Were A record domain names ever limited to 23 characters?

steve pirk [egrep] steve at pirk.com
Fri Oct 7 23:45:53 UTC 2011

It turns out it was an artificial limitation on Network Solution's part.
Being the only registrar at the time, it was pretty much internet wide at
that point, contrary to the RFC spec.

What was so funny was that someone got Internic/Network Solutions to up the
limit. Apparently just to save some money on reprinting movie posters... ok,
so they would have had to change some trailers...

On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 16:39, Jimmy Hess <mysidia at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:32 PM, Joe Hamelin <joe at nethead.com> wrote:
> > I remember tales from when there was an eight character limit.  But that
> was
> > back when you didn't have to pay for them and they assigned you a class-c
> > block automatically.  Of course it took six weeks to register because
> there
> > was only one person running the registry.
> You may be referring to a limitation of a certain OS regarding a
> hostname; or some network's policy.
> But the DNS protocol itself never had a limit of 8 characters.
> When we are talking about the contents of "A" record names,
> I would refer you to
> http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2181.txt
> "RFC 2181
> Clarifications to the DNS Specification R. Elz, R. Bush
> [ July 1997 ] (TXT = 36989) (Updates RFC1034, RFC1035, RFC1123)
> (Updated-By RFC4035, RFC2535, RFC4343, RFC4033, RFC4034, RFC5452)
> (Status: PROPOSED STANDARD) (Stream: IETF, Area: int, WG: dnsind) "
> "
> Elz & Bush                  Standards Track                    [Page 12]
> ...
> Occasionally it is assumed that the Domain Name System serves only
>   the purpose of mapping Internet host names to data, and mapping
>   Internet addresses to host names.  This is not correct, the DNS is a
>   general (if somewhat limited) hierarchical database, and can store
>   almost any kind of data, for almost any purpose.
> ...
> 11. Name syntax
> "
> The length of any one label is limited to between 1 and 63 octets.  A
> full domain
>   name is limited to 255 octets (including the separators).  The zero
>   length full name is defined as representing the root of the DNS tree,
>   and is typically written and displayed as ".".  Those restrictions
>   aside, any binary string whatever can be used as the label of any
>   resource record.
> "
> --
> -JH

steve pirk
"father... the sleeper has awakened..." paul atreides - dune
kexp.org member august '09

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