Chapter BC11. Setting Up a DNS Server

As I mentioned in Bonus Chapter 10, a long time ago when even I was young, the Internet (or the ARPANET as it was called in those days) was a small place with a limited number of hosts, all of which had fixed IP addresses. The mappings between those IP addresses and the actual names of those hosts were maintained in a central text file. Yes, that's right, a single text file. Everyone shared this text file (HOSTS.TXT) with everyone else by retrieving it from the Stanford Research Institute's Network Information Center (the one true NIC) every so often, and then adding their own modifications for any private local hosts and networks. However, as the ARPANET grew and more and more hosts became networked, maintaining all of this information in a single file became not only impractical, but silly.

Not only was this file long (and getting longer), but its format was only specified by convention rather than explicit decree. Luckily, the Internet/ARPANET was created by smart people, so many improvements to this model occurred in the early 1980s. For example, in March of 1982, the hosts table definition was updated with DoD Internet Host Table Specification (RFC 810). Shortly thereafter, a server function to provide individual hostname/address translations was described in RFC 811, which introduced the idea of dynamically ...

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