Domain Name System FAQ

Q. What is a domain name?

A. Any computer that is connected to the Internet has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This unique address, or number, is in the form of, where xxx is an integer between 1 and 255. This number identifies the computer and the network to which it is connected.

IP addresses are easy for computers to use, but they are difficult for people to remember. Imagine if every time you wanted to visit MOREnet’s website, you had to remember, the IP address of MOREnet’s Web server. Remembering more than a few IP addresses would be difficult.

To simplify this problem, easy-to-remember aliases called domain names and host names were created, and a Domain Name System (DNS) was designed to translate these names into IP addresses. DNS servers reside all over the world, and they perform the tedious task of translating requests with speed and precision. As a result, you must only remember alphanumeric names such as to communicate with computers on the Internet.

An added advantage of domain names and the DNS is that computers can move within networks in an almost transparent fashion. For example, the IP address of a computer can change, but the alphanumeric name can remain the same. As long as the IP address change is noted in a DNS server for proper name-to-IP address translation, users will be able to communicate with the computer regardless of its location or IP address.

Q. What is the format of a domain name?

A. Domain names are hierarchical and consist of at least two parts: the top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain. For example, in the domain name, net is the TLD and more is the second-level domain. The TLD names describe general categories of organizations as detailed in RFC 1480 and RFC 1591. You may be familiar with TLD names, including .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org and .net TLDs that appear in URLs. Other TLDs include two-letter country codes, including the .us TLD for domain names within the United States. The two-letter country code format, detailed in RFC 1480, typically follow a political structure. The .us domain has grown significantly in recent years to serve federal, state and city government agencies, schools, libraries and many other organizations that serve the public. Second-level domains may be registered at the discretion of a domain registration authority, such as Network Solutions.

As a courtesy to the Internet community, domain name applicants should review RFC 1480 and RFC 1591, and then work with a registration authority to ensure that a proposed domain name is properly categorized. Some registration authorities do not perform background checks to ensure that organizations register within the correct TLDs and/or second-level domains. For example, some registration authorities register domains in the .net TLD, but the organizations that use the domain names are not network providers. However, MOREnet strictly enforces the policies detailed in RFC 1480 and RFC 1591, and insists that any domain it registers is properly categorized.

Please note that registrars do not arbitrate the rights to domain names. Although a registrar may register a domain name for you, use of the domain name may be subject to applicable laws, including those concerning trademarks and intellectual property.

Q. How is an Internet address translated to an IP address?

A. The DNS is a set of protocols and databases that provide domain name-to-IP address translation and vice versa. When a domain is registered with a registration authority, the IP addresses of at least two DNS servers are associated with the domain. DNS servers are distributed throughout the world, and they contain the software and hardware that provide the translation. MOREnet maintains several DNS servers that provide name-to-IP address resolution for its customers.

When you configure a workstation’s TCP/IP settings, you specify the IP address of at least one DNS server. When you request a connection to an URL with software like a Web browser or an FTP client, your workstation’s TCP/IP software contacts your DNS server via its IP address and request the translation. This communication is transparent to you, the workstation user.

Q. What is the WWW in WWW.MORE.NET?

A. An additional translation occurs when a DNS server translates a URL to an IP address. The administrator of every domain may register host names that provide a service within that domain. The domain administrator must ask the name server administrator to register the domain’s hosts within the DNS server’s configuration.

In a URL, the host name is appended to the left of the domain name. The combination of a host and domain name is typically called a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN). For example, in, www is the host name, and is the domain name. When a system requests IP translation for, MOREnet’s DNS server translates the FQDN into an IP address. In this case, the DNS server translates the FQDN into the IP address for MOREnet’s Web server. Likewise, MOREnet’s DNS server translates into the IP address of MOREnet’s FTP server.

Q. Why is MOREnet involved in the domain name registration process?

A. MOREnet has been delegated responsibility of many subdomains by the administrator(s) of the .us top-level domain. These include,, and, to name a few. Many of MOREnet’s customers can register domain names within these subdomains, including community colleges, K-12 schools, libraries and technical/vocational school. As a delegate, MOREnet is responsible for ensuring that new domain names follow the conventions identified in RFC 1480 and RFC 1591. When a customer requests domain name registration through MOREnet, MOREnet reviews the request and ensures that the domain name follows standard Internet conventions before the request is submitted to a domain registration authority. MOREnet is not involved with domain name registration for other subdomains (.com, .org, .net, .edu).

To register a domain name, you must have access to at least two name servers that will support your domain. Most of MOREnet’s customers use MOREnet’s DNS servers because they do not operate their own DNS servers or interact with other network providers that operate DNS servers. Before these customers may register a domain, they must get permission from MOREnet to use its DNS servers. In addition, the DNS servers must be configured to support the domain once it is established by a domain registration authority.

When a domain is registered, contacts must be identified for administrative, technical and billing purposes. MOREnet can assist customers as the technical contact for their domain names.

Q. What characters are valid in a domain name?

A. Letters and numbers are always valid. You may also use hyphens (-), but they may not begin or end your domain name. Spaces and special characters, such as exclamation points (!) and underscores (_), may not be used.

Q. My institution is a K-12 school. May I register a domain within the .edu top-level domain (i.e.,

A. No. Domain registration authorities must follow the conventions specified in RFC 1480 and RFC 1591. According to RFC 1480, the .edu TLD is reserved for colleges and universities. Missouri’s K-12 schools must register in the domain.

Q. My institution is a community college. May I register a domain within the .edu top-level domain (i.e.,

A. Formerly the .edu TLD was reserved for four year colleges and universities. The new requirements, along with information about transitioning to the new system, can be found on the website of the new .edu domain administrator, Educause. All rules governing the .edu domain will remain in place, except for the addition of accredited two-year colleges. Proof of accreditation is required at the time of registration.

For .edu domains MOREnet is able to provide technical support and zone file hosting, but the administrative task of applying for an .edu TLD should be done by the organization. If the organization wants MOREnet to host the DNS information, a representative should contact MOREnet and MOREnet technical support will assist with any technical questions.

Q. How do I register a domain through MOREnet?

A.Log in to MyMOREnet and select Domain Name Services, or

  • Contact MOREnet Technical Support by phone or e-mail.

Q. Are there resources that further explain domain names, DNS and other terms used in this section?

A. There are many resources on the Web that detail these topics.