Were A record domain names ever limited to 23 characters?

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Sat Oct 8 03:25:37 UTC 2011

Yes, this was because some very old (current at the time, however)
implementations of gethostbyname(3) were implemented in such a way that if
the first character they saw returned isdigit()==TRUE, then,
they would assume that they had been passed an IP address
and would attempt to encode the string as an IP address rather
than looking it up in /etc/hosts or DNS.


On Oct 7, 2011, at 7:41 PM, Joe Hamelin wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 7:30 PM, Jay Ashworth <jra at baylink.com> wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> "3com.com"
> I recall that 3M was originally mmm.com because they wouldn't allow a number
> to start a domain.
> /me runs whois mmm.com
> Yep,  Created on..............: 1988-10-31.
> but wait, 3m.com  Created on..............: 1988-05-27.
> So was the digit as first octet a limitation with some OS or software (BIND,
> sendmail, gopher?) or do I have brain-fade?
> --
> Joe Hamelin, W7COM, Tulalip, WA, 360-474-7474

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