- tool page fact -

"Why doesn't t.d.n. have a www before it?"

The question was posed to me back in 1998. Here's the answer I sent.

Simple explanation: all machines / systems on the net have addresses. They all end in a top level domain (i.e., "com", "net", "edu"). Each domain name, then, is registered with a central database (in the US, it goes back to ICANN and root-servers.net).

I have registered "down.net" with them. What I do within down.net, as far as making other machine / system names, is up to me. Convention is that your www server, usually a machine unto itself, is given the subdomain name "www", so mine is "www.down.net." But you can split it up further: I can have a mail handling machine called "something.down.net" which be the address for another machine.

I could set up a subcompany, if I wanted, maybe "joe." Then "joe.down.net" could handle himself separately, and have a "www.joe.down.net" and so on. Anyhow, toolshed.down.net is the address of that system. It COULD be www.toolshed.down.net and so on, but I think the reason it isn't is (a) it's unnecessarily long, and (b) so that folks might actually ponder the answer to this question, and learn something. Hope that helps. I got a .net back in 1996 because .com's were so generic (even back then). They still are.

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"Your pal" Kabir Akhtar (kabir@down.net)