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IETF Proposes New Top-Level Domain Names

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recently drafted a proposal for brand new reserved top level DNS names.

The group wants to issue new domain names for private testing of existing DNS-related code and configuration, as well as some second level domain names.

The group cited, as an example, that a site might want to set up local additional unused top level domains in the testing of its local DNS code and configuration. At a later date, those TLDs could possibly come into actual usage on the Internet. Due to this, local tries to reference the real data in those area could be stalled by local test versions. Or, the group said, a test or example code could be written which accesses a TLD that is already in use, thinking the test code would only be run in a restricted testbed area.

To thwart such problem, the IETF's Donald Eastlake and Aliza Panitz wrote the draft proposing that four domain names be reserved:

  • .test - recommended for use in testing current or new DNS-related code
  • .example - for use in documentation or as an example
  • .invalid - for use in online construction of domain names are will be obviously invalid
  • .localhost - a TLD that has traditionally been statically defined in host DNS tests as having an A record pointing to the loop back IP address and is saved for such use.

In addition, the IETF said that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is also requesting the following second level domains for use in the future:

  • example.com
  • example.net
  • example.org

"Confusion and conflict can be caused by the use of a current or future top level domain name in experimentation or testing," Panitz and Eastlake wrote in the draft. "The reservation of several top level domain names for these purposes will minimize such confusion and conflict."