Postel, "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC-821,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1980.




Mockapetris                                                    [Page 51]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


[RFC-830]       Z. Su, "A Distributed System for Internet Name Service",
                RFC-830, Network Information Center, SRI International,
                October 1982.

                Early thoughts on the design of the domain system.
                Current implementation is completely different.

[RFC-882]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain names - Concepts and
                Facilities," RFC-882, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, November 1983.

                Superceeded by this memo.

[RFC-883]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain names - Implementation and
                Specification," RFC-883, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, November 1983.

                Superceeded by this memo.

[RFC-920]       J. Postel and J. Reynolds, "Domain Requirements",
                RFC-920, USC/Information Sciences Institute
                October 1984.

                Explains the naming scheme for top level domains.

[RFC-952]       K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, E. Feinler, "DoD Internet Host
                Table Specification", RFC-952, SRI, October 1985.

                Specifies the format of HOSTS.TXT, the host/address
                table replaced by the DNS.

[RFC-953]       K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, E. Feinler, "HOSTNAME Server",
                RFC-953, SRI, October 1985.

                This RFC contains the official specification of the
                hostname server protocol, which is obsoleted by the DNS.
                This TCP based protocol accesses information stored in
                the RFC-952 format, and is used to obtain copies of the
                host table.

[RFC-973]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain System Changes and
                Observations", RFC-973, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, January 1986.

                Describes changes to RFC-882 and RFC-883 and reasons for
                them.  Now obsolete.





Mockapetris                                                    [Page 52]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


[RFC-974]       C. Partridge, "Mail routing and the domain system",
                RFC-974, CSNET CIC BBN Labs, January 1986.

                Describes the transition from HOSTS.TXT based mail
                addressing to the more powerful MX system used with the
                domain system.

[RFC-1001]      NetBIOS Working Group, "Protocol standard for a NetBIOS
                service on a TCP/UDP transport: Concepts and Methods",
                RFC-1001, March 1987.

                This RFC and RFC-1002 are a preliminary design for
                NETBIOS on top of TCP/IP which proposes to base NetBIOS
                name service on top of the DNS.

[RFC-1002]      NetBIOS Working Group, "Protocol standard for a NetBIOS
                service on a TCP/UDP transport: Detailed
                Specifications", RFC-1002, March 1987.

[RFC-1010]      J. Reynolds and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", RFC-1010,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, May 1987

                Contains socket numbers and mnemonics for host names,
                operating systems, etc.

[RFC-1031]      W. Lazear, "MILNET Name Domain Transition", RFC-1031,
                November 1987.

                Describes a plan for converting the MILNET to the DNS.

[RFC-1032]      M. K. Stahl, "Establishing a Domain - Guidelines for
                Administrators", RFC-1032, November 1987.

                Describes the registration policies used by the NIC to
                administer the top level domains and delegate subzones.

[RFC-1033]      M. K. Lottor, "Domain Administrators Operations Guide",
                RFC-1033, November 1987.

                A cookbook for domain administrators.

[Solomon 82]    M. Solomon, L. Landweber, and D. Neuhengen, "The CSNET
                Name Server", Computer Networks, vol 6, nr 3, July 1982.

                Describes a name service for CSNET which is independent
                from the DNS and DNS use in the CSNET.





Mockapetris                                                    [Page 53]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


Index

          A   12
          Absolute names   8
          Aliases   14, 31
          Authority   6
          AXFR   17

          Case of characters   7
          CH   12
          CNAME   12, 13, 31
          Completion queries   18

          Domain name   6, 7

          Glue RRs   20

          HINFO   12

          IN   12
          Inverse queries   16
          Iterative   4

          Label   7

          Mailbox names   9
          MX   12

          Name error   27, 36
          Name servers   5, 17
          NE   30
          Negative caching   44
          NS   12

          Opcode   16

          PTR   12

          QCLASS   16
          QTYPE   16

          RDATA   13
          Recursive   4
          Recursive service   22
          Relative names   7
          Resolvers   6
          RR   12




Mockapetris                                                    [Page 54]
 



RFC 1034             Domain Concepts and Facilities        November 1987


          Safety belt   33
          Sections   16
          SOA   12
          Standard queries   22

          Status queries   18
          Stub resolvers   32

          TTL   12, 13

          Wildcards   25

          Zone transfers   28
          Zones   19





































Mockapetris                                                    [Page 55]
 



========================================================================

Network Working Group                                     P. Mockapetris
Request for Comments: 1035                                           ISI
                                                           November 1987
Obsoletes: RFCs 882, 883, 973

            DOMAIN NAMES - IMPLEMENTATION AND SPECIFICATION


1. STATUS OF THIS MEMO

This RFC describes the details of the domain system and protocol, and
assumes that the reader is familiar with the concepts discussed in a
companion RFC, "Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities" [RFC-1034].

The domain system is a mixture of functions and data types which are an
official protocol and functions and data types which are still
experimental.  Since the domain system is intentionally extensible, new
data types and experimental behavior should always be expected in parts
of the system beyond the official protocol.  The official protocol parts
include standard queries, responses and the Internet class RR data
formats (e.g., host addresses).  Since the previous RFC set, several
definitions have changed, so some previous definitions are obsolete.

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.

                           Table of Contents

  1. STATUS OF THIS MEMO                                              1
  2. INTRODUCTION                                                     3
      2.1. Overview                                                   3
      2.2. Common configurations                                      4
      2.3. Conventions                                                7
          2.3.1. Preferred name syntax                                7
          2.3.2. Data Transmission Order                              8
          2.3.3. Character Case                                       9
          2.3.4. Size limits                                         10
  3. DOMAIN NAME SPACE AND RR DEFINITIONS                            10
      3.1. Name space definitions                                    10
      3.2. RR definitions                                            11
          3.2.1. Format                                              11
          3.2.2. TYPE values                                         12
          3.2.3. QTYPE values                                        12
          3.2.4. CLASS values                                        13



Mockapetris                                                     [Page 1]
 



RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


          3.2.5. QCLASS values                                       13
      3.3. Standard RRs                                              13
          3.3.1. CNAME RDATA format                                  14
          3.3.2. HINFO RDATA format                                  14
          3.3.3. MB RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)                      14
          3.3.4. MD RDATA format (Obsolete)                          15
          3.3.5. MF RDATA format (Obsolete)                          15
          3.3.6. MG RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)                      16
          3.3.7. MINFO RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)                   16
          3.3.8. MR RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)                      17
          3.3.9. MX RDATA format                                     17
          3.3.10. NULL RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)                   17
          3.3.11. NS RDATA format                                    18
          3.3.12. PTR RDATA format                                   18
          3.3.13. SOA RDATA format                                   19
          3.3.14. TXT RDATA format                                   20
      3.4. ARPA Internet specific RRs                                20
          3.4.1. A RDATA format                                      20
          3.4.2. WKS RDATA format                                    21
      3.5. IN-ADDR.ARPA domain                                       22
      3.6. Defining new types, classes, and special namespaces       24
  4. MESSAGES                                                        25
      4.1. Format                                                    25
          4.1.1. Header section format                               26
          4.1.2. Question section format                             28
          4.1.3. Resource record format                              29
          4.1.4. Message compression                                 30
      4.2. Transport                                                 32
          4.2.1. UDP usage                                           32
          4.2.2. TCP usage                                           32
  5. MASTER FILES                                                    33
      5.1. Format                                                    33
      5.2. Use of master files to define zones                       35
      5.3. Master file example                                       36
  6. NAME SERVER IMPLEMENTATION                                      37
      6.1. Architecture                                              37
          6.1.1. Control                                             37
          6.1.2. Database                                            37
          6.1.3. Time                                                39
      6.2. Standard query processing                                 39
      6.3. Zone refresh and reload processing                        39
      6.4. Inverse queries (Optional)                                40
          6.4.1. The contents of inverse queries and responses       40
          6.4.2. Inverse query and response example                  41
          6.4.3. Inverse query processing                            42






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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


      6.5. Completion queries and responses                          42
  7. RESOLVER IMPLEMENTATION                                         43
      7.1. Transforming a user request into a query                  43
      7.2. Sending the queries                                       44
      7.3. Processing responses                                      46
      7.4. Using the cache                                           47
  8. MAIL SUPPORT                                                    47
      8.1. Mail exchange binding                                     48
      8.2. Mailbox binding (Experimental)                            48
  9. REFERENCES and BIBLIOGRAPHY                                     50
  Index                                                              54

2. INTRODUCTION

2.1. Overview

The goal of domain names is to provide a mechanism for naming resources
in such a way that the names are usable in different hosts, networks,
protocol families, internets, and administrative organizations.

From the user's point of view, domain names are useful as arguments to a
local agent, called a resolver, which retrieves information associated
with the domain name.  Thus a user might ask for the host address or
mail information associated with a particular domain name.  To enable
the user to request a particular type of information, an appropriate
query type is passed to the resolver with the domain name.  To the user,
the domain tree is a single information space; the resolver is
responsible for hiding the distribution of data among name servers from
the user.

From the resolver's point of view, the database that makes up the domain
space is distributed among various name servers.  Different parts of the
domain space are stored in different name servers, although a particular
data item will be stored redundantly in two or more name servers.  The
resolver starts with knowledge of at least one name server.  When the
resolver processes a user query it asks a known name server for the
information; in return, the resolver either receives the desired
information or a referral to another name server.  Using these
referrals, resolvers learn the identities and contents of other name
servers.  Resolvers are responsible for dealing with the distribution of
the domain space and dealing with the effects of name server failure by
consulting redundant databases in other servers.

Name servers manage two kinds of data.  The first kind of data held in
sets called zones; each zone is the complete database for a particular
"pruned" subtree of the domain space.  This data is called
authoritative.  A name server periodically checks to make sure that its
zones are up to date, and if not, obtains a new copy of updated zones



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


from master files stored locally or in another name server.  The second
kind of data is cached data which was acquired by a local resolver.
This data may be incomplete, but improves the performance of the
retrieval process when non-local data is repeatedly accessed.  Cached
data is eventually discarded by a timeout mechanism.

This functional structure isolates the problems of user interface,
failure recovery, and distribution in the resolvers and isolates the
database update and refresh problems in the name servers.

2.2. Common configurations

A host can participate in the domain name system in a number of ways,
depending on whether the host runs programs that retrieve information
from the domain system, name servers that answer queries from other
hosts, or various combinations of both functions.  The simplest, and
perhaps most typical, configuration is shown below:

                 Local Host                        |  Foreign
                                                   |
    +---------+               +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | user queries  |          |queries  |  |        |
    |  User   |-------------->|          |---------|->|Foreign |
    | Program |               | Resolver |         |  |  Name  |
    |         |<--------------|          |<--------|--| Server |
    |         | user responses|          |responses|  |        |
    +---------+               +----------+         |  +--------+
                                |     A            |
                cache additions |     | references |
                                V     |            |
                              +----------+         |
                              |  cache   |         |
                              +----------+         |

User programs interact with the domain name space through resolvers; the
format of user queries and user responses is specific to the host and
its operating system.  User queries will typically be operating system
calls, and the resolver and its cache will be part of the host operating
system.  Less capable hosts may choose to implement the resolver as a
subroutine to be linked in with every program that needs its services.
Resolvers answer user queries with information they acquire via queries
to foreign name servers and the local cache.

Note that the resolver may have to make several queries to several
different foreign name servers to answer a particular user query, and
hence the resolution of a user query may involve several network
accesses and an arbitrary amount of time.  The queries to foreign name
servers and the corresponding responses have a standard format described



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


in this memo, and may be datagrams.

Depending on its capabilities, a name server could be a stand alone
program on a dedicated machine or a process or processes on a large
timeshared host.  A simple configuration might be:

                 Local Host                        |  Foreign
                                                   |
      +---------+                                  |
     /         /|                                  |
    +---------+ |             +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | |             |          |responses|  |        |
    |         | |             |   Name   |---------|->|Foreign |
    |  Master |-------------->|  Server  |         |  |Resolver|
    |  files  | |             |          |<--------|--|        |
    |         |/              |          | queries |  +--------+
    +---------+               +----------+         |

Here a primary name server acquires information about one or more zones
by reading master files from its local file system, and answers queries
about those zones that arrive from foreign resolvers.

The DNS requires that all zones be redundantly supported by more than
one name server.  Designated secondary servers can acquire zones and
check for updates from the primary server using the zone transfer
protocol of the DNS.  This configuration is shown below:

                 Local Host                        |  Foreign
                                                   |
      +---------+                                  |
     /         /|                                  |
    +---------+ |             +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | |             |          |responses|  |        |
    |         | |             |   Name   |---------|->|Foreign |
    |  Master |-------------->|  Server  |         |  |Resolver|
    |  files  | |             |          |<--------|--|        |
    |         |/              |          | queries |  +--------+
    +---------+               +----------+         |
                                A     |maintenance |  +--------+
                                |     +------------|->|        |
                                |      queries     |  |Foreign |
                                |                  |  |  Name  |
                                +------------------|--| Server |
                             maintenance responses |  +--------+

In this configuration, the name server periodically establishes a
virtual circuit to a foreign name server to acquire a copy of a zone or
to check that an existing copy has not changed.  The messages sent for



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


these maintenance activities follow the same form as queries and
responses, but the message sequences are somewhat different.

The information flow in a host that supports all aspects of the domain
name system is shown below:

                 Local Host                        |  Foreign
                                                   |
    +---------+               +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | user queries  |          |queries  |  |        |
    |  User   |-------------->|          |---------|->|Foreign |
    | Program |               | Resolver |         |  |  Name  |
    |         |<--------------|          |<--------|--| Server |
    |         | user responses|          |responses|  |        |
    +---------+               +----------+         |  +--------+
                                |     A            |
                cache additions |     | references |
                                V     |            |
                              +----------+         |
                              |  Shared  |         |
                              | database |         |
                              +----------+         |
                                A     |            |
      +---------+     refreshes |     | references |
     /         /|               |     V            |
    +---------+ |             +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | |             |          |responses|  |        |
    |         | |             |   Name   |---------|->|Foreign |
    |  Master |-------------->|  Server  |         |  |Resolver|
    |  files  | |             |          |<--------|--|        |
    |         |/              |          | queries |  +--------+
    +---------+               +----------+         |
                                A     |maintenance |  +--------+
                                |     +------------|->|        |
                                |      queries     |  |Foreign |
                                |                  |  |  Name  |
                                +------------------|--| Server |
                             maintenance responses |  +--------+

The shared database holds domain space data for the local name server
and resolver.  The contents of the shared database will typically be a
mixture of authoritative data maintained by the periodic refresh
operations of the name server and cached data from previous resolver
requests.  The structure of the domain data and the necessity for
synchronization between name servers and resolvers imply the general
characteristics of this database, but the actual format is up to the
local implementor.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


Information flow can also be tailored so that a group of hosts act
together to optimize activities.  Sometimes this is done to offload less
capable hosts so that they do not have to implement a full resolver.
This can be appropriate for PCs or hosts which want to minimize the
amount of new network code which is required.  This scheme can also
allow a group of hosts can share a small number of caches rather than
maintaining a large number of separate caches, on the premise that the
centralized caches will have a higher hit ratio.  In either case,
resolvers are replaced with stub resolvers which act as front ends to
resolvers located in a recursive server in one or more name servers
known to perform that service:

                   Local Hosts                     |  Foreign
                                                   |
    +---------+                                    |
    |         | responses                          |
    | Stub    |<--------------------+              |
    | Resolver|                     |              |
    |         |----------------+    |              |
    +---------+ recursive      |    |              |
                queries        |    |              |
                               V    |              |
    +---------+ recursive     +----------+         |  +--------+
    |         | queries       |          |queries  |  |        |
    | Stub    |-------------->| Recursive|---------|->|Foreign |
    | Resolver|               | Server   |         |  |  Name  |
    |         |<--------------|          |<--------|--| Server |
    +---------+ responses     |          |responses|  |        |
                              +----------+         |  +--------+
                              |  Central |         |
                              |   cache  |         |
                              +----------+         |

In any case, note that domain components are always replicated for
reliability whenever possible.

2.3. Conventions

The domain system has several conventions dealing with low-level, but
fundamental, issues.  While the implementor is free to violate these
conventions WITHIN HIS OWN SYSTEM, he must observe these conventions in
ALL behavior observed from other hosts.

2.3.1. Preferred name syntax

The DNS specifications attempt to be as general as possible in the rules
for constructing domain names.  The idea is that the name of any
existing object can be expressed as a domain name with minimal changes.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


However, when assigning a domain name for an object, the prudent user
will select a name which satisfies both the rules of the domain system
and any existing rules for the object, whether these rules are published
or implied by existing programs.

For example, when naming a mail domain, the user should satisfy both the
rules of this memo and those in RFC-822.  When creating a new host name,
the old rules for HOSTS.TXT should be followed.  This avoids problems
when old software is converted to use domain names.

The following syntax will result in fewer problems with many

applications that use domain names (e.g., mail, TELNET).

<domain> ::= <subdomain> | " "

<subdomain> ::= <label> | <subdomain> "." <label>

<label> ::= <letter> [ [ <ldh-str> ] <let-dig> ]

<ldh-str> ::= <let-dig-hyp> | <let-dig-hyp> <ldh-str>

<let-dig-hyp> ::= <let-dig> | "-"

<let-dig> ::= <letter> | <digit>

<letter> ::= any one of the 52 alphabetic characters A through Z in
upper case and a through z in lower case

<digit> ::= any one of the ten digits 0 through 9

Note that while upper and lower case letters are allowed in domain
names, no significance is attached to the case.  That is, two names with
the same spelling but different case are to be treated as if identical.

The labels must follow the rules for ARPANET host names.  They must
start with a letter, end with a letter or digit, and have as interior
characters only letters, digits, and hyphen.  There are also some
restrictions on the length.  Labels must be 63 characters or less.

For example, the following strings identify hosts in the Internet:

A.ISI.EDU XX.LCS.MIT.EDU SRI-NIC.ARPA

2.3.2. Data Transmission Order

The order of transmission of the header and data described in this
document is resolved to the octet level.  Whenever a diagram shows a



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


group of octets, the order of transmission of those octets is the normal
order in which they are read in English.  For example, in the following
diagram, the octets are transmitted in the order they are numbered.

     0                   1
     0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |       1       |       2       |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |       3       |       4       |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |       5       |       6       |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Whenever an octet represents a numeric quantity, the left most bit in
the diagram is the high order or most significant bit.  That is, the bit
labeled 0 is the most significant bit.  For example, the following
diagram represents the value 170 (decimal).

     0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0|
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Similarly, whenever a multi-octet field represents a numeric quantity
the left most bit of the whole field is the most significant bit.  When
a multi-octet quantity is transmitted the most significant octet is
transmitted first.

2.3.3. Character Case

For all parts of the DNS that are part of the official protocol, all
comparisons between character strings (e.g., labels, domain names, etc.)
are done in a case-insensitive manner.  At present, this rule is in
force throughout the domain system without exception.  However, future
additions beyond current usage may need to use the full binary octet
capabilities in names, so attempts to store domain names in 7-bit ASCII
or use of special bytes to terminate labels, etc., should be avoided.

When data enters the domain system, its original case should be
preserved whenever possible.  In certain circumstances this cannot be
done.  For example, if two RRs are stored in a database, one at x.y and
one at X.Y, they are actually stored at the same place in the database,
and hence only one casing would be preserved.  The basic rule is that
case can be discarded only when data is used to define structure in a
database, and two names are identical when compared in a case
insensitive manner.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


Loss of case sensitive data must be minimized.  Thus while data for x.y
and X.Y may both be stored under a single location x.y or X.Y, data for
a.x and B.X would never be stored under A.x, A.X, b.x, or b.X.  In
general, this preserves the case of the first label of a domain name,
but forces standardization of interior node labels.

Systems administrators who enter data into the domain database should
take care to represent the data they supply to the domain system in a
case-consistent manner if their system is case-sensitive.  The data
distribution system in the domain system will ensure that consistent
representations are preserved.

2.3.4. Size limits

Various objects and parameters in the DNS have size limits.  They are
listed below.  Some could be easily changed, others are more
fundamental.

labels          63 octets or less

names           255 octets or less

TTL             positive values of a signed 32 bit number.

UDP messages    512 octets or less

3. DOMAIN NAME SPACE AND RR DEFINITIONS

3.1. Name space definitions

Domain names in messages are expressed in terms of a sequence of labels.
Each label is represented as a one octet length field followed by that
number of octets.  Since every domain name ends with the null label of
the root, a domain name is terminated by a length byte of zero.  The
high order two bits of every length octet must be zero, and the
remaining six bits of the length field limit the label to 63 octets or
less.

To simplify implementations, the total length of a domain name (i.e.,
label octets and label length octets) is restricted to 255 octets or
less.

Although labels can contain any 8 bit values in octets that make up a
label, it is strongly recommended that labels follow the preferred
syntax described elsewhere in this memo, which is compatible with
existing host naming conventions.  Name servers and resolvers must
compare labels in a case-insensitive manner (i.e., A=a), assuming ASCII
with zero parity.  Non-alphabetic codes must match exactly.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.2. RR definitions

3.2.1. Format

All RRs have the same top level format shown below:

                                    1  1  1  1  1  1
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                                               |
    /                                               /
    /                      NAME                     /
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                      TYPE                     |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                     CLASS                     |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                      TTL                      |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                   RDLENGTH                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--|
    /                     RDATA                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+


where:

NAME            an owner name, i.e., the name of the node to which this
                resource record pertains.

TYPE            two octets containing one of the RR TYPE codes.

CLASS           two octets containing one of the RR CLASS codes.

TTL             a 32 bit signed integer that specifies the time interval
                that the resource record may be cached before the source
                of the information should again be consulted.  Zero
                values are interpreted to mean that the RR can only be
                used for the transaction in progress, and should not be
                cached.  For example, SOA records are always distributed
                with a zero TTL to prohibit caching.  Zero values can
                also be used for extremely volatile data.

RDLENGTH        an unsigned 16 bit integer that specifies the length in
                octets of the RDATA field.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


RDATA           a variable length string of octets that describes the
                resource.  The format of this information varies
                according to the TYPE and CLASS of the resource record.

3.2.2. TYPE values

TYPE fields are used in resource records.  Note that these types are a
subset of QTYPEs.

TYPE            value and meaning

A               1 a host address

NS              2 an authoritative name server

MD              3 a mail destination (Obsolete - use MX)

MF              4 a mail forwarder (Obsolete - use MX)

CNAME           5 the canonical name for an alias

SOA             6 marks the start of a zone of authority

MB              7 a mailbox domain name (EXPERIMENTAL)

MG              8 a mail group member (EXPERIMENTAL)

MR              9 a mail rename domain name (EXPERIMENTAL)

NULL            10 a null RR (EXPERIMENTAL)

WKS             11 a well known service description

PTR             12 a domain name pointer

HINFO           13 host information

MINFO           14 mailbox or mail list information

MX              15 mail exchange

TXT             16 text strings

3.2.3. QTYPE values

QTYPE fields appear in the question part of a query.  QTYPES are a
superset of TYPEs, hence all TYPEs are valid QTYPEs.  In addition, the
following QTYPEs are defined:



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


AXFR            252 A request for a transfer of an entire zone

MAILB           253 A request for mailbox-related records (MB, MG or MR)

MAILA           254 A request for mail agent RRs (Obsolete - see MX)

*               255 A request for all records

3.2.4. CLASS values

CLASS fields appear in resource records.  The following CLASS mnemonics
and values are defined:

IN              1 the Internet

CS              2 the CSNET class (Obsolete - used only for examples in
                some obsolete RFCs)

CH              3 the CHAOS class

HS              4 Hesiod [Dyer 87]

3.2.5. QCLASS values

QCLASS fields appear in the question section of a query.  QCLASS values
are a superset of CLASS values; every CLASS is a valid QCLASS.  In
addition to CLASS values, the following QCLASSes are defined:

*               255 any class

3.3. Standard RRs

The following RR definitions are expected to occur, at least
potentially, in all classes.  In particular, NS, SOA, CNAME, and PTR
will be used in all classes, and have the same format in all classes.
Because their RDATA format is known, all domain names in the RDATA
section of these RRs may be compressed.

<domain-name> is a domain name represented as a series of labels, and
terminated by a label with zero length.  <character-string> is a single
length octet followed by that number of characters.  <character-string>
is treated as binary information, and can be up to 256 characters in
length (including the length octet).








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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.3.1. CNAME RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                     CNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

CNAME           A <domain-name> which specifies the canonical or primary
                name for the owner.  The owner name is an alias.

CNAME RRs cause no additional section processing, but name servers may
choose to restart the query at the canonical name in certain cases.  See
the description of name server logic in [RFC-1034] for details.

3.3.2. HINFO RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                      CPU                      /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                       OS                      /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

CPU             A <character-string> which specifies the CPU type.

OS              A <character-string> which specifies the operating
                system type.

Standard values for CPU and OS can be found in [RFC-1010].

HINFO records are used to acquire general information about a host.  The
main use is for protocols such as FTP that can use special procedures
when talking between machines or operating systems of the same type.

3.3.3. MB RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   MADNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

MADNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a host which has the
                specified mailbox.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


MB records cause additional section processing which looks up an A type
RRs corresponding to MADNAME.

3.3.4. MD RDATA format (Obsolete)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   MADNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

MADNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a host which has a mail
                agent for the domain which should be able to deliver
                mail for the domain.

MD records cause additional section processing which looks up an A type
record corresponding to MADNAME.

MD is obsolete.  See the definition of MX and [RFC-974] for details of
the new scheme.  The recommended policy for dealing with MD RRs found in
a master file is to reject them, or to convert them to MX RRs with a
preference of 0.

3.3.5. MF RDATA format (Obsolete)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   MADNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

MADNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a host which has a mail
                agent for the domain which will accept mail for
                forwarding to the domain.

MF records cause additional section processing which looks up an A type
record corresponding to MADNAME.

MF is obsolete.  See the definition of MX and [RFC-974] for details ofw
the new scheme.  The recommended policy for dealing with MD RRs found in
a master file is to reject them, or to convert them to MX RRs with a
preference of 10.







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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.3.6. MG RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   MGMNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

MGMNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a mailbox which is a
                member of the mail group specified by the domain name.

MG records cause no additional section processing.

3.3.7. MINFO RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                    RMAILBX                    /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                    EMAILBX                    /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

RMAILBX         A <domain-name> which specifies a mailbox which is
                responsible for the mailing list or mailbox.  If this
                domain name names the root, the owner of the MINFO RR is
                responsible for itself.  Note that many existing mailing
                lists use a mailbox X-request for the RMAILBX field of
                mailing list X, e.g., Msgroup-request for Msgroup.  This
                field provides a more general mechanism.


EMAILBX         A <domain-name> which specifies a mailbox which is to
                receive error messages related to the mailing list or
                mailbox specified by the owner of the MINFO RR (similar
                to the ERRORS-TO: field which has been proposed).  If
                this domain name names the root, errors should be
                returned to the sender of the message.

MINFO records cause no additional section processing.  Although these
records can be associated with a simple mailbox, they are usually used
with a mailing list.








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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.3.8. MR RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   NEWNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

NEWNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a mailbox which is the
                proper rename of the specified mailbox.

MR records cause no additional section processing.  The main use for MR
is as a forwarding entry for a user who has moved to a different
mailbox.

3.3.9. MX RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                  PREFERENCE                   |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   EXCHANGE                    /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

PREFERENCE      A 16 bit integer which specifies the preference given to
                this RR among others at the same owner.  Lower values
                are preferred.

EXCHANGE        A <domain-name> which specifies a host willing to act as
                a mail exchange for the owner name.

MX records cause type A additional section processing for the host
specified by EXCHANGE.  The use of MX RRs is explained in detail in
[RFC-974].

3.3.10. NULL RDATA format (EXPERIMENTAL)

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                  <anything>                   /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

Anything at all may be in the RDATA field so long as it is 65535 octets
or less.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


NULL records cause no additional section processing.  NULL RRs are not
allowed in master files.  NULLs are used as placeholders in some
experimental extensions of the DNS.

3.3.11. NS RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   NSDNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

NSDNAME         A <domain-name> which specifies a host which should be
                authoritative for the specified class and domain.

NS records cause both the usual additional section processing to locate
a type A record, and, when used in a referral, a special search of the
zone in which they reside for glue information.

The NS RR states that the named host should be expected to have a zone
starting at owner name of the specified class.  Note that the class may
not indicate the protocol family which should be used to communicate
with the host, although it is typically a strong hint.  For example,
hosts which are name servers for either Internet (IN) or Hesiod (HS)
class information are normally queried using IN class protocols.

3.3.12. PTR RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   PTRDNAME                    /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

PTRDNAME        A <domain-name> which points to some location in the
                domain name space.

PTR records cause no additional section processing.  These RRs are used
in special domains to point to some other location in the domain space.
These records are simple data, and don't imply any special processing
similar to that performed by CNAME, which identifies aliases.  See the
description of the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain for an example.








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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.3.13. SOA RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                     MNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                     RNAME                     /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    SERIAL                     |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    REFRESH                    |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                     RETRY                     |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    EXPIRE                     |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    MINIMUM                    |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

MNAME           The <domain-name> of the name server that was the
                original or primary source of data for this zone.

RNAME           A <domain-name> which specifies the mailbox of the
                person responsible for this zone.

SERIAL          The unsigned 32 bit version number of the original copy
                of the zone.  Zone transfers preserve this value.  This
                value wraps and should be compared using sequence space
                arithmetic.

REFRESH         A 32 bit time interval before the zone should be
                refreshed.

RETRY           A 32 bit time interval that should elapse before a
                failed refresh should be retried.

EXPIRE          A 32 bit time value that specifies the upper limit on
                the time interval that can elapse before the zone is no
                longer authoritative.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


MINIMUM         The unsigned 32 bit minimum TTL field that should be
                exported with any RR from this zone.

SOA records cause no additional section processing.

All times are in units of seconds.

Most of these fields are pertinent only for name server maintenance
operations.  However, MINIMUM is used in all query operations that
retrieve RRs from a zone.  Whenever a RR is sent in a response to a
query, the TTL field is set to the maximum of the TTL field from the RR
and the MINIMUM field in the appropriate SOA.  Thus MINIMUM is a lower
bound on the TTL field for all RRs in a zone.  Note that this use of
MINIMUM should occur when the RRs are copied into the response and not
when the zone is loaded from a master file or via a zone transfer.  The
reason for this provison is to allow future dynamic update facilities to
change the SOA RR with known semantics.


3.3.14. TXT RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    /                   TXT-DATA                    /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

TXT-DATA        One or more <character-string>s.

TXT RRs are used to hold descriptive text.  The semantics of the text
depends on the domain where it is found.

3.4. Internet specific RRs

3.4.1. A RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    ADDRESS                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

ADDRESS         A 32 bit Internet address.

Hosts that have multiple Internet addresses will have multiple A
records.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


A records cause no additional section processing.  The RDATA section of
an A line in a master file is an Internet address expressed as four
decimal numbers separated by dots without any imbedded spaces (e.g.,
"10.2.0.52" or "192.0.5.6").

3.4.2. WKS RDATA format

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    ADDRESS                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |       PROTOCOL        |                       |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+                       |
    |                                               |
    /                   <BIT MAP>                   /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

ADDRESS         An 32 bit Internet address

PROTOCOL        An 8 bit IP protocol number

<BIT MAP>       A variable length bit map.  The bit map must be a
                multiple of 8 bits long.

The WKS record is used to describe the well known services supported by
a particular protocol on a particular internet address.  The PROTOCOL
field specifies an IP protocol number, and the bit map has one bit per
port of the specified protocol.  The first bit corresponds to port 0,
the second to port 1, etc.  If the bit map does not include a bit for a
protocol of interest, that bit is assumed zero.  The appropriate values
and mnemonics for ports and protocols are specified in [RFC-1010].

For example, if PROTOCOL=TCP (6), the 26th bit corresponds to TCP port
25 (SMTP).  If this bit is set, a SMTP server should be listening on TCP
port 25; if zero, SMTP service is not supported on the specified
address.

The purpose of WKS RRs is to provide availability information for
servers for TCP and UDP.  If a server supports both TCP and UDP, or has
multiple Internet addresses, then multiple WKS RRs are used.

WKS RRs cause no additional section processing.

In master files, both ports and protocols are expressed using mnemonics
or decimal numbers.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.5. IN-ADDR.ARPA domain

The Internet uses a special domain to support gateway location and
Internet address to host mapping.  Other classes may employ a similar
strategy in other domains.  The intent of this domain is to provide a
guaranteed method to perform host address to host name mapping, and to
facilitate queries to locate all gateways on a particular network in the
Internet.

Note that both of these services are similar to functions that could be
performed by inverse queries; the difference is that this part of the
domain name space is structured according to address, and hence can
guarantee that the appropriate data can be located without an exhaustive
search of the domain space.

The domain begins at IN-ADDR.ARPA and has a substructure which follows
the Internet addressing structure.

Domain names in the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain are defined to have up to four
labels in addition to the IN-ADDR.ARPA suffix.  Each label represents
one octet of an Internet address, and is expressed as a character string
for a decimal value in the range 0-255 (with leading zeros omitted
except in the case of a zero octet which is represented by a single
zero).

Host addresses are represented by domain names that have all four labels
specified.  Thus data for Internet address 10.2.0.52 is located at
domain name 52.0.2.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  The reversal, though awkward to
read, allows zones to be delegated which are exactly one network of
address space.  For example, 10.IN-ADDR.ARPA can be a zone containing
data for the ARPANET, while 26.IN-ADDR.ARPA can be a separate zone for
MILNET.  Address nodes are used to hold pointers to primary host names
in the normal domain space.

Network numbers correspond to some non-terminal nodes at various depths
in the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain, since Internet network numbers are either 1,
2, or 3 octets.  Network nodes are used to hold pointers to the primary
host names of gateways attached to that network.  Since a gateway is, by
definition, on more than one network, it will typically have two or more
network nodes which point at it.  Gateways will also have host level
pointers at their fully qualified addresses.

Both the gateway pointers at network nodes and the normal host pointers
at full address nodes use the PTR RR to point back to the primary domain
names of the corresponding hosts.

For example, the IN-ADDR.ARPA domain will contain information about the
ISI gateway between net 10 and 26, an MIT gateway from net 10 to MIT's



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


net 18, and hosts A.ISI.EDU and MULTICS.MIT.EDU.  Assuming that ISI
gateway has addresses 10.2.0.22 and 26.0.0.103, and a name MILNET-
GW.ISI.EDU, and the MIT gateway has addresses 10.0.0.77 and 18.10.0.4
and a name GW.LCS.MIT.EDU, the domain database would contain:

    10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR MILNET-GW.ISI.EDU.
    10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR GW.LCS.MIT.EDU.
    18.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR GW.LCS.MIT.EDU.
    26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR MILNET-GW.ISI.EDU.
    22.0.2.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.    PTR MILNET-GW.ISI.EDU.
    103.0.0.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.   PTR MILNET-GW.ISI.EDU.
    77.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.    PTR GW.LCS.MIT.EDU.
    4.0.10.18.IN-ADDR.ARPA.    PTR GW.LCS.MIT.EDU.
    103.0.3.26.IN-ADDR.ARPA.   PTR A.ISI.EDU.
    6.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.     PTR MULTICS.MIT.EDU.

Thus a program which wanted to locate gateways on net 10 would originate
a query of the form QTYPE=PTR, QCLASS=IN, QNAME=10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.  It
would receive two RRs in response:

    10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR MILNET-GW.ISI.EDU.
    10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.           PTR GW.LCS.MIT.EDU.

The program could then originate QTYPE=A, QCLASS=IN queries for MILNET-
GW.ISI.EDU. and GW.LCS.MIT.EDU. to discover the Internet addresses of
these gateways.

A resolver which wanted to find the host name corresponding to Internet
host address 10.0.0.6 would pursue a query of the form QTYPE=PTR,
QCLASS=IN, QNAME=6.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA, and would receive:

    6.0.0.10.IN-ADDR.ARPA.     PTR MULTICS.MIT.EDU.

Several cautions apply to the use of these services:
   - Since the IN-ADDR.ARPA special domain and the normal domain
     for a particular host or gateway will be in different zones,
     the possibility exists that that the data may be inconsistent.

   - Gateways will often have two names in separate domains, only
     one of which can be primary.

   - Systems that use the domain database to initialize their
     routing tables must start with enough gateway information to
     guarantee that they can access the appropriate name server.

   - The gateway data only reflects the existence of a gateway in a
     manner equivalent to the current HOSTS.TXT file.  It doesn't
     replace the dynamic availability information from GGP or EGP.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


3.6. Defining new types, classes, and special namespaces

The previously defined types and classes are the ones in use as of the
date of this memo.  New definitions should be expected.  This section
makes some recommendations to designers considering additions to the
existing facilities.  The mailing list NAMEDROPPERS@SRI-NIC.ARPA is the
forum where general discussion of design issues takes place.

In general, a new type is appropriate when new information is to be
added to the database about an existing object, or we need new data
formats for some totally new object.  Designers should attempt to define
types and their RDATA formats that are generally applicable to all
classes, and which avoid duplication of information.  New classes are
appropriate when the DNS is to be used for a new protocol, etc which
requires new class-specific data formats, or when a copy of the existing
name space is desired, but a separate management domain is necessary.

New types and classes need mnemonics for master files; the format of the
master files requires that the mnemonics for type and class be disjoint.

TYPE and CLASS values must be a proper subset of QTYPEs and QCLASSes
respectively.

The present system uses multiple RRs to represent multiple values of a
type rather than storing multiple values in the RDATA section of a
single RR.  This is less efficient for most applications, but does keep
RRs shorter.  The multiple RRs assumption is incorporated in some
experimental work on dynamic update methods.

The present system attempts to minimize the duplication of data in the
database in order to insure consistency.  Thus, in order to find the
address of the host for a mail exchange, you map the mail domain name to
a host name, then the host name to addresses, rather than a direct
mapping to host address.  This approach is preferred because it avoids
the opportunity for inconsistency.

In defining a new type of data, multiple RR types should not be used to
create an ordering between entries or express different formats for
equivalent bindings, instead this information should be carried in the
body of the RR and a single type used.  This policy avoids problems with
caching multiple types and defining QTYPEs to match multiple types.

For example, the original form of mail exchange binding used two RR
types one to represent a "closer" exchange (MD) and one to represent a
"less close" exchange (MF).  The difficulty is that the presence of one
RR type in a cache doesn't convey any information about the other
because the query which acquired the cached information might have used
a QTYPE of MF, MD, or MAILA (which matched both).  The redesigned



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


service used a single type (MX) with a "preference" value in the RDATA
section which can order different RRs.  However, if any MX RRs are found
in the cache, then all should be there.

4. MESSAGES

4.1. Format

All communications inside of the domain protocol are carried in a single
format called a message.  The top level format of message is divided
into 5 sections (some of which are empty in certain cases) shown below:

    +---------------------+
    |        Header       |
    +---------------------+
    |       Question      | the question for the name server
    +---------------------+
    |        Answer       | RRs answering the question
    +---------------------+
    |      Authority      | RRs pointing toward an authority
    +---------------------+
    |      Additional     | RRs holding additional information
    +---------------------+

The header section is always present.  The header includes fields that
specify which of the remaining sections are present, and also specify
whether the message is a query or a response, a standard query or some
other opcode, etc.

The names of the sections after the header are derived from their use in
standard queries.  The question section contains fields that describe a
question to a name server.  These fields are a query type (QTYPE), a
query class (QCLASS), and a query domain name (QNAME).  The last three
sections have the same format: a possibly empty list of concatenated
resource records (RRs).  The answer section contains RRs that answer the
question; the authority section contains RRs that point toward an
authoritative name server; the additional records section contains RRs
which relate to the query, but are not strictly answers for the
question.












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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


4.1.1. Header section format

The header contains the following fields:

                                    1  1  1  1  1  1
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                      ID                       |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |QR|   Opcode  |AA|TC|RD|RA|   Z    |   RCODE   |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    QDCOUNT                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    ANCOUNT                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    NSCOUNT                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                    ARCOUNT                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

ID              A 16 bit identifier assigned by the program that
                generates any kind of query.  This identifier is copied
                the corresponding reply and can be used by the requester
                to match up replies to outstanding queries.

QR              A one bit field that specifies whether this message is a
                query (0), or a response (1).

OPCODE          A four bit field that specifies kind of query in this
                message.  This value is set by the originator of a query
                and copied into the response.  The values are:

                0               a standard query (QUERY)

                1               an inverse query (IQUERY)

                2               a server status request (STATUS)

                3-15            reserved for future use

AA              Authoritative Answer - this bit is valid in responses,
                and specifies that the responding name server is an
                authority for the domain name in question section.

                Note that the contents of the answer section may have
                multiple owner names because of aliases.  The AA bit



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


                corresponds to the name which matches the query name, or
                the first owner name in the answer section.

TC              TrunCation - specifies that this message was truncated
                due to length greater than that permitted on the
                transmission channel.

RD              Recursion Desired - this bit may be set in a query and
                is copied into the response.  If RD is set, it directs
                the name server to pursue the query recursively.
                Recursive query support is optional.

RA              Recursion Available - this be is set or cleared in a
                response, and denotes whether recursive query support is
                available in the name server.

Z               Reserved for future use.  Must be zero in all queries
                and responses.

RCODE           Response code - this 4 bit field is set as part of
                responses.  The values have the following
                interpretation:

                0               No error condition

                1               Format error - The name server was
                                unable to interpret the query.

                2               Server failure - The name server was
                                unable to process this query due to a
                                problem with the name server.

                3               Name Error - Meaningful only for
                                responses from an authoritative name
                                server, this code signifies that the
                                domain name referenced in the query does
                                not exist.

                4               Not Implemented - The name server does
                                not support the requested kind of query.

                5               Refused - The name server refuses to
                                perform the specified operation for
                                policy reasons.  For example, a name
                                server may not wish to provide the
                                information to the particular requester,
                                or a name server may not wish to perform
                                a particular operation (e.g., zone



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


                                transfer) for particular data.

                6-15            Reserved for future use.

QDCOUNT         an unsigned 16 bit integer specifying the number of
                entries in the question section.

ANCOUNT         an unsigned 16 bit integer specifying the number of
                resource records in the answer section.

NSCOUNT         an unsigned 16 bit integer specifying the number of name
                server resource records in the authority records
                section.

ARCOUNT         an unsigned 16 bit integer specifying the number of
                resource records in the additional records section.

4.1.2. Question section format

The question section is used to carry the "question" in most queries,
i.e., the parameters that define what is being asked.  The section
contains QDCOUNT (usually 1) entries, each of the following format:

                                    1  1  1  1  1  1
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                                               |
    /                     QNAME                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                     QTYPE                     |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                     QCLASS                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

QNAME           a domain name represented as a sequence of labels, where
                each label consists of a length octet followed by that
                number of octets.  The domain name terminates with the
                zero length octet for the null label of the root.  Note
                that this field may be an odd number of octets; no
                padding is used.

QTYPE           a two octet code which specifies the type of the query.
                The values for this field include all codes valid for a
                TYPE field, together with some more general codes which
                can match more than one type of RR.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


QCLASS          a two octet code that specifies the class of the query.
                For example, the QCLASS field is IN for the Internet.

4.1.3. Resource record format

The answer, authority, and additional sections all share the same
format: a variable number of resource records, where the number of
records is specified in the corresponding count field in the header.
Each resource record has the following format:
                                    1  1  1  1  1  1
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                                               |
    /                                               /
    /                      NAME                     /
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                      TYPE                     |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                     CLASS                     |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                      TTL                      |
    |                                               |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    |                   RDLENGTH                    |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--|
    /                     RDATA                     /
    /                                               /
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

where:

NAME            a domain name to which this resource record pertains.

TYPE            two octets containing one of the RR type codes.  This
                field specifies the meaning of the data in the RDATA
                field.

CLASS           two octets which specify the class of the data in the
                RDATA field.

TTL             a 32 bit unsigned integer that specifies the time
                interval (in seconds) that the resource record may be
                cached before it should be discarded.  Zero values are
                interpreted to mean that the RR can only be used for the
                transaction in progress, and should not be cached.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


RDLENGTH        an unsigned 16 bit integer that specifies the length in
                octets of the RDATA field.

RDATA           a variable length string of octets that describes the
                resource.  The format of this information varies
                according to the TYPE and CLASS of the resource record.
                For example, the if the TYPE is A and the CLASS is IN,
                the RDATA field is a 4 octet ARPA Internet address.

4.1.4. Message compression

In order to reduce the size of messages, the domain system utilizes a
compression scheme which eliminates the repetition of domain names in a
message.  In this scheme, an entire domain name or a list of labels at
the end of a domain name is replaced with a pointer to a prior occurance
of the same name.

The pointer takes the form of a two octet sequence:

    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    | 1  1|                OFFSET                   |
    +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

The first two bits are ones.  This allows a pointer to be distinguished
from a label, since the label must begin with two zero bits because
labels are restricted to 63 octets or less.  (The 10 and 01 combinations
are reserved for future use.)  The OFFSET field specifies an offset from
the start of the message (i.e., the first octet of the ID field in the
domain header).  A zero offset specifies the first byte of the ID field,
etc.

The compression scheme allows a domain name in a message to be
represented as either:

   - a sequence of labels ending in a zero octet

   - a pointer

   - a sequence of labels ending with a pointer

Pointers can only be used for occurances of a domain name where the
format is not class specific.  If this were not the case, a name server
or resolver would be required to know the format of all RRs it handled.
As yet, there are no such cases, but they may occur in future RDATA
formats.

If a domain name is contained in a part of the message subject to a
length field (such as the RDATA section of an RR), and compression is



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


used, the length of the compressed name is used in the length
calculation, rather than the length of the expanded name.

Programs are free to avoid using pointers in messages they generate,
although this will reduce datagram capacity, and may cause truncation.
However all programs are required to understand arriving messages that
contain pointers.

For example, a datagram might need to use the domain names F.ISI.ARPA,
FOO.F.ISI.ARPA, ARPA, and the root.  Ignoring the other fields of the
message, these domain names might be represented as:

       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    20 |           1           |           F           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    22 |           3           |           I           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    24 |           S           |           I           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    26 |           4           |           A           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    28 |           R           |           P           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    30 |           A           |           0           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    40 |           3           |           F           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    42 |           O           |           O           |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    44 | 1  1|                20                       |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    64 | 1  1|                26                       |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+
    92 |           0           |                       |
       +--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+

The domain name for F.ISI.ARPA is shown at offset 20.  The domain name
FOO.F.ISI.ARPA is shown at offset 40; this definition uses a pointer to
concatenate a label for FOO to the previously defined F.ISI.ARPA.  The
domain name ARPA is defined at offset 64 using a pointer to the ARPA
component of the name F.ISI.ARPA at 20; note that this pointer relies on
ARPA being the last label in the string at 20.  The root domain name is



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


defined by a single octet of zeros at 92; the root domain name has no
labels.

4.2. Transport

The DNS assumes that messages will be transmitted as datagrams or in a
byte stream carried by a virtual circuit.  While virtual circuits can be
used for any DNS activity, datagrams are preferred for queries due to
their lower overhead and better performance.  Zone refresh activities
must use virtual circuits because of the need for reliable transfer.

The Internet supports name server access using TCP [RFC-793] on server
port 53 (decimal) as well as datagram access using UDP [RFC-768] on UDP
port 53 (decimal).

4.2.1. UDP usage

Messages sent using UDP user server port 53 (decimal).

Messages carried by UDP are restricted to 512 bytes (not counting the IP
or UDP headers).  Longer messages are truncated and the TC bit is set in
the header.

UDP is not acceptable for zone transfers, but is the recommended method
for standard queries in the Internet.  Queries sent using UDP may be
lost, and hence a retransmission strategy is required.  Queries or their
responses may be reordered by the network, or by processing in name
servers, so resolvers should not depend on them being returned in order.

The optimal UDP retransmission policy will vary with performance of the
Internet and the needs of the client, but the following are recommended:

   - The client should try other servers and server addresses
     before repeating a query to a specific address of a server.

   - The retransmission interval should be based on prior
     statistics if possible.  Too aggressive retransmission can
     easily slow responses for the community at large.  Depending
     on how well connected the client is to its expected servers,
     the minimum retransmission interval should be 2-5 seconds.

More suggestions on server selection and retransmission policy can be
found in the resolver section of this memo.

4.2.2. TCP usage

Messages sent over TCP connections use server port 53 (decimal).  The
message is prefixed with a two byte length field which gives the message



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


length, excluding the two byte length field.  This length field allows
the low-level processing to assemble a complete message before beginning
to parse it.

Several connection management policies are recommended:

   - The server should not block other activities waiting for TCP
     data.

   - The server should support multiple connections.

   - The server should assume that the client will initiate
     connection closing, and should delay closing its end of the
     connection until all outstanding client requests have been
     satisfied.

   - If the server needs to close a dormant connection to reclaim
     resources, it should wait until the connection has been idle
     for a period on the order of two minutes.  In particular, the
     server should allow the SOA and AXFR request sequence (which
     begins a refresh operation) to be made on a single connection.
     Since the server would be unable to answer queries anyway, a
     unilateral close or reset may be used instead of a graceful
     close.

5. MASTER FILES

Master files are text files that contain RRs in text form.  Since the
contents of a zone can be expressed in the form of a list of RRs a
master file is most often used to define a zone, though it can be used
to list a cache's contents.  Hence, this section first discusses the
format of RRs in a master file, and then the special considerations when
a master file is used to create a zone in some name server.

5.1. Format

The format of these files is a sequence of entries.  Entries are
predominantly line-oriented, though parentheses can be used to continue
a list of items across a line boundary, and text literals can contain
CRLF within the text.  Any combination of tabs and spaces act as a
delimiter between the separate items that make up an entry.  The end of
any line in the master file can end with a comment.  The comment starts
with a ";" (semicolon).

The following entries are defined:

    <blank>[<comment>]




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


    $ORIGIN <domain-name> [<comment>]

    $INCLUDE <file-name> [<domain-name>] [<comment>]

    <domain-name><rr> [<comment>]

    <blank><rr> [<comment>]

Blank lines, with or without comments, are allowed anywhere in the file.

Two control entries are defined: $ORIGIN and $INCLUDE.  $ORIGIN is
followed by a domain name, and resets the current origin for relative
domain names to the stated name.  $INCLUDE inserts the named file into
the current file, and may optionally specify a domain name that sets the
relative domain name origin for the included file.  $INCLUDE may also
have a comment.  Note that a $INCLUDE entry never changes the relative
origin of the parent file, regardless of changes to the relative origin
made within the included file.

The last two forms represent RRs.  If an entry for an RR begins with a
blank, then the RR is assumed to be owned by the last stated owner.  If
an RR entry begins with a <domain-name>, then the owner name is reset.

<rr> contents take one of the following forms:

    [<TTL>] [<class>] <type> <RDATA>

    [<class>] [<TTL>] <type> <RDATA>

The RR begins with optional TTL and class fields, followed by a type and
RDATA field appropriate to the type and class.  Class and type use the
standard mnemonics, TTL is a decimal integer.  Omitted class and TTL
values are default to the last explicitly stated values.  Since type and
class mnemonics are disjoint, the parse is unique.  (Note that this
order is different from the order used in examples and the order used in
the actual RRs; the given order allows easier parsing and defaulting.)

<domain-name>s make up a large share of the data in the master file.
The labels in the domain name are expressed as character strings and
separated by dots.  Quoting conventions allow arbitrary characters to be
stored in domain names.  Domain names that end in a dot are called
absolute, and are taken as complete.  Domain names which do not end in a
dot are called relative; the actual domain name is the concatenation of
the relative part with an origin specified in a $ORIGIN, $INCLUDE, or as
an argument to the master file loading routine.  A relative name is an
error when no origin is available.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


<character-string> is expressed in one or two ways: as a contiguous set
of characters without interior spaces, or as a string beginning with a "
and ending with a ".  Inside a " delimited string any character can
occur, except for a " itself, which must be quoted using \ (back slash).

Because these files are text files several special encodings are
necessary to allow arbitrary data to be loaded.  In particular:

                of the root.

@               A free standing @ is used to denote the current origin.

\X              where X is any character other than a digit (0-9), is
                used to quote that character so that its special meaning
                does not apply.  For example, "\." can be used to place
                a dot character in a label.

\DDD            where each D is a digit is the octet corresponding to
                the decimal number described by DDD.  The resulting
                octet is assumed to be text and is not checked for
                special meaning.

( )             Parentheses are used to group data that crosses a line
                boundary.  In effect, line terminations are not
                recognized within parentheses.

;               Semicolon is used to start a comment; the remainder of
                the line is ignored.

5.2. Use of master files to define zones

When a master file is used to load a zone, the operation should be
suppressed if any errors are encountered in the master file.  The
rationale for this is that a single error can have widespread
consequences.  For example, suppose that the RRs defining a delegation
have syntax errors; then the server will return authoritative name
errors for all names in the subzone (except in the case where the
subzone is also present on the server).

Several other validity checks that should be performed in addition to
insuring that the file is syntactically correct:

   1. All RRs in the file should have the same class.

   2. Exactly one SOA RR should be present at the top of the zone.

   3. If delegations are present and glue information is required,
      it should be present.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


   4. Information present outside of the authoritative nodes in the
      zone should be glue information, rather than the result of an
      origin or similar error.

5.3. Master file example

The following is an example file which might be used to define the
ISI.EDU zone.and is loaded with an origin of ISI.EDU:

@   IN  SOA     VENERA      Action\.domains (
                                 20     ; SERIAL
                                 7200   ; REFRESH
                                 600    ; RETRY
                                 3600000; EXPIRE
                                 60)    ; MINIMUM

        NS      A.ISI.EDU.
        NS      VENERA
        NS      VAXA
        MX      10      VENERA
        MX      20      VAXA

A       A       26.3.0.103

VENERA  A       10.1.0.52
        A       128.9.0.32

VAXA    A       10.2.0.27
        A       128.9.0.33


$INCLUDE <SUBSYS>ISI-MAILBOXES.TXT

Where the file <SUBSYS>ISI-MAILBOXES.TXT is:

    MOE     MB      A.ISI.EDU.
    LARRY   MB      A.ISI.EDU.
    CURLEY  MB      A.ISI.EDU.
    STOOGES MG      MOE
            MG      LARRY
            MG      CURLEY

Note the use of the \ character in the SOA RR to specify the responsible
person mailbox "Action.domains@E.ISI.EDU".







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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


6. NAME SERVER IMPLEMENTATION

6.1. Architecture

The optimal structure for the name server will depend on the host
operating system and whether the name server is integrated with resolver
operations, either by supporting recursive service, or by sharing its
database with a resolver.  This section discusses implementation
considerations for a name server which shares a database with a
resolver, but most of these concerns are present in any name server.

6.1.1. Control

A name server must employ multiple concurrent activities, whether they
are implemented as separate tasks in the host's OS or multiplexing
inside a single name server program.  It is simply not acceptable for a
name server to block the service of UDP requests while it waits for TCP
data for refreshing or query activities.  Similarly, a name server
should not attempt to provide recursive service without processing such
requests in parallel, though it may choose to serialize requests from a
single client, or to regard identical requests from the same client as
duplicates.  A name server should not substantially delay requests while
it reloads a zone from master files or while it incorporates a newly
refreshed zone into its database.

6.1.2. Database

While name server implementations are free to use any internal data
structures they choose, the suggested structure consists of three major
parts:

   - A "catalog" data structure which lists the zones available to
     this server, and a "pointer" to the zone data structure.  The
     main purpose of this structure is to find the nearest ancestor
     zone, if any, for arriving standard queries.

   - Separate data structures for each of the zones held by the
     name server.

   - A data structure for cached data. (or perhaps separate caches
     for different classes)

All of these data structures can be implemented an identical tree
structure format, with different data chained off the nodes in different
parts: in the catalog the data is pointers to zones, while in the zone
and cache data structures, the data will be RRs.  In designing the tree
framework the designer should recognize that query processing will need
to traverse the tree using case-insensitive label comparisons; and that



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


in real data, a few nodes have a very high branching factor (100-1000 or
more), but the vast majority have a very low branching factor (0-1).

One way to solve the case problem is to store the labels for each node
in two pieces: a standardized-case representation of the label where all
ASCII characters are in a single case, together with a bit mask that
denotes which characters are actually of a different case.  The
branching factor diversity can be handled using a simple linked list for
a node until the branching factor exceeds some threshold, and
transitioning to a hash structure after the threshold is exceeded.  In
any case, hash structures used to store tree sections must insure that
hash functions and procedures preserve the casing conventions of the
DNS.

The use of separate structures for the different parts of the database
is motivated by several factors:

   - The catalog structure can be an almost static structure that
     need change only when the system administrator changes the
     zones supported by the server.  This structure can also be
     used to store parameters used to control refreshing
     activities.

   - The individual data structures for zones allow a zone to be
     replaced simply by changing a pointer in the catalog.  Zone
     refresh operations can build a new structure and, when
     complete, splice it into the database via a simple pointer
     replacement.  It is very important that when a zone is
     refreshed, queries should not use old and new data
     simultaneously.

   - With the proper search procedures, authoritative data in zones
     will always "hide", and hence take precedence over, cached
     data.

   - Errors in zone definitions that cause overlapping zones, etc.,
     may cause erroneous responses to queries, but problem
     determination is simplified, and the contents of one "bad"
     zone can't corrupt another.

   - Since the cache is most frequently updated, it is most
     vulnerable to corruption during system restarts.  It can also
     become full of expired RR data.  In either case, it can easily
     be discarded without disturbing zone data.

A major aspect of database design is selecting a structure which allows
the name server to deal with crashes of the name server's host.  State
information which a name server should save across system crashes



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


includes the catalog structure (including the state of refreshing for
each zone) and the zone data itself.

6.1.3. Time

Both the TTL data for RRs and the timing data for refreshing activities
depends on 32 bit timers in units of seconds.  Inside the database,
refresh timers and TTLs for cached data conceptually "count down", while
data in the zone stays with constant TTLs.

A recommended implementation strategy is to store time in two ways:  as
a relative increment and as an absolute time.  One way to do this is to
use positive 32 bit numbers for one type and negative numbers for the
other.  The RRs in zones use relative times; the refresh timers and
cache data use absolute times.  Absolute numbers are taken with respect
to some known origin and converted to relative values when placed in the
response to a query.  When an absolute TTL is negative after conversion
to relative, then the data is expired and should be ignored.

6.2. Standard query processing

The major algorithm for standard query processing is presented in
[RFC-1034].

When processing queries with QCLASS=*, or some other QCLASS which
matches multiple classes, the response should never be authoritative
unless the server can guarantee that the response covers all classes.

When composing a response, RRs which are to be inserted in the
additional section, but duplicate RRs in the answer or authority
sections, may be omitted from the additional section.

When a response is so long that truncation is required, the truncation
should start at the end of the response and work forward in the
datagram.  Thus if there is any data for the authority section, the
answer section is guaranteed to be unique.

The MINIMUM value in the SOA should be used to set a floor on the TTL of
data distributed from a zone.  This floor function should be done when
the data is copied into a response.  This will allow future dynamic
update protocols to change the SOA MINIMUM field without ambiguous
semantics.

6.3. Zone refresh and reload processing

In spite of a server's best efforts, it may be unable to load zone data
from a master file due to syntax errors, etc., or be unable to refresh a
zone within the its expiration parameter.  In this case, the name server



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


should answer queries as if it were not supposed to possess the zone.

If a master is sending a zone out via AXFR, and a new version is created
during the transfer, the master should continue to send the old version
if possible.  In any case, it should never send part of one version and
part of another.  If completion is not possible, the master should reset
the connection on which the zone transfer is taking place.

6.4. Inverse queries (Optional)

Inverse queries are an optional part of the DNS.  Name servers are not
required to support any form of inverse queries.  If a name server
receives an inverse query that it does not support, it returns an error
response with the "Not Implemented" error set in the header.  While
inverse query support is optional, all name servers must be at least
able to return the error response.

6.4.1. The contents of inverse queries and responses          Inverse
queries reverse the mappings performed by standard query operations;
while a standard query maps a domain name to a resource, an inverse
query maps a resource to a domain name.  For example, a standard query
might bind a domain name to a host address; the corresponding inverse
query binds the host address to a domain name.

Inverse queries take the form of a single RR in the answer section of
the message, with an empty question section.  The owner name of the
query RR and its TTL are not significant.  The response carries
questions in the question section which identify all names possessing
the query RR WHICH THE NAME SERVER KNOWS.  Since no name server knows
about all of the domain name space, the response can never be assumed to
be complete.  Thus inverse queries are primarily useful for database
management and debugging activities.  Inverse queries are NOT an
acceptable method of mapping host addresses to host names; use the IN-
ADDR.ARPA domain instead.

Where possible, name servers should provide case-insensitive comparisons
for inverse queries.  Thus an inverse query asking for an MX RR of
"Venera.isi.edu" should get the same response as a query for
"VENERA.ISI.EDU"; an inverse query for HINFO RR "IBM-PC UNIX" should
produce the same result as an inverse query for "IBM-pc unix".  However,
this cannot be guaranteed because name servers may possess RRs that
contain character strings but the name server does not know that the
data is character.

When a name server processes an inverse query, it either returns:

   1. zero, one, or multiple domain names for the specified
      resource as QNAMEs in the question section



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


   2. an error code indicating that the name server doesn't support
      inverse mapping of the specified resource type.

When the response to an inverse query contains one or more QNAMEs, the
owner name and TTL of the RR in the answer section which defines the
inverse query is modified to exactly match an RR found at the first
QNAME.

RRs returned in the inverse queries cannot be cached using the same
mechanism as is used for the replies to standard queries.  One reason
for this is that a name might have multiple RRs of the same type, and
only one would appear.  For example, an inverse query for a single
address of a multiply homed host might create the impression that only
one address existed.

6.4.2. Inverse query and response example          The overall structure
of an inverse query for retrieving the domain name that corresponds to
Internet address 10.1.0.52 is shown below:

                         +-----------------------------------------+
           Header        |          OPCODE=IQUERY, ID=997          |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
          Question       |                 <empty>                 |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
           Answer        |        <anyname> A IN 10.1.0.52         |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
          Authority      |                 <empty>                 |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
         Additional      |                 <empty>                 |
                         +-----------------------------------------+

This query asks for a question whose answer is the Internet style
address 10.1.0.52.  Since the owner name is not known, any domain name
can be used as a placeholder (and is ignored).  A single octet of zero,
signifying the root, is usually used because it minimizes the length of
the message.  The TTL of the RR is not significant.  The response to
this query might be:














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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


                         +-----------------------------------------+
           Header        |         OPCODE=RESPONSE, ID=997         |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
          Question       |QTYPE=A, QCLASS=IN, QNAME=VENERA.ISI.EDU |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
           Answer        |  VENERA.ISI.EDU  A IN 10.1.0.52         |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
          Authority      |                 <empty>                 |
                         +-----------------------------------------+
         Additional      |                 <empty>                 |
                         +-----------------------------------------+

Note that the QTYPE in a response to an inverse query is the same as the
TYPE field in the answer section of the inverse query.  Responses to
inverse queries may contain multiple questions when the inverse is not
unique.  If the question section in the response is not empty, then the
RR in the answer section is modified to correspond to be an exact copy
of an RR at the first QNAME.

6.4.3. Inverse query processing

Name servers that support inverse queries can support these operations
through exhaustive searches of their databases, but this becomes
impractical as the size of the database increases.  An alternative
approach is to invert the database according to the search key.

For name servers that support multiple zones and a large amount of data,
the recommended approach is separate inversions for each zone.  When a
particular zone is changed during a refresh, only its inversions need to
be redone.

Support for transfer of this type of inversion may be included in future
versions of the domain system, but is not supported in this version.

6.5. Completion queries and responses

The optional completion services described in RFC-882 and RFC-883 have
been deleted.  Redesigned services may become available in the future.













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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


7. RESOLVER IMPLEMENTATION

The top levels of the recommended resolver algorithm are discussed in
[RFC-1034].  This section discusses implementation details assuming the
database structure suggested in the name server implementation section
of this memo.

7.1. Transforming a user request into a query

The first step a resolver takes is to transform the client's request,
stated in a format suitable to the local OS, into a search specification
for RRs at a specific name which match a specific QTYPE and QCLASS.
Where possible, the QTYPE and QCLASS should correspond to a single type
and a single class, because this makes the use of cached data much
simpler.  The reason for this is that the presence of data of one type
in a cache doesn't confirm the existence or non-existence of data of
other types, hence the only way to be sure is to consult an
authoritative source.  If QCLASS=* is used, then authoritative answers
won't be available.

Since a resolver must be able to multiplex multiple requests if it is to
perform its function efficiently, each pending request is usually
represented in some block of state information.  This state block will
typically contain:

   - A timestamp indicating the time the request began.
     The timestamp is used to decide whether RRs in the database
     can be used or are out of date.  This timestamp uses the
     absolute time format previously discussed for RR storage in
     zones and caches.  Note that when an RRs TTL indicates a
     relative time, the RR must be timely, since it is part of a
     zone.  When the RR has an absolute time, it is part of a
     cache, and the TTL of the RR is compared against the timestamp
     for the start of the request.

     Note that using the timestamp is superior to using a current
     time, since it allows RRs with TTLs of zero to be entered in
     the cache in the usual manner, but still used by the current
     request, even after intervals of many seconds due to system
     load, query retransmission timeouts, etc.

   - Some sort of parameters to limit the amount of work which will
     be performed for this request.

     The amount of work which a resolver will do in response to a
     client request must be limited to guard against errors in the
     database, such as circular CNAME references, and operational
     problems, such as network partition which prevents the



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


     resolver from accessing the name servers it needs.  While
     local limits on the number of times a resolver will retransmit
     a particular query to a particular name server address are
     essential, the resolver should have a global per-request
     counter to limit work on a single request.  The counter should
     be set to some initial value and decremented whenever the
     resolver performs any action (retransmission timeout,
     retransmission, etc.)  If the counter passes zero, the request
     is terminated with a temporary error.

     Note that if the resolver structure allows one request to
     start others in parallel, such as when the need to access a
     name server for one request causes a parallel resolve for the
     name server's addresses, the spawned request should be started
     with a lower counter.  This prevents circular references in
     the database from starting a chain reaction of resolver
     activity.

   - The SLIST data structure discussed in [RFC-1034].

     This structure keeps track of the state of a request if it
     must wait for answers from foreign name servers.

7.2. Sending the queries

As described in [RFC-1034], the basic task of the resolver is to
formulate a query which will answer the client's request and direct that
query to name servers which can provide the information.  The resolver
will usually only have very strong hints about which servers to ask, in
the form of NS RRs, and may have to revise the query, in response to
CNAMEs, or revise the set of name servers the resolver is asking, in
response to delegation responses which point the resolver to name
servers closer to the desired information.  In addition to the
information requested by the client, the resolver may have to call upon
its own services to determine the address of name servers it wishes to
contact.

In any case, the model used in this memo assumes that the resolver is
multiplexing attention between multiple requests, some from the client,
and some internally generated.  Each request is represented by some
state information, and the desired behavior is that the resolver
transmit queries to name servers in a way that maximizes the probability
that the request is answered, minimizes the time that the request takes,
and avoids excessive transmissions.  The key algorithm uses the state
information of the request to select the next name server address to
query, and also computes a timeout which will cause the next action
should a response not arrive.  The next action will usually be a
transmission to some other server, but may be a temporary error to the



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


client.

The resolver always starts with a list of server names to query (SLIST).
This list will be all NS RRs which correspond to the nearest ancestor
zone that the resolver knows about.  To avoid startup problems, the
resolver should have a set of default servers which it will ask should
it have no current NS RRs which are appropriate.  The resolver then adds
to SLIST all of the known addresses for the name servers, and may start
parallel requests to acquire the addresses of the servers when the
resolver has the name, but no addresses, for the name servers.

To complete initialization of SLIST, the resolver attaches whatever
history information it has to the each address in SLIST.  This will
usually consist of some sort of weighted averages for the response time
of the address, and the batting average of the address (i.e., how often
the address responded at all to the request).  Note that this
information should be kept on a per address basis, rather than on a per
name server basis, because the response time and batting average of a
particular server may vary considerably from address to address.  Note
also that this information is actually specific to a resolver address /
server address pair, so a resolver with multiple addresses may wish to
keep separate histories for each of its addresses.  Part of this step
must deal with addresses which have no such history; in this case an
expected round trip time of 5-10 seconds should be the worst case, with
lower estimates for the same local network, etc.

Note that whenever a delegation is followed, the resolver algorithm
reinitializes SLIST.

The information establishes a partial ranking of the available name
server addresses.  Each time an address is chosen and the state should
be altered to prevent its selection again until all other addresses have
been tried.  The timeout for each transmission should be 50-100% greater
than the average predicted value to allow for variance in response.

Some fine points:

   - The resolver may encounter a situation where no addresses are
     available for any of the name servers named in SLIST, and
     where the servers in the list are precisely those which would
     normally be used to look up their own addresses.  This
     situation typically occurs when the glue address RRs have a
     smaller TTL than the NS RRs marking delegation, or when the
     resolver caches the result of a NS search.  The resolver
     should detect this condition and restart the search at the
     next ancestor zone, or alternatively at the root.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


   - If a resolver gets a server error or other bizarre response
     from a name server, it should remove it from SLIST, and may
     wish to schedule an immediate transmission to the next
     candidate server address.

7.3. Processing responses

The first step in processing arriving response datagrams is to parse the
response.  This procedure should include:

   - Check the header for reasonableness.  Discard datagrams which
     are queries when responses are expected.

   - Parse the sections of the message, and insure that all RRs are
     correctly formatted.

   - As an optional step, check the TTLs of arriving data looking
     for RRs with excessively long TTLs.  If a RR has an
     excessively long TTL, say greater than 1 week, either discard
     the whole response, or limit all TTLs in the response to 1
     week.

The next step is to match the response to a current resolver request.
The recommended strategy is to do a preliminary matching using the ID
field in the domain header, and then to verify that the question section
corresponds to the information currently desired.  This requires that
the transmission algorithm devote several bits of the domain ID field to
a request identifier of some sort.  This step has several fine points:

   - Some name servers send their responses from different
     addresses than the one used to receive the query.  That is, a
     resolver cannot rely that a response will come from the same
     address which it sent the corresponding query to.  This name
     server bug is typically encountered in UNIX systems.

   - If the resolver retransmits a particular request to a name
     server it should be able to use a response from any of the
     transmissions.  However, if it is using the response to sample
     the round trip time to access the name server, it must be able
     to determine which transmission matches the response (and keep
     transmission times for each outgoing message), or only
     calculate round trip times based on initial transmissions.

   - A name server will occasionally not have a current copy of a
     zone which it should have according to some NS RRs.  The
     resolver should simply remove the name server from the current
     SLIST, and continue.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


7.4. Using the cache

In general, we expect a resolver to cache all data which it receives in
responses since it may be useful in answering future client requests.
However, there are several types of data which should not be cached:

   - When several RRs of the same type are available for a
     particular owner name, the resolver should either cache them
     all or none at all.  When a response is truncated, and a
     resolver doesn't know whether it has a complete set, it should
     not cache a possibly partial set of RRs.

   - Cached data should never be used in preference to
     authoritative data, so if caching would cause this to happen
     the data should not be cached.

   - The results of an inverse query should not be cached.

   - The results of standard queries where the QNAME contains "*"
     labels if the data might be used to construct wildcards.  The
     reason is that the cache does not necessarily contain existing
     RRs or zone boundary information which is necessary to
     restrict the application of the wildcard RRs.

   - RR data in responses of dubious reliability.  When a resolver
     receives unsolicited responses or RR data other than that
     requested, it should discard it without caching it.  The basic
     implication is that all sanity checks on a packet should be
     performed before any of it is cached.

In a similar vein, when a resolver has a set of RRs for some name in a
response, and wants to cache the RRs, it should check its cache for
already existing RRs.  Depending on the circumstances, either the data
in the response or the cache is preferred, but the two should never be
combined.  If the data in the response is from authoritative data in the
answer section, it is always preferred.

8. MAIL SUPPORT

The domain system defines a standard for mapping mailboxes into domain
names, and two methods for using the mailbox information to derive mail
routing information.  The first method is called mail exchange binding
and the other method is mailbox binding.  The mailbox encoding standard
and mail exchange binding are part of the DNS official protocol, and are
the recommended method for mail routing in the Internet.  Mailbox
binding is an experimental feature which is still under development and
subject to change.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


The mailbox encoding standard assumes a mailbox name of the form
"<local-part>@<mail-domain>".  While the syntax allowed in each of these
sections varies substantially between the various mail internets, the
preferred syntax for the ARPA Internet is given in [RFC-822].

The DNS encodes the <local-part> as a single label, and encodes the
<mail-domain> as a domain name.  The single label from the <local-part>
is prefaced to the domain name from <mail-domain> to form the domain
name corresponding to the mailbox.  Thus the mailbox HOSTMASTER@SRI-
NIC.ARPA is mapped into the domain name HOSTMASTER.SRI-NIC.ARPA.  If the
<local-part> contains dots or other special characters, its
representation in a master file will require the use of backslash
quoting to ensure that the domain name is properly encoded.  For
example, the mailbox Action.domains@ISI.EDU would be represented as
Action\.domains.ISI.EDU.

8.1. Mail exchange binding

Mail exchange binding uses the <mail-domain> part of a mailbox
specification to determine where mail should be sent.  The <local-part>
is not even consulted.  [RFC-974] specifies this method in detail, and
should be consulted before attempting to use mail exchange support.

One of the advantages of this method is that it decouples mail
destination naming from the hosts used to support mail service, at the
cost of another layer of indirection in the lookup function.  However,
the addition layer should eliminate the need for complicated "%", "!",
etc encodings in <local-part>.

The essence of the method is that the <mail-domain> is used as a domain
name to locate type MX RRs which list hosts willing to accept mail for
<mail-domain>, together with preference values which rank the hosts
according to an order specified by the administrators for <mail-domain>.

In this memo, the <mail-domain> ISI.EDU is used in examples, together
with the hosts VENERA.ISI.EDU and VAXA.ISI.EDU as mail exchanges for
ISI.EDU.  If a mailer had a message for Mockapetris@ISI.EDU, it would
route it by looking up MX RRs for ISI.EDU.  The MX RRs at ISI.EDU name
VENERA.ISI.EDU and VAXA.ISI.EDU, and type A queries can find the host
addresses.

8.2. Mailbox binding (Experimental)

In mailbox binding, the mailer uses the entire mail destination
specification to construct a domain name.  The encoded domain name for
the mailbox is used as the QNAME field in a QTYPE=MAILB query.

Several outcomes are possible for this query:



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


   1. The query can return a name error indicating that the mailbox
      does not exist as a domain name.

      In the long term, this would indicate that the specified
      mailbox doesn't exist.  However, until the use of mailbox
      binding is universal, this error condition should be
      interpreted to mean that the organization identified by the
      global part does not support mailbox binding.  The
      appropriate procedure is to revert to exchange binding at
      this point.

   2. The query can return a Mail Rename (MR) RR.

      The MR RR carries new mailbox specification in its RDATA
      field.  The mailer should replace the old mailbox with the
      new one and retry the operation.

   3. The query can return a MB RR.

      The MB RR carries a domain name for a host in its RDATA
      field.  The mailer should deliver the message to that host
      via whatever protocol is applicable, e.g., b,SMTP.

   4. The query can return one or more Mail Group (MG) RRs.

      This condition means that the mailbox was actually a mailing
      list or mail group, rather than a single mailbox.  Each MG RR
      has a RDATA field that identifies a mailbox that is a member
      of the group.  The mailer should deliver a copy of the
      message to each member.

   5. The query can return a MB RR as well as one or more MG RRs.

      This condition means the the mailbox was actually a mailing
      list.  The mailer can either deliver the message to the host
      specified by the MB RR, which will in turn do the delivery to
      all members, or the mailer can use the MG RRs to do the
      expansion itself.

In any of these cases, the response may include a Mail Information
(MINFO) RR.  This RR is usually associated with a mail group, but is
legal with a MB.  The MINFO RR identifies two mailboxes.  One of these
identifies a responsible person for the original mailbox name.  This
mailbox should be used for requests to be added to a mail group, etc.
The second mailbox name in the MINFO RR identifies a mailbox that should
receive error messages for mail failures.  This is particularly
appropriate for mailing lists when errors in member names should be
reported to a person other than the one who sends a message to the list.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


New fields may be added to this RR in the future.


9. REFERENCES and BIBLIOGRAPHY

[Dyer 87]       S. Dyer, F. Hsu, "Hesiod", Project Athena
                Technical Plan - Name Service, April 1987, version 1.9.

                Describes the fundamentals of the Hesiod name service.

[IEN-116]       J. Postel, "Internet Name Server", IEN-116,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1979.

                A name service obsoleted by the Domain Name System, but
                still in use.

[Quarterman 86] J. Quarterman, and J. Hoskins, "Notable Computer Networks",
                Communications of the ACM, October 1986, volume 29, number
                10.

[RFC-742]       K. Harrenstien, "NAME/FINGER", RFC-742, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, December 1977.

[RFC-768]       J. Postel, "User Datagram Protocol", RFC-768,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1980.

[RFC-793]       J. Postel, "Transmission Control Protocol", RFC-793,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, September 1981.

[RFC-799]       D. Mills, "Internet Name Domains", RFC-799, COMSAT,
                September 1981.

                Suggests introduction of a hierarchy in place of a flat
                name space for the Internet.

[RFC-805]       J. Postel, "Computer Mail Meeting Notes", RFC-805,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, February 1982.

[RFC-810]       E. Feinler, K. Harrenstien, Z. Su, and V. White, "DOD
                Internet Host Table Specification", RFC-810, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, March 1982.

                Obsolete.  See RFC-952.

[RFC-811]       K. Harrenstien, V. White, and E. Feinler, "Hostnames
                Server", RFC-811, Network Information Center, SRI
                International, March 1982.




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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


                Obsolete.  See RFC-953.

[RFC-812]       K. Harrenstien, and V. White, "NICNAME/WHOIS", RFC-812,
                Network Information Center, SRI International, March
                1982.

[RFC-819]       Z. Su, and J. Postel, "The Domain Naming Convention for
                Internet User Applications", RFC-819, Network
                Information Center, SRI International, August 1982.

                Early thoughts on the design of the domain system.
                Current implementation is completely different.

[RFC-821]       J. Postel, "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC-821,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1980.

[RFC-830]       Z. Su, "A Distributed System for Internet Name Service",
                RFC-830, Network Information Center, SRI International,
                October 1982.

                Early thoughts on the design of the domain system.
                Current implementation is completely different.

[RFC-882]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain names - Concepts and
                Facilities," RFC-882, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, November 1983.

                Superceeded by this memo.

[RFC-883]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain names - Implementation and
                Specification," RFC-883, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, November 1983.

                Superceeded by this memo.

[RFC-920]       J. Postel and J. Reynolds, "Domain Requirements",
                RFC-920, USC/Information Sciences Institute,
                October 1984.

                Explains the naming scheme for top level domains.

[RFC-952]       K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, E. Feinler, "DoD Internet Host
                Table Specification", RFC-952, SRI, October 1985.

                Specifies the format of HOSTS.TXT, the host/address
                table replaced by the DNS.





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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


[RFC-953]       K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, E. Feinler, "HOSTNAME Server",
                RFC-953, SRI, October 1985.

                This RFC contains the official specification of the
                hostname server protocol, which is obsoleted by the DNS.
                This TCP based protocol accesses information stored in
                the RFC-952 format, and is used to obtain copies of the
                host table.

[RFC-973]       P. Mockapetris, "Domain System Changes and
                Observations", RFC-973, USC/Information Sciences
                Institute, January 1986.

                Describes changes to RFC-882 and RFC-883 and reasons for
                them.

[RFC-974]       C. Partridge, "Mail routing and the domain system",
                RFC-974, CSNET CIC BBN Labs, January 1986.

                Describes the transition from HOSTS.TXT based mail
                addressing to the more powerful MX system used with the
                domain system.

[RFC-1001]      NetBIOS Working Group, "Protocol standard for a NetBIOS
                service on a TCP/UDP transport: Concepts and Methods",
                RFC-1001, March 1987.

                This RFC and RFC-1002 are a preliminary design for
                NETBIOS on top of TCP/IP which proposes to base NetBIOS
                name service on top of the DNS.

[RFC-1002]      NetBIOS Working Group, "Protocol standard for a NetBIOS
                service on a TCP/UDP transport: Detailed
                Specifications", RFC-1002, March 1987.

[RFC-1010]      J. Reynolds, and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", RFC-1010,
                USC/Information Sciences Institute, May 1987.

                Contains socket numbers and mnemonics for host names,
                operating systems, etc.

[RFC-1031]      W. Lazear, "MILNET Name Domain Transition", RFC-1031,
                November 1987.

                Describes a plan for converting the MILNET to the DNS.

[RFC-1032]      M. Stahl, "Establishing a Domain - Guidelines for
                Administrators", RFC-1032, November 1987.



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


                Describes the registration policies used by the NIC to
                administer the top level domains and delegate subzones.

[RFC-1033]      M. Lottor, "Domain Administrators Operations Guide",
                RFC-1033, November 1987.

                A cookbook for domain administrators.

[Solomon 82]    M. Solomon, L. Landweber, and D. Neuhengen, "The CSNET
                Name Server", Computer Networks, vol 6, nr 3, July 1982.

                Describes a name service for CSNET which is independent
                from the DNS and DNS use in the CSNET.






































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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


Index

          *   13

          ;   33, 35

          <character-string>   35
          <domain-name>   34

          @   35

          \   35

          A   12

          Byte order   8

          CH   13
          Character case   9
          CLASS   11
          CNAME   12
          Completion   42
          CS   13

          Hesiod   13
          HINFO   12
          HS   13

          IN   13
          IN-ADDR.ARPA domain   22
          Inverse queries   40

          Mailbox names   47
          MB   12
          MD   12
          MF   12
          MG   12
          MINFO   12
          MINIMUM   20
          MR   12
          MX   12

          NS   12
          NULL   12

          Port numbers   32
          Primary server   5
          PTR   12, 18



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RFC 1035        Domain Implementation and Specification    November 1987


          QCLASS   13
          QTYPE   12

          RDATA   12
          RDLENGTH  11

          Secondary server   5
          SOA   12
          Stub resolvers   7

          TCP   32
          TXT   12
          TYPE   11

          UDP   32

          WKS   12


































Mockapetris                                                    [Page 55]