A history of DNS

In the 1960s, the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, and later DARPA) began funding an experimental wide area computer network called the ARPAnet.

The ARPAnet used a centrally administered file called HOSTS.TXT which held all name-to-address mapping for each host computer connected to the ARPAnet.

Since there were only a handful of host computers at the start, HOSTS.TXT worked well.

When the ARPAnet moved to the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite of protocols and become known as the Internet, the population of the network exploded. HOSTS.TXT became plagued with problems, namely:

  • traffic and load
  • name collisions
  • consistency

A replacement for the HOSTS.TXT file was needed. The goal was to create a system that solved the problems inherent in a unified host table system.

The new system should allow local administration of data and also make that data globally available.

In 1984, the architecture of a new system called Domain Name System (DNS) was designed and is the basis of the DNS service used today on the Internet.

DNS is a distributed database that allows local administration of the segments on the overall database.

Data in each segment of the database are available across the entire network through a client-server scheme consisting of name servers and resolvers.

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