Skip to main content

New gTLD Dotless Domain Names Prohibited

At its meeting on 13 August 2013, the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) adopted a resolution affirming that "dotless domain names" are prohibited. Dotless domain names are those that consist of a single label (e.g., http://example, or mail@example). Dotless names would require the inclusion of, for example, an A, AAAA, or MX, record in the apex of a TLD zone in the DNS (i.e., the record relates to the TLD-string itself).

In addition to public comments on dotless domain names, the NGPC considered the security and stability risks associated with dotless domain names highlighted in the following papers:

  • On 23 February 2012, the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) published SAC 053: SSAC Report on Dotless Domains [PDF, 183 KB]. In this report, the SSAC stated that dotless domains would not be universally reachable and recommended strongly against their use. As a result, the SSAC recommended that the use of DNS resource records such as A, AAAA, and MX in the apex of a Top-Level Domain (TLD) should be contractually prohibited where appropriate, and strongly discouraged in all cases.
  • On 10 July 2013 the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) released a statement on dotless domain names, recommending against the use of dotless domain names for TLDs.
  • On 29 July 2013 Carve Systems delivered a report on dotless domain names, which was commissioned by ICANN. Consistent with the SSAC report, Carve's report on dotless domain names [PDF, 1.02 MB] identifies security and stability issues.

When adopting its resolution, the NGPC considered the security and stability risks identified in these papers, as well as the impracticality of mitigating these risks. Based on the NGPC resolution, ICANN does not plan to pursue any additional studies on the subject.

More Announcements
Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."