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Domain Names

IFA Proposal No. 1
Title: Domain Names
Status: Draft
Type: Standards Track
Created: 2015-01-03

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

This document is released into the public domain.

This document was authored by Hugo Landau, with input from Zach Lym, Jeremy Rand and Ryan Castellucci. This document is itself a substantive revision of the original domain names specification, which was authored by Gökhan San.

Table of Contents

Introduction

A Namecoin domain name is a domain name published under the .bit TLD. This is accomplished by storing a key-value pair in the Namecoin key-value database.

Such domain names are compatible with DNS and can be used to serve DNS data. They can also be used to serve non-DNS data such as .onion addresses for Tor.

Keys

The key of the key-value pair SHALL be an ASCII-encoded name in the form d/NAME, where NAME does not exceed 63 characters in length and matches the following case sensitive POSIX regex:

^(xn--)?[a-z0-9]+(-[a-z0-9]+)*$

Note that as per the above regex, the standard rules for domain names are enforced. Domain names MUST NOT begin or end with a hyphen, and consecutive hyphens MUST NOT appear except as permitted by the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) specification (RFC 3492).

As an additional constraint, wholly numeric names, such as d/123, are not permitted. Names which begin with a digit but which are not wholly numeric, such as d/123four are permitted. (Historically, in the ICANN DNS system, fully numeric names such as 2600.org were permitted. However such registrations are no longer allowed, although existing registrations such as 2600.org itself are grandfathered. Namecoin adopts this constraint firstly for parity with contemporary domain naming policy, and secondly to enable the future assignment of all-numeric domains to denote name epoch for secure disambiguation purposes.)

The d/ prefix identifies the Domain Names namespace within the Namecoin key namespace. Names under this prefix are reserved for use in relation to this specification and preceding versions of it. Keys not beginning with that prefix are wholly unrelated to this specification and are not required to conform to it.

The part of the name following the d/ prefix is the name which manifests in the .bit TLD. A key of d/example registers the name example.bit.

Since keys in the Namecoin key-value store are case sensitive, names MUST be in lowercase. Names with any uppercase characters SHALL be wholly ignored by compliant implementations and SHALL NOT manifest in the .bit TLD.

Values

The value of the key-value pair SHALL be a UTF-8 encoded JSON object conforming to the Domain Name Object Schema as described below. This specification therefore incorporates by reference RFC 7159, which specifies JSON.

The JSON object SHOULD be encoded as compactly as possible, without unnecessary whitespace. However, implementations MUST accept any valid JSON encoding.

No particular limit is imposed on the length of the encoded JSON value. However, the Namecoin system itself imposes limitations, which must be respected by values. Currently, values must not exceed 520 bytes in size. This limit may be increased in the future.

Notes on JSON

Probably the two most common errors in the manual construction of JSON forms is using single quotes to delimit strings and placing trailing commas in objects or arrays. While these are valid JavaScript forms, they are not valid JSON, and care must be taken to conform precisely to the specification.

The JSON specification makes provision for Unicode escape sequences in quoted strings in the form \u####, where # is a hexadecimal character. This provision of the specification is flawed because it does not permit the specification of Unicode codepoints not expressible in 16 bits. Indeed the specification states that codepoints beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane shall be encoded using the surrogate codepoints assigned for use by UTF-16. The JSON specification therefore unnecessarily inherits the legacy of UTF-16. The Unicode escape syntax MUST NOT be used except where it is necessary; namely, it is necessary where a control character which does not have an alternate escape sequence forms part of a string, as control characters as defined in the specification are forbidden from being encoded directly. However implementations MUST accept the use of such escape sequences. Where an escaped value validly expresses a codepoint beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane using UTF-16 surrogate codepoints, an implementation parsing it which uses UTF-8 or UTF-32 as its internal representation MUST immediately convert it to the appropriate surrogate-free encoding, as surrogates must not appear in a valid UTF-8 or UTF-32 code unit sequence.

The JSON specification does not specify any format for comments. For illustration purposes, this document will use JavaScript-style line comments beginning with "//" at any point on a line and running until the end of the line. Implementations MUST NOT generate or accept such comments.

The Domain Name Object Schema

A Domain Name Object SHALL possess zero or more of the following items. Where each item is present, it MUST conform with the subschema for that item as specified. The key to be used for a given item is shown first, in quotes. Each item MUST use the indicated key.

In this document, "item" refers to a key-value pair within a JSON object. object. "Value" refers to any JSON value (object, array, string, integer, null, etc.)

Except where otherwise specified, any item with a value of null SHALL be treated as being absent; that is, it will be processed as though it was not present in the object. Thus null is always a valid value for an item even though it is not explicitly mentioned herein. (See the "import" item for an example of an exception to this rule.)

Abstract Constructs

  • "map": Used to express a Domain Name Object for a subdomain of the current name.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • An object mapping zero or more subdomain names to objects.

      Each key SHALL be of one of the following forms:

      • A string containing a valid and ordinary DNS label; the key MUST be a single unqualified label and so MUST NOT contain any dots (ASCII '.').

        (Note that the label need not be a valid hostname; for example, it may contain underscores.)

      • The string "*", representing a wildcard subdomain as supported by DNS.

      • The string "". The corresponding value is treated specially. All items inside the corresponding object are processed as though they are directly present inside the object containing the "map" item containing this key (the Immediate Ancestor), but only where the Immediate Ancestor does not have present any item with the same key. In other words, items which are present in the Immediate Ancestor take precedence over the items under the map item.

      Each value SHALL be one of the following forms:

      • An object conforming to the Domain Name Object Schema.

        This is the canonical form.

      • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an object containing a single item with key "ip" and a value of an array containing that string, and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

        (Note that this form is valid only inside a "map" item; a string does not itself satisfy the Domain Name Object Schema and MUST NOT be used as a top-level construct encoded into a name value.)

      Examples:

      "map": {}
      
      "map": {
        "www": {
          "ip": "192.0.2.1"
        }
      }
      
      "map": {
        "www": "192.0.2.1"
      }
      
      "map": {                    // This is equivalent to "ip": "192.0.2.2"
        "ip": "192.0.2.2"         // Takes precedence
        "": {
          "ip": "192.0.2.1"       // Ignored
        }
      }
      
      "map": {                    // This is equivalent to "ip": "192.0.2.1"
        "": {
          "ip": "192.0.2.1"
        }
      }
      

      The following example forms are NOT valid:

      "map": []
      "map": "192.0.2.1"
      "map": {
        "$": "192.0.2.1"
      }
      "map": {
        "a.b": "192.0.2.1"
      }
      "map": {
        "www*": "192.0.2.1"
      }
      
  • "import": Used to import data from the value of another Namecoin key-value pair identified by its key. The logical contents of the Domain Name Object which contains this item shall consist of copying all values from the imported Domain Name Object into the importing Domain Name Object. However, items other than "import" items specified in the importing Domain Name Object shall take precedence, and so the importing object can override items in the imported object. The exception to this is where the specification for a specific type of item explicitly specifies an alternate merge rule, in which case that rule must be applied for items of that type.

    Except where otherwise specified, for the purposes of precedence, an item is considered to be present if it is specified in the object, regardless of the semantic nullity expressed by the value. For example, an "ip" item with an empty array as its value is considered to be present for the purposes of precedence.

    This principle is extended to the value null; this constitutes an exception to the previously stated general rule that an item with a value of null is processed equivalently to the absence of that item. Thus an item with a value of null is considered to be present for the purposes of precedence. For example, if an imported domain specifies an item type of "info", the importing domain can nullify this by adding an item type of "info" with value null.

    It is permissible for an imported object to itself import other objects. However, a limitation on the degree of recursion is imposed. The degree of recursion is an integer expressing the number of "import" items processed in the course of processing a single object at a given level. (Other "import" items may appear in "map" items, but as these are at a different level they do not count.)

    For example, the following Domain Name Object has an import recursion degree of zero:

    {}
    

    The following Domain Name Object has an import recursion degree of one:

    {"import":"d/example2"}
    // The value for d/example2 is {}
    

    The following Domain Name Object has an import recursion degree of two:

    {"import":"d/example2"}
    // The value for d/example2 is {"import":"d/example3"}
    // The value for d/example3 is {}
    

    The following Domain Name Object also has an import recursion degree of two:

    {"import":["d/example2", "d/example3"]}
    // The value for d/example2 and d/example3 is {}
    

    Implementations MUST support an import recursion degree of at least four.

    The value for this item SHALL be one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more arrays. Each such array expresses a single importation operation (though that operation may recursively give rise to others, as described above) and SHALL have at least one value, the first of which SHALL be a string expressing the name, in the Namecoin key-value store, the value of which should be imported as a Domain Name object.

      The name SHALL be in Namecoin format and not DNS format, for example "d/example". The importation process fails if the name does not exist (or is expired), or if the Domain Name Object in the value corresponding to the name is not valid or is otherwise unprocessable.

      If a second item is present in the array, it SHALL be a string and that string shall constitute the Subdomain Selector. Otherwise, the Subdomain Selector SHALL be taken to be the empty string.

      This form is the canonical form when the Subdomain Selector is explicitly specified.

      If there are more than two values in the array, any further items MUST be ignored.

      The Subdomain Selector is used to identify a location in the imported Domain Name Object which is to be merged with the current object. If the Subdomain Selector is the empty string, the entire imported Domain Name Object is merged. Otherwise, the Subdomain Selector SHALL be a sequence of DNS labels, separated by dots. (Note that the Subdomain Selector MUST NOT end in a dot.) In this case, the labels in the Subdomain Selector are processed in reverse order (i.e., in DNS order). Each label in the Subdomain Selector is used to move to the subdomain with that label, relative to the current position, until all labels in the Subdomain Selector have been processed and so the final Domain Name Object for merger has been determined.

      It is acceptable for a label in the Subdomain Selector to be "*", and this corresponds to the corresponding entry in the "map" item if it exists.

      If while processing a Subdomain Selector, a label cannot be identified in the "map" item at the current level, the label is substituted for the string "*" and the processing retried. If failure still occurs, the importation process fails.

      Any import statements at any location within a Domain Name Object being imported MUST be processed prior to processing the Subdomain Selector.

      Import statements MUST be attempted in the order they are specified in the array. For types of item without custom merge rules, this determines the precedence of the items imported; the items specified directly in the importing object take ultimate precedence, then the first imported object's items, then the second imported object's items and so on.

      Where an import statement fails, any further import statements SHOULD still be attempted.

    • An array of strings. When this form is encountered, each string in the array SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    • A string. When this form is encountered, each string in the array SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    // The following are all equivalent:
    "import": "dd/other"
    "import": ["dd/other"]
    "import": [["dd/other"]]
    "import": [["dd/other",""]]
    
    // The following are all equivalent:
    "import": ["dd/alpha", "dd/beta"]
    "import": [["dd/alpha"], ["dd/beta"]]
    "import": [["dd/alpha",""], ["dd/beta",""]]
    
    // The following demonstrates use of a subdomain selector.
    // This has the effect of importing the records which would
    // be found at domain a.b.other.bit:
    "import": [["d/other", "a.b"]]
    

DNS-Compatible Records

  • "ip": Used to specify zero or more IPv4 addresses. This item shall map to one or more DNS resource records of type "A", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more strings. Each such string SHALL contain an IPv4 address in dotted-decimal form. The address SHALL NOT use leading zeroes and whitespace SHALL NOT be used. The numeric form for IPv4 addresses MUST NOT be used.

      Note that it is NOT the role of an implementation to validate any semantics deriving from the address (e.g. globally routable, loopback, Class E).

      This is the canonical form.

    • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    "ip": []
    "ip": ["192.0.2.1"]
    "ip": ["192.0.2.1", "192.0.2.2"]
    "ip": "192.0.2.1"
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "ip": {}
    "ip": ["192.000.002.001"]
    "ip": ["192.0.2.001"]
    "ip": ["3221225985"]
    "ip": [3221225985]
    
  • "ip6": Used to specify zero or more IPv6 addresses. This item shall map to one or more DNS resource records of type "AAAA", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more strings. Each such string SHALL contain an IPv6 address in the text form as specified by RFC 4291. Each address SHOULD be encoded as compactly as possible. The alternative form which represents the last 32 bits of the address in the IPv4 dotted decimal format MAY be used. Whitespace SHALL NOT be used.

      This is the canonical form. If a canonical representation of IPv6 addresses is required, use the form specified in RFC 5952.

    • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    "ip6": []
    "ip6": ["2001::beef"]
    "ip6": ["2001::dead", "2001::beef"]
    "ip6": "2001::beef"
    "ip6": "::beef:192.0.2.1"
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "ip6": {}
    "ip6": "2001::bxxf"
    "ip6": ["::00000:beef"]
    
  • "alias": Used to specify a canonical name for which the current name is an alias. This item shall map to one DNS resource record of type "CNAME", and is semantically equivalent to that resource record.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • A string containing a DNS name. This constitutes the canonical name nominated as the target of the alias. The string MUST be a valid DNS name and SHOULD be a valid hostname.

      This is the canonical form.

    Examples:

    "alias": "example.com."
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "alias": "ex$ample.com."
    "alias": ["a.example.com.", "b.example.com."]
    
  • "translate": Used to specify a name for which the current name and all names under it are delegated. This item shall map to one DNS resource record of type "DNAME", and is semantically equivalent to that resource record.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • A string containing a DNS name. This constitutes the name nominated as the target of the delegation. The string MUST be a valid DNS name and SHOULD be a valid hostname.

      This is the canonical form.

    Examples:

    "translate": "example.com."
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "translate": "ex$ample.com."
    "translate": ["a.example.com.", "b.example.com."]
    

    WARNING: If "alias" or "translate" is used to delegate control of a domain's records to a non-Namecoin domain, the security of the domain is no greater than the security of the target domain. If you delegate control to a domain under the ICANN DNS system, you are implicitly trusting the domain, its registrar, its registry, ICANN and the ICANN DNS system in general. This does not offer the full and independent security of domain name records that Namecoin is able to provide. Consider specifying records in Namecoin directly or using NS and DS records to securely delegate via DNSSEC to nameservers you control. Barring that, the use of "alias" instead of "translate" in this use case is likely to pose a lower risk, as it does not allow the delegatee to nominate DANE records.

  • "ns": Used to specify zero or more nameservers which are authoritative for the current name and all names under it (barring further delegations thereunder). This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "NS", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    "dns" is an alias for this item. In other words, a "dns" item MUST be processed equivalently. If both a "dns" and "ns" item are present, the "dns" item MUST take precedence.

    The "dns" alias is deprecated and SHOULD NOT be used.

    The value for this item SHALL be one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more strings. Each such string SHALL contain a DNS name identifying a nameserver which is authoritative for the domain.

      The string MUST NOT be an IP address. It SHOULD be a hostname.

      This is the canonical form.

    • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    "ns": []
    "ns": ["ns1.example.com.", "ns2.example.com."]
    "ns": "ns1.example.com."
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "ns": {}
    "ns": "ns$1.example.com."
    "ns": "ns1.example.com. ns2.example.com."
    
  • "ds": Used to identify DNSSEC signing keys for a delegation as expressed by corresponding NS records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "DS", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • An array of zero or more items. Each such value shall represent a DS record, and each SHALL be an array of the following form:

      • The array SHALL contain at least four values. If it contains more than four values, only the first four are considered and the rest MUST be ignored.

      • The first value in the array SHALL be an unsigned integer expressible in 16 bits expressing the Key Tag field (RFC 4034 s. 5.1.1) of the corresponding DS record.

      • The second value in the array SHALL be an unsigned integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Algorithm field (RFC 4034 s. 5.1.2) of the corresponding DS record.

      • The third value in the array SHALL be an unsigned integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Digest Type field (RFC 4034 s. 5.1.3) of the corresponding DS record.

      • The fourth value in the array SHALL be a string containing the base64 encoding of the logical content of the Digest field (RFC 4034 s. 5.1.4) of the corresponding DS record.

        The textual expression of this field in RFC 4034 uses hex encoding. Therefore this field must be converted to the correct form by decoding it and reencoding it using base64.

    Examples:

    "ds": []
    "ds": [[12345,8,1,"EfatjsUqKYSrqv18O1FlA3hcIHI="]]
    "ds": [[12345,8,1,"EfatjsUqKYSrqv18O1FlA3hcIHI="],[12345,8,2,"LXEWQrcmsEQBYnyp+6wy9chTD7GQPMTbAiWHF5IaSIE="]]
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "ds": {}
    "ds": [[]]
    "ds": [12345,8,1,"11f6ad8ec52a2984abaafd7c3b516503785c2072"]
    

    The following example form is literally valid, however the Digest field has been erroneously expressed in hexadecimal format rather than base64 format. Since the field length is a multiple of four characters this is valid base64. Note that the decoded digest field will be of the wrong length for the given Digest Type. However, it is not the role of implementations to validate this and implementations MUST NOT do so.

    "ds": [[12345,8,1,"11f6ad8ec52a2984abaafd7c3b516503785c2072"]]
    
  • "srv": Used to identity zero or more service location records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "SRV", as defined in RFC 2782, and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • An array of zero or more values. Each such item shall represent a SRV record, and SHALL be of the following form:

      • An array of at least four values.

        The first value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 16 bits expressing the Priority of the SRV record.

        The second value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 16 bits expressing the Weight of the SRV record.

        The third value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 16 bits expressing the Port Number of the SRV record.

        The fourth vaule SHALL be a string expressing a DNS name expressing the Target of the SRV record.

        Any additional values in the array beyond the first four MUST be ignored.

  • "tls": Used to identify zero or more TLS anchor records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "TLSA", as defined in RFC 6698, and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • An array of zero or more items. Each such item shall represent a TLSA record, and SHALL be of the following form:

      • An array of at least four values.

        The first value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Certificate Usage Field of the TLSA record (RFC 6698 s. 2.1.1).

        The second value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Selector Field of the TLSA record (RFC 6698 s. 2.1.2).

        The third value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Matching Type Field of the TLSA record (RFC 6698 s. 2.1.3).

        The fourth value SHALL be a string containing the base64 encoding of the logical encoding of the Certificate Association Data Field of the TLSA record (RFC 6698 s. 2.1.4).

        The textual expression of this field in RFC 6698 uses hex encoding. Therefore this field must be converted to the correct form by decoding it and reencoding it using base64.

        Any additional values in the array beyond the first four MUST be ignored.

  • "txt": Used to identify zero or more text data records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "TXT", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    It is an important subtlety to the specification for the DNS TXT record type that the TXT format actually expresses a sequence of one or more text strings, each of which must not exceed 255 bytes in length.

    The most common use of the TXT record type appears to consider such records to logically represent the string formed by concatenating those component strings. For example, DomainKeys, which uses TXT records to store signing key identities in DNS, does this, as the key data may exceed 255 bytes in length.

    The value for this item SHALL be of one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more items. Each such item shall represent a TXT record, and SHALL take one of the following forms:

      • An array of one or more strings. Each such string SHALL NOT exceed 255 bytes in its UTF-8 representation.

      • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array of one or more strings, such that all but possibly the last string in the array is 255 bytes in the length of its UTF-8 representation, and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

        In other words, the string is chopped up so that it can be expressed as a sequence of strings each up to 255 bytes in length, such that the concatenation of those strings forms the original string. This is the behaviour expected by many formats which use TXT records, such as DomainKeys.

        If the sequence of strings logically represented by this record consists of a sequence of strings of length 255 bytes optionally terminated by a string with a length of less than 255 bytes, then this form is the canonical form. Otherwise, the above form (the array-of-arrays form) is the canonical form.

    • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what was encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    "txt": "This is a string."
    "txt": ["This is a string.", "Another string."]
    "txt": [["This", "is", "a", "string."], "Another string."]
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "txt": {}
    "txt": ["This is a string.", 1]
    "txt": [["(a string longer than 255 bytes)"]]
    
  • MX: MX records cannot be specified directly. Instead, where a domain name provides a service using the "srv" item type for a service at the relative owner name of _smtp._tcp, implementations generating DNS records MUST generate an MX record for each endpoint specified for that service which specifies a port number of 25. Any _smtp._tcp SRV record with a port number other than 25 is ignored. The MX record shall be constructed using the priority and target fields of the SRV record. The weight and port fields shall be discarded.

    Implementations MUST still make the SRV records available in addition to the MX records.

  • "loc": Used to identify zero or more physical location records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "LOC", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be of one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more values. Each such value SHALL be a string conforming to the textual format specified in RFC 1876 s. 3 for the type-specific data.

    • A string. Where this form is encountered, it SHALL be substituted with an array containing that string and be processed as though that was what as encountered, as per the above form.

    Examples:

    "loc": []
    "loc": "52 22 23.000 N 4 53 32.000 E -2.00m 0.00m 10000m 10m"
    

    The following example forms are NOT valid:

    "loc": "10 Downing Street"
    
  • "sshfp": Used to identify zero or more SSH server key fingerprints. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records of type "SSHFP", and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be one of the following forms:

    • An array of zero or more items. Each such value shall represent a SSHFP record, and SHALL be of the following form:

      • An array of at least three values.

        The first value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Algorithm field of the SSHFP record (RFC 4255 s. 3.1.1).

        The second value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 8 bits expressing the Fingerprint Type field of the SSHFP record (RFC 4255 s. 3.1.2).

        The third value SHALL be a string containing the base64 encoding of the Fingerprint field of the SSHFP record (RFC 4255 s. 3.1.3).

        The textual expression of this field in RFC 4255 uses hex encoding. Therefore this field must be converted to the correct form by decoding it and reencoding it using base64.

        Any additional values in the array beyond the first three MUST be ignored.

    Examples:

    "sshfp": []
    "sshfp": [[2,1,"EjRWeJq83vZ4kBI0VniavN72eJA="]]  // conversion of example at RFC 4255 s. 3.1.2
    

Administrative Constructs

  • "info": This optional item can be used to provide WHOIS-like information.

    The value for this item SHALL be of one of the following forms:

    • An object containing zero or more of the following items:

      • "r": A registrant. This represents the “legal” owner of the domain. The value SHALL comply with the WHOIS Entity Schema as described in this document.

      • "rr": A sponsoring registrar. This represents an intermediary which manages the domain registration. The value SHALL comply with the WHOIS Entity Schema as described in this document.

      • "a": An administrative contact. This represents the administrative operator of the domain. The value SHALL comply with the WHOIS Entity Schema as described in this document.

      • "t": A technical contact. This is the appropriate point of contact for nameserver or other DNS-related issues. The value SHALL comply with the WHOIS Entity Schema as described in this document.

    • A value directly complying with the WHOIS Entity Schema. This can be used where a single entity takes on the "r", "a" and "t" roles.

Experimental DNS-Compatible Item Types

  • "o": Used to opaquely express arbitrary DNS records. This item shall map to zero or more DNS resource records, and is semantically equivalent to that set of resource records.

    The value for this item SHALL be of the following form:

    • An array of zero or more values. Each such value SHALL represent a DNS resource record, and SHALL be of the following form:

      • An array of at least two values.

        The first value SHALL be a non-negative integer expressible in 16 bits expressing the resource record type number of the DNS resource record. For example, specifying 16 would mean a TXT record.

        The second value SHALL be a string containing base64-encoded data representing the type-specific resource record data in its binary form.

        Any additional values in the array shall be ignored.

    Each opaque DNS resource record expressed MUST be processed only where the type of resource record it expresses is not one of the prohibited types.

    The prohibited types are:

    • NS (2) -- Use "ns".
    • CNAME (5) -- Use "alias".
    • SOA (6)
    • DNAME (39) -- Use "translate".
    • DS (43) -- Use "ds".
    • RRSIG (46)
    • NSEC (47)
    • NSEC3 (50)

    Opaque items SHOULD NOT be used where the DNS resource record types they represent can be represented by a non-opaque items described in this document, even when the resource record type in question is not a prohibited type.

    Discussion: This item type is experimental. It is possible that allowing arbitrary DNS resource record types to be placed in the .bit zone may constitute a security risk. Since no currently operated public TLD registry allows arbitrary records to be placed in their zone (only NS and DS records and A/AAAA glue records), there is little data on the practical implications of this mode. Therefore the prohibited types list is specified to provide at least minimal protection against resource record types with particularly infrastructural significance. All of the prohibited types listed above are processed specially by DNS resolvers and/or authoritative servers.

Interpretation of DNS Names

Some values in some item types, such as the value of the "alias" item type, express DNS names, domain names or hostnames (which are both subsets of the set of valid DNS names).

Except where otherwise specified, these names MAY be either relative or fully qualified. A fully qualified name MUST be terminated with a dot ("."); where this is not done, a name is relative and MUST be interpreted according to the following rules.

As an exception to the normal rules of what constitutes a valid label, the last label of a relative name may be "@". If this is the case, the rest of the name MUST be interpreted relative to the name apex. The name apex is the domain name of the form NAME.bit., where NAME is the Namecoin domain name under which the current object ultimately lies. Thus for name d/example, the relative name foo.@ is equivalent to the value foo.example.bit.

Where a relative name does not end with the label "@", it MUST be interpreted as a relative name relative to the current object according to the following rules:

  • If the current object is the top-level object (that is, the object encoded directly into the value of the Namecoin key-value pair representing the domain name), then the relative name is interpreted relative to the name apex, and so foo.@ and foo have identical meanings.

  • If the current object is not the top-level object (for example, it is the value of an item in a "map" item), the relative name MUST be interpreted relative to the parent object (that is, the object containing the "map" item).

For example, in the following example Domain Name Object, foo.bar is resolved to foo.bar.@.

{
  "map": {
    "www": {
      "alias": "foo.bar"
    }
  }
}

In the following Domain Name Object, foo.bar is resolved to foo.bar.baz.@.

{
  "map": {
    "baz": {
      "map": {
        "www": {
          "alias": "foo.bar"
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

In all cases, the name MUST constitute a valid DNS name after it is resolved and thus becomes fully qualified. In particular, this means that the resulting name MUST NOT exceed 255 characters.

The WHOIS Entity Schema

A value complies with the WHOIS Entity Schema if and only if it takes one of the following forms:

  • An object complying with the rules for an object as would be encoded into the value of a name in the id namespace. The object MUST comply with the rules for objects as encoded into name values in that namespace.

  • A string beginning with "id/" and thereby identifying the Namecoin name of an identity in the id namespace. The identifier ends at the first whitespace character, if any, and anything that follows is a freeform string which may be used to provide additional information.

    The string up to and excluding the first whitespace character (or the entire string, if there is no whitespace) MUST be a valid name in the id namespace as per the rules of that namespace. The rules of that namespace SHALL be used in representing the entity.

  • A freeform string describing the entity arbitrarily. The string MUST NOT begin with "id/".

Definitions of Valid Names

This specification refers to "DNS names", "domain names" and "hostnames". The set of domain names and the set of hostnames are both subsets of the set of valid DNS names.

A string is a valid DNS name if:

  • it consists of a sequence of zero or more valid DNS labels separated by ASCII '.' and optionally terminated by a single '.' which denotes that it is fully qualified, and;

  • it does not exceed 255 octets in length, not counting any trailing '.'.

What constitutes a valid DNS label is beyond the scope of this specification. (After all, the rules have changed over time; see the now deprecated RFC 2874). However, the set of valid DNS labels MUST contain the set of DNS labels which comply with the following:

  • it matches the POSIX regexp ^([a-z0-9_]|[a-z0-9_][a-z0-9_-]*[a-z0-9_])$, and;

  • it does not exceed 63 octets in length.

A domain name is a particular kind of DNS name following stricter rules. Namely, every label in a domain name MUST be a valid domain label. A string is a valid domain label if it complies with the following:

  • it matches the POSIX regexp ^(xn--)?([a-z0-9]+-)*[a-z0-9]+$, and;

  • it is a valid DNS label.

A hostname is a particular kind of DNS name following stricter rules. Namely, every label in a hostname MUST be a valid host label. A string is a valid host label if it complies with the following:

  • it does not contain any underscores, and;

  • it is a valid DNS label.

Names of all kinds SHOULD always be specified in lowercase.

Item Suppression Rules

In some cases, the presence of an item means that certain other item types MUST NOT be present. If such items are present, they are invalid and MUST be ignored. These are termed suppressed items.

Item suppression occurs in the following circumstances:

  • One or more "ns" items are present. All items at or below that level which map to DNS resource record types MUST be suppressed, except for the following items, which MUST NOT be suppressed:

    • The "ns" items themselves (but not any "ns" items below that level.)

    • Any "ds" items at the level of the "ns" item.

    • Any items below the "ns" items which constitute necessary glue items. A necessary glue item is any "ip" or "ip6" item which is at a level referenced by the "ns" items.

      For example:

      {
        "ns": ["ns1", "ns2"],
        "map": {
          "ns1": {
            "ip":  ["192.0.2.1"],
            "ip6": ["::beef"]
          },
          "ns2": {
            "ip":  ["192.0.2.2"],
            "ip6": ["::cafe"]
          },
          "ns3": {
            "ip":  ["192.0.2.3"],
            "ip6": ["::1234"]
          }
        }
      }
      

      In this case the "ip" and "ip6" items at ns1 and ns2 are necessary glue items and are preserved. However ns3 is not a necessary glue item and so is not preserved.

  • The "translate" item is present. All other items at or below that level which map to DNS resource record types MUST be suppressed.

  • The "alias" item is present. All other items at that level which map to DNS resource record types MUST be suppressed.

The suppression rules MUST be processed in the above order. That is, "ns" items MUST always take precedence over "translate" items, and "translate" items MUST always take precedence over "alias" items.

The suppression rules MUST NOT be applied to items which are not DNS-mappable. For example, the "info" and "tor" item types are not DNS-mappable, so they are never suppressed.

Note that some mode of item precedence is necessary in order to ensure that only valid DNS resource record sets are generated. This document does not bother to reiterate the various subtleties of DNS which apply with regard to the DNS-mappable items defined herein; however, conforming implementations which convert Domain Name Objects to DNS resource record sets MUST ensure that the resource record sets they generate are well-formed and comply with all applicable DNS rules and semantics. This is important as Domain Name Objects are untrusted data and MUST NOT be permitted to prejudice the integrity or validity of the zone as a whole.

The suppression rules above are not necessarily the only necessary step in ensuring that generated resource record sets are valid; it is essential that implementers have a good understanding of DNS and its edge cases when implementing the specification, as there are doubtless other potential issues not listed here. Rather, the above suppression rules are specified to ensure that all implementations convert input Domain Name Objects which are not fully valid to DNS resource record sets in an equivalent, and thus compatible, way.

Error Recovery Considerations

Any domain name system has the capacity to operate as critical infrastructure. It is important that implementations not penalise names excessively for partial invalidity in their values. Where an error is encountered, it should be silently ignored or logged and an attempt to process the remainder of the object should be made.

For example, in the following example an invalid IP address is specified:

{
  "ip": ["site", "192.0.2.1"]
}

The "ip" item is not validly constructed, and so the Domain Name Object itself is not validly constructed. However, a resilient implementation will consider the domain to at least have the IP address (A record) of 192.0.2.1. This demonstrates a general principle in processing Domain Name Objects: semantic or form errors in an item SHOULD NOT penalize the processing of other items, and items which express multiple conceptual values SHOULD have as many of those values processed as possible.

Because errors SHOULD NOT cause processing to stop, the outcome of processing SHOULD NOT vary based on whether the erroneous values are leading or trailing with regard to the valid data.

Definition of Base64

All references to base64 encoding in this document refer to the base64 encoding scheme described in RFC 4648. Base64 encoding and decoding MUST be performed as specified therein. Encoded base64 strings MUST be in canonical form as specified in RFC 4648 s. 3.5. The standard alphabet shall be used, as described in RFC 4648 s. 4. The "URL-safe" encoding MUST NOT be used.

Previously Deprecated Item Types

The following item types were already deprecated before this document. They remain deprecated and SHOULD NOT be used.

  • "fingerprint": This was used to express a certificate fingerprint for a service provided at a domain. It is deprecated in favour of the "tls" item type.

Newly Deprecated Item Types

The following item types are deprecated by this document and SHOULD NOT be used.

  • "tls": A previous format for the "tls" item type was proposed which strips out some of the fields incorporated in the TLSA DNS record type. Since this precludes parity with DNS, use of this format is highly undesirable.

    As of writing, just 14 domains are attempting to make use of the (old) "tls" format. Of those domains, only six do so correctly, one of which has other configuration issues; two erroneously specify integers and not strings for the port number, and six appear to use an even older format:

    "tls": { "sha1": ["12:34:56:AB:CD:EF:..."], "enforce": "self" }
    
  • "service": Importation occlusion is determined by (owner name, type). The use of null items to occlude when it is desired to suppress a given item type in imported data without specifying any substitute records, i.e. to occlude imported data with a set of zero records of the given owner name and type.

    The "service" item type is ambiguous in its expression of the empty set, because they express records for more than one owner name.

    For example, suppose name dd/example expresses a service _http._tcp. An importing name d/example can override this by expressing its own service _http._tcp, but cannot occlude _http._tcp service to the empty set. (The SRV specification allows the use of the endpoint name . to denote a service which is unavailable, but this inhibits hostname fallback, so this is not semantically equivalent to having no SRV records.)

    For this reason, the "service" item type (and the design of item types incorporating owner names into the value in general) is deprecated. Use the new "srv" item type instead.

  • "email": This is nominally intended to specify an e. mail address for insertion into the hostmaster field of a SOA record. However, this assumes that each .bit domain will constitute its own zone and thus have a SOA record. This is unworkable since many such domains may simply delegate to another nameserver via the "ns" item type and two zone apexes cannot occur at the same name.

    ICANN TLDs are operated as a single zone containing NS, DS and glue records. This is likely to be a preferable mode of operation. Thus the "email" item type has little use.

    Even if zone-per-domain operation is used, the SOA hostmaster field is of such obscure and minimal utility that it is unlikely to be of much interest. Superior information can be obtained by WHOIS information provided by the "info" item type, or via the standard e. mail address of hostmaster@, which should always be supported anyway.

  • "spf": Attempts to transition to the use of a special SPF DNS resource record type for the purposes of publishing SPF information have mostly failed. SPF TXT records outnumber SPF data published in SPF records. Since all implementations must support SPF in TXT records, there is little advantage to the use of the SPF resource record type. In fact, further standards developments such as DomainKeys use TXT records to store their information.

    As of writing, no domain name registered in the name database uses this item type.

  • "delegate": The "import" item type provides a superset of the functionality of "delegate". Further, support for "import" is as of writing greater than support for "delegate", which is negligible. Thus, the "delegate" item type is deprecated.

Possible Future Directions

  • msgpack encoding: Aside from the more compact encoding, an advantage of msgpack is its support for binary strings, both in terms of efficient encoding (so no base64) and the semantic distinction. (Since JSON supports only strings, there is no schema-free way to distinguish between a logical text string and a logical binary string represented as a base64-encoded JSON string.)

  • Compression: Since values are not long, anything heavier than zlib is likely to be counterproductive. Thus if compression were supported, the choice would be between zlib and lighter formats such as Snappy or LZ4.

Changelog

  • 20150516: Deprecated "service" and specified a new "srv" item type to resolve occlusion ambiguity bug. The "tls" item type has been modified correspondingly.