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To reduce the likelihood of conflict and confusion, a few top level domain names are reserved for use in private testing, as examples in documentation, and the like. In addition, a few second level domain names reserved for use as examples are documented.
This note and the document history (Document History) should be removed before publication.
2. TLDs for Testing, & Documentation Examples
3. Reserved Example Second Level Domain Names
5. Internationalization Considerations
6. Security Considerations
7. IANA Considerations
8.1. Normative References
8.2. Informative References
Appendix A. Document History
§ Author's Address
§ Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements
The global Internet Domain Name System is documented in [RFC1034] (Mockapetris, P., “Domain names - concepts and facilities,” November 1987.), [RFC1035] (Mockapetris, P., “Domain names - implementation and specification,” November 1987.), [RFC1591] (Postel, J., “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation,” March 1994.), [RFC3696] (Klensin, J., “Application Techniques for Checking and Transformation of Names,” February 2004.), and numerous additional Requests for Comments. It defines a tree of names starting with root, ".", immediately below which are top level domain names such as ".com" and ".us". Below top level domain names there are normally additional levels of names.
The key words "MAY", "RECOMMENDED", and "SHOULD" in this memo are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119] (Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” March 1997.).
There is a need for top level domain (TLD) names that can be used for creating names which, without fear of conflicts with current or future actual TLD names in the global DNS, can be used for private testing of existing DNS related code, examples in documentation, DNS related experimentation, invalid DNS names, or other similar uses.
For example, without guidance, a site might set up some local additional unused top level domains for testing of its local DNS code and configuration. Later, these TLDs might come into actual use on the global Internet. As a result, local attempts to reference the real data in these zones could be thwarted by the local test versions. Or test or example code might be written that accesses a TLD that is in use with the thought that the test code would only be run in a restricted testbed net or the example never actually run. Later, the test code could escape from the testbed or the example be actually coded and run on the Internet. Depending on the nature of the test or example, it might be best for it to be referencing a TLD permanently reserved for such purposes.
To safely satisfy these needs, four domain names are reserved as listed and described below.
".example" is RECOMMENDED for use in documentation or as examples.
".invalid" is intended for use in online construction of domain names that are sure to be invalid, and for which it is obvious at a glance that they are invalid. Applications MAY treat ".invalid" as what the name says.
The ".localhost" TLD has traditionally been statically defined in host DNS implementations as having an A record pointing to the loop back IP address and is reserved for such use. Any other use would conflict with widely deployed code which assumes this use.
".test" is RECOMMENDED for use in testing of current or new DNS related code. Applications SHOULD treat ".test" like any other TLD, a special handling could defeat the purpose of a test.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) also reserves the three second level domain names ".example.com", ".example.net", and ".example.org" which can be used in examples as explained in Section 2.1 (".example").
When TLDs offer further second level domains for examples, the TLD administrators are encouraged to publish the relevant policies in their TLD as informational RFC.
The second level domain names "nic", "whois", and "www" are often reserved or used for the purposes of the TLD administration. As with second level domains for examples this can be an issue in the case of a transfer to a new administration.
This memo contains major parts of [RFC2606] (Eastlake, D. and A. Panitz, “Reserved Top Level DNS Names,” June 1999.) written by Donald E. Eastlake and Aliza R. Panitz. John C. Klensin suggested to clarify the guidelines for examples in RFCs.
In 2007 IANA created eleven TLDs for tests of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). The A-labels and corresponding languages are listed below, see [RFC3490] (Faltstrom, P., Hoffman, P., and A. Costello, “Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA),” March 2003.) or its successor for details about IDN. Applications SHOULD treat these IDN test TLDs as explained in Section 2.4 (".test").
".xn--0zwm56d" Chinese (simplified) ".xn--11b5bs3a9aj6g" Hindi ".xn--80akhbyknj4f" Russian ".xn--9t4b11yi5a" Korean ".xn--deba0ad" Yiddish ".xn--g6w251d" Chinese (traditional) ".xn--hgbk6aj7f53bba" Persian ".xn--hlcj6aya9esc7a" Tamil ".xn--jxalpdlp" Greek ".xn--kgbechtv" Arabic ".xn--zckzah" Japanese
Confusion and conflict can be caused by the use of a current or future top level domain name in experimentation or testing, as an example in documentation, to indicate invalid names, or as a synonym for the loop back address. Test and experimental software can escape and end up being run against the global operational DNS. Even examples used "only" in documentation can end up being coded and released or cause conflicts due to later real use and the possible acquisition of intellectual property rights in such "example" names.
The reservation of several top level domain names for these purposes minimizes such confusion and conflict.
IANA reserves the TLDs ".example", ".invalid", ".localhost", ".test", and eleven IDN test TLDs as noted above. IANA reserves the second level domains ".example.com", ".example.net", and ".example.org".
IANA creates a public registry of reserved TLDs, this can be done alongside existing IANA TLD registries at the discretion of IANA. Additional reserved TLDs require IETF review as specified in [RFC5226] (Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, “Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs,” May 2008.) in conjunction with [RFC2860] (Carpenter, B., Baker, F., and M. Roberts, “Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,” June 2000.).
|[RFC2119]||Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997 (TXT, HTML, XML).|
|[RFC5226]||Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, “Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs,” BCP 26, RFC 5226, May 2008 (TXT).|
|[RFC1034]||Mockapetris, P., “Domain names - concepts and facilities,” STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987 (TXT).|
|[RFC1035]||Mockapetris, P., “Domain names - implementation and specification,” STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987 (TXT).|
|[RFC1591]||Postel, J., “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation,” RFC 1591, March 1994 (TXT).|
|[RFC2606]||Eastlake, D. and A. Panitz, “Reserved Top Level DNS Names,” BCP 32, RFC 2606, June 1999 (TXT).|
|[RFC2860]||Carpenter, B., Baker, F., and M. Roberts, “Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,” RFC 2860, June 2000 (TXT).|
|[RFC3490]||Faltstrom, P., Hoffman, P., and A. Costello, “Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA),” RFC 3490, March 2003 (TXT).|
|[RFC3696]||Klensin, J., “Application Techniques for Checking and Transformation of Names,” RFC 3696, February 2004 (TXT).|
Changes in version 00:
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