Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Until today I was used to believe it couldn't. From this page

The name field can be any of:

  1. A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) e.g. (ends with a dot)
  2. An unqualfied name (does not end with a dot)
  3. An '@' (substitutes the current value of $ORIGIN)
  4. a 'space' or 'blank' (tab) - this is replaced with the previous value of the name field.

Now, look at the following query

$ dig NS

; <<>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 <<>> NS
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 44156
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;       IN  NS

;; ANSWER SECTION:    36012   IN	NS    36012   IN	NS

;; Query time: 353 msec
;; WHEN: Thu Jan  7 02:29:15 2010
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 91

How is it possible? Can a NS record point to an IP address?

share|improve this question
up vote 15 down vote accepted

That's not an IP address, it's a very, very invalid FQDN. In other words, it's a string of characters rather than an actual address. The dot at the end of the IP address gives it away, along with the specs in the RFC that state that an NS record answer is a string.

Interestingly, I just checked the domain you gave and it's already been fixed up to use as it's other nameserver.

share|improve this answer
Sigh you beat me to it again. You're too fast. Plus I'm tired. yawwwn – Mark Henderson Jan 7 '10 at 1:40
+1 ... went to check the RFC just to be sure then got caught trying to find where they define 'labels' been a while since i really read it so the question made me go .. well maybe – Zypher Jan 7 '10 at 1:40
+1 - I enjoy the phrase "very, very invalid". Boolean states are always funnier when combined with adverbs... (pregnant, dead, etc) – Evan Anderson Jan 7 '10 at 2:21
Sheldon: "More" wrong? Wrong is an absolute state and is not subject to gradation. Stuart: Of course it is. It's a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable. It's very wrong to say it's a suspension bridge! – womble Jan 7 '10 at 2:32
+1 for the laugh – rodjek Jan 7 '10 at 2:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.