Alternative DNS root

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In addition to the Internet's main DNS root (currently consisting of 13 nominal root nameservers working in agreement with ICANN), several organizations operate alternative DNS roots (often referred to as alt roots). Each alternative root has its own set of root nameservers and its own set of top-level domains (TLDs).

The .biz TLD created by Pacific Root was in operation before ICANN proposed running .biz, and at least one of the alternative root servers resolves .biz to Pacific Root's. There are .biz domain names that exist in different roots and point to different IP addresses. The possibility of such conflicts, and their potential for destabilizing the Internet, is the main source of controversy surrounding alt roots. Many of the alternate roots try to coordinate with each other, but many do not - and they have no conflict resolution procedure between them.

The Internet Architecture Board has spoken out strongly against alternate roots in RFC 2826, "IAB Technical Comment on the Unique DNS Root".

Alt roots can in general be divided into two groups; those run for idealistic or ideological reasons, and those run as profit-making enterprises.

Whilst technically trivial to set up, actually running a reliable root server network in the long run is a serious undertaking, requiring multiple servers to be kept running 24/7 in geographically diverse locations. During the dot-com boom, some alt-root providers believed that there were substantial profits to be made from providing alternative top-level domains. Only a small proportion of ISPs actually use any of the zones served by alt-root operators, generally sticking to the ICANN-specified root servers. This in turn led to the commercial failure of several alternative DNS root providers.

List of alternative root zones

Among the most well-known alt-root zones and domains are:

  • ORSN Open Root Server Network
    • Full compatible with the ICANN root zone and mainly located in the European area
  • Open Root Server Confederation (ORSC)
    • The ORSC root zone is too large to be fully quoted here.
  • OpenNIC [1]
    • .glue -- root server administration
    • .indy -- independent news
    • .geek -- anything geeky
    • .null -- miscellaneous non-commercial individual sites
    • .oss -- Open Source Software
    • .parody -- parodies
    • .fur -- furry fans and furry people charter
  • AlterNIC (stopped in 1997)
    • .exp --
    • .llc --
    • .lnx --
    • .ltd --
    • .med --
    • .nic --
    • .noc --
    • .porn --
    • .xxx --
  • eDNS (stopped in 1998??)
    • .biz -- General business use
    • .corp -- For use by corporations
    • .fam -- For and about Family
    • .k12 -- For and about Kids
    • .npo -- Non-profit organizations
    • .per -- Personal Domain Name services
    • .web -- Web-based sites (ie: web pages)
  • Iperdome (stopped in 1999)
    • .per -- Personal Domain Name services
    • see the announcement
    • later the TLDs changed to:
      • .biz -- General business use
      • .corp -- For use by corporations
      • .gay -- For and about the Gay Community
      • .k12 -- For and about Kids
      • .npo -- Non-profit organizations
      • .pol -- Related to Poland and Polish organizations
      • .web -- Web-based sites (ie: web pages)
  • Pacific Root (many TLDs, not all listed here)
    • .ais --
    • .bio --
    • .cal --
    • .ind --
    • .job --
    • .lib --
    • .npo --
    • .ppp --
    • .sat --
    • .www --
    • .biz --
    • .etc --
    • .men --
    • .ngo --
    • .not --
  • New.Net
    • .shop --
    • .travel -- conflicts with ICANN-sanctioned TLD
    • .tech --
    • .kids --
    • .love -- *the dot love company remains a genuine and unique proposal for ".love" for submission to ICANN as an sTLD
    • .church --
    • .game --
    • .mp3 --
    • .med --
    • .xxx --
    • .club --
    • .inc --
    • .law --
    • .family --
    • .sport --
  • UnifiedRoot
    • effectively usurps all existing TLDs, at $1000 a piece (plus annual fees)
    • See UnifiedRoot [Incorrect to say that Unifiedroot "usurps" all existing TLDs; in fact, on its website, unifiedroot specifically states that it has designed its servers to resolve all ICANN approved TLDs.]
  • "the only alternative root" - the dot love company is based in part on the ideas of Dr. Masaru Emoto (featured on the film What the Bleep Do We Know?), having already explicitly endorsed this project. The Dot Love Project wants to spread more love to the world through alternative domains, chiefly the following terms (some of which are already mirrored above):
    • .love
    • .thanks (this term was specifically requested by Dr. Emoto)
    • .joy
    • .peace
    • .patience
    • .kind / .kindness
    • .gentle
    • .faith
    • .self
    • .yuck
    • .zen
    • .spirit
    • .wise
    • .truth
    • etc.
  • dotBERLIN - .berlin is an upcoming top level domain (TLD).

See also

External links