Domain names play a key role on the Internet, as their function is to translate IP addresses from numerical series into something easy to remember. It’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t used, but domain names weren’t the norm until the 1980s. As part of Internet month, we want to go through the history of these key elements of our daily lives.
ARPANET and domain names
ARPANET was a computer network created by the Department of Defense of the United States (DOD) to use for communication between the different academic and state institutions. This network, published in 1967, would eventually become the Internet. The ARPANET at the beginning had many conflicts in communicating between the different computers connected to its network, after several years of testing they managed to solve these problems by assigning it a domain name system (DNS).
The domain name system allows the relationship tables between a numerical address (today known as an IP address) and the domain name to be distributed and synchronized throughout the entire network, changing dynamically and automatically.
The different domain extensions
Paul Mockapetris created a hierarchical system of levels, in the same way, chapters in a book are. Each of the hierarchical labels exposed to each device would be composed of two elements: the domain name and the extension. For example, in the case of news.registration.gt “news.registration” is the name and “.gt” the extension.
In 1985 there were six different types of extensions, intended to identify the general use of the domain:
- .com (Commercial Use Sites)
- .net (network infrastructure sites)
- .org (Organization Sites)
- .gov (Government Agency Sites)
- .mil (Military Agency Sites)
- .edu (sites of educational institutes)
These domain names and their use remain in use. Although some have special restrictions depending on the category to which they belong, such as .gov
With the popularization of the DNS system and the exponential growth of the Internet, it was necessary to create an organization that manages and registers all these names and unifies the protocol, so the IANA was born.
Years later, it would be replaced by ICANN, the organization dedicated to managing the substitution of domain names.
.gt domain names
The Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) requested the IANA in the early 1990s to assign it the domain name: uvg.edu. Since the UVG was the first institution to connect to the Internet, it was offered to manage the country code top-level domain name for Guatemala. Then, the network had a purely scientific/academic approach, so various universities outside the US fulfilled this role.
In 1992 the IANA delegation of administration of the .gt became official. During this research and development environment, where the relationship was between colleagues, it was not necessary to create any documentation to record it.
Although Domain Names have evolved to suit our needs, they can be hard to understand, to help you find out more about their function here.
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