DNS is 25 years old!

Oct 28, 2008
In November, one of the critical protocols that has made the modern Internet possible and frankly accessible for the masses is turning 25 years old. Back in Nov 1983, RFC 882 and RFC 883 were released and laid out the basic framework of the DNS system. Several other RFCs were to follow but those first two started the system. Back in 1984 with a DARPA grant, 4 Berkeley students developed the first Unix based DNS service called BIND (which stood for Berkeley Internet Name(d) Domain). After 25 years, the DNS protocol is still going strong and has served as the backbone to the modern Internet.

Before DNS, each computer had to use a HOSTS file to resolve the name of a system to its numeric address. As many of you know, that HOSTS file still exists on most systems and can be use to either trump DNS lookups or to provide resolution if DNS is not available. With DNS, you didn't need to have a massive HOSTS file to find other servers on the net, you could simply query up your local DNS server. This flexibility allowed for the explosive growth of the Internet, and as a result the DNS system is consider by many to be the largest distributed database in the world.

If 25 years seems like a long time, bare in mind the modern car is essentially over 100 years old and the wet-cell battery that is in your car is over 150 years old. Both of which have completely changed the world we live in. The Internet seems to be having a similar impact, but it's still a very young technology.

So happy birthday and let us hope the next 25 years are as amazing as the first.

By the way, the World Wide Web will be 20 years old in March 2009.


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