30 September 2019

Last week Howard Eland, Senior Director, DNS Infrastructure Group at Afilias US came to visit us in the Afilias Australia Melbourne office. During his time here, Howard gave us a rundown on all things DNS and after learning more about how it all works, today’s blog post provides an overview of DNS delegation  in .au.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for ‘Domain Name System’ and as Howard explains, it is the method by which we map names, such as “example.id.au” into computer addresses such as 172.16.21.3. When you type “example.id.au” into a browser, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will immediately look for the IP address of the site you are looking for. It will ask the closest .au directory resource (a “nameserver”) for the address, and then route your request to the server located at the corresponding IP address.

“For .au, there are now authoritative nameservers in every state in Australia, so regardless of where you are in the country, you’ll get an instant response. This means your web pages will load faster, there is more redundancy in the infrastructure and more stability in .au in general.”

Understanding DNS delegation

As further explained by Howard, DNS can be understood as a hierarchical system that is “delegated” into various levels. This hierarchy begins with the root zone, followed by the delegation of the .au country code top level domain (ccTLD), followed by the second level sub zone (e.g. .com.au, .net.au), followed by a domain name (e.g. example.com.au) and any sub zones or domains within that (e.g. about.example.com.au). 

DNS delegation structure can be seen in every domain name, and in some cases it goes deeper than .com.au. For example, let’s break down  jobs.careers.vic.gov.au/

.au is delegated to .au Domain Administration
.gov is delegated to the Digital Transformation Agency of the Australian Government
.vic is a sub zone of .gov that is delegated to the Victorian government 
.careers is a domain name registered by the Victorian government and
jobs is a sub domain of careers.vic.gov.au/.  

DNS in .au

If you’re visiting any website ending in .au, the overarching DNS is supported by Afilias Australia, as we provide the technical infrastructure for .au. Our geographical DNS distribution means that the website you are visiting (or in DNS speak - “querying”) will be looked up (“resolved”) as quickly as possible. This querying and resolving occurs behind the scenes faster than a blink of an eye, so that you can access the information you’re looking for. 

DNS is a very complex topic. Thanks to Howard for his expert knowledge on the topic and for his work in ensuring the Afilias infrastructure does a world class job of serving .au domain names not only in Australia, but all around the world.

Have some feedback, a question or idea for future blog post? Email us at blog@afilias.com.au 

Posted in Blog