Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ page). Below, we have tried to answer the most common questions visitors to this our Web site may have. If you find that your question is not answered on this page, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call us at 575-302-8892.
Delete Internet History or 8 Steps To My World!
Internet Explorer is integral to Windows. Internet Explorers executable name is "iexplore.exe" and Windows is "explorer.exe". The similarities run deeper than their real names. You can "not like" Internet Explorer all you want but if its sick/sluggish so is Windows. Probably from YOU clicking; next, next, NEXT, not reading errors & firewall alerts! Before the problem(s) became noticeable. Simply erasing the everyday files (deleting history) will help, sometimes marginally because of toolbars & other apps. In most Internet Explorer program versions there is a menu bar already activated, if you do not see "tools", then the following applys to you.
1. Right mouse click below the address bar, near but not on a tab & left click on "Menu Bar". Hopefully you now see: File, Edit, View, Tools, etc. Left mouse click on Tools, Left mouse click on Delete Browsing History. Lets go over each Radio Box here.
2. Preserve Favorites Website Data, if you use your Favorites list a lot, put a check mark in the box, if not, then no. It can save your Favorites for offline viewing if used in a certain way, no you can't listen to "Pandora", "Slacker Radio", "YouTube" offline.
3. Temporary Internet History is our main concern, it usually contains (unless you selected delete on exit, somewhere else) your entire viewing experience from the last time you used Internet Explorer & it's what I call the cesspool of the hard drive as Viruses & Trojans breed in there like empty hangers in your closet! Temporary Internet History can contain gigabytes of data & over One Million Files! Yes, its the official Space HOG!) again, for this lesson, check the box, use your left mouse button, again.
4. Cookies, no you can't eat them, yes they do leave crumbs....of data on your drive! They are tinier than even dust. If you like to save your passwords, then they enable a site such as Yahoo or Google to temporarily save a little nugget of data to go from site to site in their world (portal), say from search to mail, etc. without cronicaly having to type & retype your password to regain your settings, colors, fonts, etc. Cookies also are used by Trojans to trap your pc's (yes, & laptops, notebooks, idevices, palmtops, cellphones, Smartphones, etc) identity & any info you entered into Internet Explorer, against you for pop-up ads & to be a general, pain in the neck, so cookies are a catch-22, your damned if you do & damned if you don't, but for this exercize, check the box, you can always check or uncheck any box later.
5. History, it is also a very small amount of data, usually what website you were at & where you where on the page, maybe even some fonts & colors. if you delete this, it will blow your, previously typed URL (website) address list. Check it, NEXT!
6. Form Data, the stuff you always have to type & retype, your name, your email, etc. to buy or register for something. (Internet Explorer has an integral application for this called Wallet), unless your name is a mile long & so is all your data, again, left mouse click the check box.
7. Passwords, tiny text, auto-types, what you should memorize for more security, paranoid people, check it!
8. InPrivate Filtering Data, there is a special sub program setting to Internet Explorer, called, InPrivate, I strongly suggest you, Use It, if you are: paranoid, love porn, don't use tool-bars, a Great idea, your loss if you don't, so clickity click the box already, that will get rid of any traces left over from your pook'n brows'n, you did when you thought no one was looking. Left mouse click Delete or the letter "D" on your keyboard at this point will do the same thing, now hurry up & wait.
Oh yeah, by the way, I have waited hours for it to delete files off your computers, hours! I bet your gonna hit delete every day you use I.E. (Internet Explorer, The Big Blue "E"), aren’t you! also very wise no matter what Internet browser you use, Chrome, which I use often....... Firefox or my personal New Favorite, Pale Moon (.org by the makers of Firefox, Mozilla, Seamonkey, etc.) Humor is free, welcome to share, however you want! Sure you could edit out the smart remarks but then it becomes dry & flaky like a scalp & once more many will scratch their head & not remember any of this...
The Wired Planet Computer Store
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
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Some PC's use a F11 or Control ket & F11 to start a Restore function. F12 or ESC key can also boot to a Different device, say a Flash or Memory Key, even CD or DVD.
Entering Safe Mode (except in Windows 8 & 8.1 goto sub-paragraph "A." if this applies to you) As computer comes on after pushing power button, it probably says the brand name, there will be a momentary black screen then starting some version of Windows. Near the end of the Brand name & just before starting Windows, tap "F8" (system will beep if it is has been to many pushes or if something else wrong) (if it refuses, some ultra-new crap-tops, hell-dells, etc, you have to hold the "Fn" button down, its on the lower left of keyboard, near "ctrl" &"alt", it seems they thought "F8" should not be a popular button. a few times, near the top of the keyboard. A DOS like black & white screen should display. With arrow keys choose "Safe Mode with Networking" or something worded very similar, some display the "ing", some don't. Tap the Enter key one time. It may take awhile to start & you may see every file it loads in order to start Windows, zip up by, it happens in real mode to, it is just covered by the visually pleasant Windows animated logo, to get into Windows. However you do once it hopefully starts. Like password, etc. Left Mouse Click, one time, on the Black "X" on windows help, if you need to ask it for help, start typing in its search menu area.
(A.) Entering windows Safe Mode. Once Windows 8 has started up and you see the Desktop or "Slate" Touch Screen Menu. Move the mouse pointer to a right upper or lower corner. A menu called the Charms Menu will appear. Choose the "Gear" i.e. Settings, point mouse pointer on it & left mouse click on the choice. Left mouse click on Change PC Settings in lower right part of screen. On left of new menu screen there is a "General", left mouse click on it. Move your mouse to the right, right across from "General", left mouse click in scroll bar & scroll down. On the bottom there is "Advanced startup", left mouse click on "Restart now". Machine will work for a sec. from new menu choose, "Troubleshoot", left mouse click on it. Now from another new menu choose "Advanced options" & left mouse click on it, one time. Yet another menu will come up , in lower right there is "Startup Settings", left mouse click on it. On the new screen choose "Restart" with a single left mouse click. Wait & watch. I as a technitian like to choose (5) " Enable Safe Mode With Networking". Wait. Hopefully your now in Safemode.
Go to Control Panel, Programs and Features (Vista, 7, 8) or Add & Remove Programs on older (XP) ones (Windows). Uninstall Programs from the list that don't belong, weird search engines & toolbars you don't recognize, useless PC performance crap, movie playing plug-ins that you've never seen, dumb things like, "Default Tab", "Search Conduit", etc. Try to connect to a WIFI or plug-in your LAN cable, your internet should work in Safe Mode with Network(ing). Use your internet browser of choice once connected to internet. Type in the internet browser ADDRESS bar not search bar, sorceforge.com and tap Enter key, one time. Once at Sourceforge in first Search area, type, " Bleachbit ", not the "", just the word inside them. Tap the Enter key one Time, wait, scroll down under Bleachbit, Left mouse click, one time on Bleachbit with the small yellow broom icon, scroll down, left of middle you should see a DARKER GREEN squared off rectangle "sf" Download button, left mouse click, once. W A I T, save it to where you know EXACTLY where you are going to put the file, just in-case some spy-ware, Trojan or virus, makes a mess, again. Run, Open, Launch, install, whatever the Bleachbit-1.0-setup.exe file or program. Say "Yes" to User Account Control, if it comes up, left mouse click once. Installer Language English, Left mouse click, one time, "OK". Left mouse click, one time, "I agree", I usually unselect "Translations", you can leave the others selected if you wish, at least one of them. Left mouse click, one time, "Next", it probably wants to install to some long place, left mouse click, one time, "Install". busy busy busy, left mouse click Next. Leave "Run Bleachbit" checked, left mouse click, one time, "Finish" Hurry up and wait. The program icon with the little yellow hand broom should be coming up now, oh look at all those check boxes! Peruse them, they all mean something, basically all are little teeny tiny places to store your most recent things you or others have done. Not the FILES themselves, the memories that they where accessed, when, who, etc. Left mouse click, one time to Check & "Ok" every check box category but the two I tell you not to, unless you want it to save history or passwords, which is up to you. The two boxes are: Under System "Free disk space" you will need to go back & uncheck, unless you have all the time in the world & Windows Explorer, "Thumbnails", I don't think it erases pictures but I almost lost my lunch when I saw picture names getting deleted, it was there baby cache thumbnail preview, not the actual picture, but save yourself the heart-attack! uncheck, with a left mouse smash... Left mouse click, Clean, near the top left of screen & then Delete right after that, now wait. Yeah, it's finally done, bet you didn't know about all that Windows keeps track of... Left mouse click, File & Quit. Reboot, Restart, Shut Down, Wait & hit power button again, whatever. Now that you erased all your history, temporary files, etc. Lets get to cleaning the Trojans, the hard way, baseball bat!, Kidding, sorta, lets use the electronic version. Safe Mode with Networking, get on internet, http://www.spybot.info/ Safe Mode, if you can get on the internet, will have less pop ups & work faster while you clean, if you can't get on the internet, real or normal mode will work, it will be much slower, prone to errors, especially user right associated errors, because Trojans & other things have taken over the computer to make it into a money making click-bot & in-turn using all available system horsepower for not your stuff. Left Mouse Click, one time, on the Black "X" on windows help, if you need to ask away... Now that you are at http://www.safer-networking.org/ (same site as spybot.info) lets get back to it. Left mouse click, one time, middle of top area of web page, "Download", scroll way down, near bottom, Left mouse click, one time, "Spybot-Search & Destroy 1.6.2 ,scroll down if need be, left mouse click, one time, on, 3, 2 or 1, they are file mirror links to different servers, in case one is busy, does not matter, "Download", save it, where you want it, wait, open, install. In this case, I am going to left mouse click, one time, on "Run". Yes I want to run the software, so you may need to left mouse click, one time, "Run again. If another user identity pops up to authorize, type the password for that user now, it is so not amazing what your own computer does without you, isn't it... Left mouse click, one time, "Ok" to English Language. Single Left Click on "Next". Left mouse click in the "I accept" radio button. Now Click, "Next", I will also stop being so exact about how to left mouse click, unless otherwise specified. Big long install path specified, click, "Next". I usually uncheck, "Additional languages", "Skins" & check "Explorer". Now its asking if you want your Start Menu folder, to be that name or a different one, most leave it, I force all my tools into one name, that is up to you. It is just a good way of organizing. Click, "Next". Choose your icons, leave the lower two checked. "Next". "Install". Now w a i t. Leave it all checked, "Finish". Password if someone else has control, I know its weird but it happens, like if you have a PC with many accounts, whoever installed a program becomes the administrator of that program but only at the leisure of the original account administrator, if its screwing up, there is a major problem. Check "Don't show" & "OK". Create registry backup, wait & "Next". Start. Mode, Advanced, Yes. Update, choose any server, Continue, check them ALL!, Download, w a i t, Blink, Zip, Blink, Blink, Zip, "Don't show" & "OK", probably Next again & again, Immunize, Next, Start again, it may be normal for you, but it gets fussy at times. Look for pop under hidden window for the Update-Spybot, OK & Exit. If open (internet) browsers detected, OK. Close them as well. Lets Immunize, now, again in a way, wait. It is putting a black list of bad sites for Internet Browers & Windows Host file to reject, ignore, not go to, etc. Search & Destroy in left pane. Check for Problems. Yes if it wants to delete temp files, again, we did that earlier. Ignore if it said it couldn't. You may have to re-Mode & Advanced, "Yes" I really want to switched to Advanced. Ok, lets multitask, with this program. Tools in left pane. Double left mouse click, the icon beside, ActiveX(it is a Microsoft product), look for unusual thing, but if you are unsure, just look & don't remove, later scans will catch & remove most problems, I just want you to see, what I see. Tools, again. Double left click the icon beside, BHOs, once again, read, try to interpret (these are nerdy or geeky programmers, maybe even hackers that write this jargon, here, some morons will like leave it "Hello World", like they did it in college computer programming class & where to lazy or stupid to rename it). Again, later scans should take care of things here. Tools, System Start up, Look. Tools, System Internals, also in left pane. Check, Fix, just hold down "D" if it finds stuff wrong, until done, system will beep insistently, that’s normal. Spybot in left pane. Fix selected problems, when it is done scanning. So whats on the list? Shocking? Stuff you thought was legitimate, things you have no idea where they came from or pronounce? Crap happens! It could take hours to scan, again that is normal. Yes, you want to continue. Wait, OK. It may not fix them all. A reboot & rescan may be needed. That happens. Reboot again into Safe Mode with Network(ing) if that is working. http://www.malwarebytes.org/ Note, Internet Explorer, whether you use it or not, is part of Windows & need to be accessed & clicked on, like a fussy baby, it wants attention too, don't ignore it,, like a read-headed-step-child, read its messages, like "Welcome to", Next, Yes turn on suggested sites, you will find more things easily not so restrictive, oh gosh Microsoft is watching me, oh brother, toss the PC then, LOL! Next, "Use express" (do you real want to know ever option?!? You go right ahead..... Yeah that’s what I thought! Finish. Ok, get on the web, lets go to malwarebytes, scroll down, Free Version Download, you may get a light maze yellow bar, like a sticky note color, under your internet browsers address bar but above where you usually look, "To help protect your security, blah blah blah, "file", file you say?!? yes, you want that, click it! Download File, BAM!, WTH! Save it. doodeedoo deedoo wait wait wait... Run, Run, OK, Next, Accept, Next, Next, N e x t, sigh.... Next, eesh, really?!? choose, Next, Install! WooHoo! Be Careful NOW! UNCHECK the trial, once we go past if accident, we'll have a problem in days, so Uncheck top Trial Box!, the rest are ok, "Finish". Yes, it wants to update, again, isn't this fun! OK. Perform quick scan, first. If it finds a few bad things then, remove them, reboot & do a full scan, if it goes close to 100, cancel, yes, stop, remove & do it again, this program will hammer machines if you let it heal 100's or thousands @ once. I don't know why, it is weird like that. I like to stop at 10 the first time, every single time & reboot, on a virgin scan, than I gradually let meter build more & more every time but never over 60-80 before a removal & reboot. Of course it is time consuming & a pain in the ass, that is why I get paid & I am always stressed out, you know that. Some Spyware & Trojans, to protect themselves will shutdown a PC, during a scan, fix? Be faster, watch the screen, time it, when it usually shut off, how many infections did it burst-find? 2, 20, 200? Chip away at it, bust a few & reboot, until it stops doing that. Java & flash especially but other programs when you download them, update them, whatever, will leave open an internet browser window open, when done, close it, duh! To update "Flash" properly, go to flash.com scroll down, lower left, left mouse click, one time, "Adobe Flash Player", UNCHECK THE CHECKBOX in UPPER MIDDLE OF PAGE! Look for out for the sneaky stuff! Now, left mouse click, one time, "Install now", yes save in a known spot, you like, uncheck the "close when done" if you see it, 'cause you want to run it, when done, run, launch, etc! Left mouse click on Open, User Account Control again, left mouse click, one time, "Yes". W A I T! Look around for the little Red "f" box somewhere..... most choose Allow Adobe to install updates, but pick your poison, now left mouse click, one time, "Next", now w a i t . . . . . . . . . . . . Installation Complete, Left Mouse Click on "Finish". To update "Java" properly, go to java.com , Download, smack-dab upper middle of red part of web page, "See all Java downloads", its a smaller text looking link in lower middle, Windows Offline, Save. wait. Otherwise the "simpler" online installer will be like flash & slam you with like a McaFee scanner or Chrome internet browser & you'll have to uncheck some extra.....c r a p! Run (open), Run, Install, Super Wait! Close Need a free, quality Word Processor? Look no further, I've written letter, court documents, etc. With this bad-boy! openoffice.org we can & will make it write & open Microsoft documents! "I want to download Openoffice" , "Download (whatever name, they've said, Open, Java, Apache, they might say, Your Mom, next,lol, who cares) OpenOffice (version, who cares, they new one, duh!)" Looks like that little bar up above again, but might not be for you, "Download File", Save, Big Ass Wait Time, go to store, make dinner, whatever. Run (Open), Run, Next, Unpack, Wait, Next, Whatever you want to put, Typical, Next choose, Install. Finish. Bring OpenOffice up, Next, Choose what you want to enter, Finish. Tools, Options, Load/Save, Document Type, (dropdown menu, scroll back up it, Text Ducument), then across from that, Always Save As (dropdown menu, scroll back up it, Microsoft Word, 97, 2000, XP), Spreadsheet-Excel, etc, choose how you want each to open & save. Uncheck “Warn”. OK Finito ! Yeah! Need a multimedia player, that playes DVD's, streeming web content & music, all that Windows Media Player won't?!? Have I got a deal for you, for as little free! Oh Yeah! videolan.org , download VLC (the big ass blueish picture button with icon), it is a pop under for me, near top of screen, might just be a save/run box for you. Donload File, Save, Save, Run, crap I don't remember what button I just pushed after that, grrrrrr. OK, Next, Next, choose ( I usually leave all but Desktop, you might be a Desktop type of girl, lol. Next, Install. Run, Finish. Both Check Boxes are fine. Continue. On a final note, I have found that Internet Explorer !! will send empty pages back to online schools, refuse to login to email accounts (not yahoo, hotmail or gmail) but other corporations, like Purina, ITT, etc. Internet Explorer, Help, About, uncheck the auto update button & check what version, if it is 11 & want to revert back to Ten, hop over to programs & features in control panel, some icon in upper left, updates maybe, scroll through for Microsoft I.E.11 & uninstall it. Then go to Windows Updates in control panel again & turn off auto update& install auto, you want to install when you want to button. For when a school or agency, company, etc. finally upgrades, then you can stop being Kirk or anal (ooh same amount of letters... ass!), I mean exact & let that particular update through. Also like .NET 4.5 it will cut your pc power directly in half! unless you need it. oh found it!
Site Unavailable, what does this message mean?
The site is not available due to too high network traffic, is mistyped URL, or technical problems with the Web site.
Error 403 - Forbidden/Access Denied, what does this message mean?
Access to the Web site or link is restricted. You may need a password to access this link, or you may be restricted from accessing the link through the network you are using.
HTTP Server Error, what does this message mean?
There is an error with the proxy server. Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload or try accessing the site at a later time.
File Not Found, what does this message mean?
The file specified in the URL has been moved, renamed or deleted.
Page cannot be displayed, what does this message mean?
This could be the result of several issues, including problems with the Web site, broken or deleted links, mistyped URL's, or network and service outages. Troubleshooting Steps: 1) Check the URL you entered to ensure it has been entered correctly. A mistyped letter can cause this error. 2) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 3) Check to ensure your Internet connection is working by opening another Web page. 4) Wait a few minutes and attempt to access the site again.
Too Many Users, what does this message mean?
This is a result of high volume of users attempting to access the Web site at one time. Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload or try accessing the site at a later time.
The requested URL was not found, what does this message mean?
This indicates one of several possible issues, including problems with the Web site, broken or deleted links, mistyped URLs, or network and service outages.
Unable to Locate Host, what does this message mean?
The Web site may be down or there may be a problem with your connection. Troubleshooting Steps: 1) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 2) Check to ensure your Internet connection is working by opening another Web page. 3) Wait a few minutes and attempt to access the site again.
Error 404 File Not Found, what does this message mean?
The file specified in the URL was not found or the link may be broken. The URL may have been mistyped or the file may have been removed. Trouble shooting steps: 1) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 2) Modify the text within the URL to browse another part of the Web site. For example: If you receive the 404 error while attempting to access http://www.thewiredplanet.com/faq.html, modify the link by deleting the /faq.html text and try to access the Web site again. 3) If you are unable to access the Web site, the error may be specific to the link within the site and notification to Technical Support will be needed.
Error 503 Service Unavailable, what does this message mean?
The site you are attempting to access may be busy, or there may be a problem with your Internet service. Wait a few minutes and attempt to access this site later.
Error 500 Server Error, what does this message mean?
The Web site you are attempting to access is experiencing an internal server error. This error is normally an indication of network issues. Troubleshooting tips: 1) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 2) Check to ensure your Internet connection is working by opening another Web page. 3) Wait a few minutes and attempt to access the site again.
Bad File Request, what does this message mean?
There are errors in the file you are attempting to open.
Can't Parse HTTP, what does this message mean?
The Web browser is unable to locate the URL you have entered. Troubleshooting Steps: 1) Check the URL you have entered to ensure it has been entered correctly. 2) Ensure the "http://" is included at the beginning of the URL. 3) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 4) Check to ensure your Internet connection is working by opening another Web page. 5) Wait a few minutes and attempt to access this site again.
Connection Refused by Host, what does this message mean?
Access to the Web site or link is restricted. You may need a password to access this link, or you may be restricted from accessing the link through the network you are using.
Failed DNS Lookup, what does this message mean?
The IP address associated with the domain specified in the URL could not be resolved. Troubleshooting Steps: 1) Check the URL you entered to ensure it was entered correctly. 2) Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload. 3) Check to ensure your Internet connection is working by opening another Web page. 4) Wait a few minutes and attempt to access this site again.
File Contains no Data, what does this message mean?
The Web site was located but there is no data available. Attempt to reload the page by clicking Refresh or Reload or try accessing the site at a later time.
In the early days of the Internet, humans and other computers located the few massive interconnected computers the same way: by their numeric Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Soon, the impracticality of memorizing all these numbers became obvious, and a rudimentary naming scheme was developed. A central repository of names and their associated IP addresses was created and maintained in the form of a plain list. Periodically, administrators would connect to this central repository and download the current list of computer names. As the number of computers (hosts) on the Internet increased, this file began to grow exponentially and keeping the hosts file up-to-date became a much more daunting task. The early pioneers of the Internet realized that this system would prove to be very difficult to scale.
With that, the host-naming process went “under the knife” in order to develop a more scalable system with distributed management – and the Domain Name System was born. The designers proceeded to inscribe every detail of their creation and created the DNS Internet standards as defined by RFC 1034 and RFC 1035.
DNS fulfilled its goal of becoming an efficient, distributed and scalable system for resolving human-readable hostnames to network-usable IP addresses. In fact, DNS even included support for other classes of addresses ("CHAOS" and "Hesiod"), but these are not in wide usage today.
The designers also decided on a particular hierarchy: a naming format in which the computer would be known by its name, followed by a hierarchical list of domains that were simply logical zones that the computer fell into for management purposes. These names are separated by dots and written in reverse order (broadest domain last). For example, a typical name looks like this:
Since the domain name trees from right to left, we can interpret that the broadest domain is “.com” The “.com” domain represents the portion of the name space that is set aside for commercial enterprise, and most typically for commercial entities within the United States. This portion of the name is known as the top-level domain.
"The Wired Planet” represents what is called the second-level domain name and generally represents the firm that actually owns or controls the domain and all the hostnames beneath it.
This leaves "www", which is the hostname or the actual computer name as assigned by local administration. Incidentally, the combination of the second-level and top-level domain is what is commonly referred to as the domain name.
Entities who wish to set up and control their own domains must choose a top-level name space in which to operate, and also decide on a second-level name. Then, they must contact one of a group of central authorities that oversee the top-level name space and register this domain name. These central authorities are appropriately deemed “registrars.”
While selecting a second-level domain name that directly represents your firm's name is a convention, there is no rule requiring it. Anyone can register any name they choose, providing that the standard naming rules are adhered to and the name is available.
Now that we know why a naming system exists and have seen what a name looks like, let's take a look at how a name actually gets translated back into an address that computers can use. The easiest way to understand this process is with an example.
Let's imagine that an Internet user wants to look up information on a Web site. We'll use "http://www.thewiredplanet.com.”
First, the user types the above URL into his Web browser, and the computer begins processing the Web request. The user's computer must find the IP address for "www.thewiredplanet.com" before it can contact the correct server. (The initial characters "http://" simply tell the Web browser what protocol to use to contact the remote computer once it has an address.)
The Web browser then turns this hostname over to the resolver. A resolver is just a computer program or process that runs silently on any computer connected to the Internet that needs to be able to translate names to IP addresses. Its sole purpose is to perform this task.
The resolver checks its own internal tables to see if it has any information stored or cached containing the IP address for the requested hostname. If not, the resolver checks its configuration for the IP address of a name server to which it can pass the query. In most cases, the client resolver will have to connect to this name server to answer the query, unless it has been looked up recently and is in the resolver cache or has been manually entered in the local resolver's host table.
The next server in the chain for the average user is usually a DNS server that an Internet Service Provider owns and maintains. Corporate entities may maintain their own DNS servers. The location of the server is not important, so long as the resolver can connect to it reliably. This server is usually very near the user's Internet connection point, and is referred to as the “recursive server.”
It is at this step in the resolution chain that we must introduce the concept of authority. Every registered domain name is required to select two (2) or more name servers that will pass on "official" data for that domain name to the rest of the Internet when asked. Domain owners can't just pick any name server. They must either maintain their own name server or coordinate with the administrators of an existing server to provide DNS services.
The recursive server, upon receiving a query from the resolver, checks to see if it is authoritative and has the information for the zone requested in its local configuration or cache. If a server is supposed to be authoritative for a domain but does not have any information for the domain or isn't configured to handle it, it causes a "lame delegation," where no queries are properly answered.
If the recursive server can't resolve the query on its own, it too will need a "next step" to take. But what servers can it ask, and how does it know about them? A name server that responds to queries should have a file containing a listing of names and addresses of Internet root servers.
A root server is a particular type of domain name server on the Internet that stores top-level naming information and second-level delegations. Simply, root servers tell the recursive servers where to go find out more information about the domain they are querying.
Now, our query has made it from the client resolver to the recursive server to the root server, and the root server has found the server that should have the necessary information to respond to the query. We will call this the authoritative server. The root server now passes this address back to the recursive server.
Finally, the recursive server must contact the authoritative server and issue the original query. It will then return that result to the recursive server. The recursive server delivers the result to the client and potentially caches the query result.
The client resolver hands off the IP address in question to the actual network protocols to locate the IP address and establish a connection, and the resolution process is complete.
Resource records are the foundation of DNS. Every piece of information that DNS can provide about a host or domain is stored as a resource record (RR), and dozens of different resource record types exist to help define the types of DNS information available. We'll take a look at a few common types.
Address A records are the "meat" of DNS. The A record stores the IP address associated with a given hostname. Most DNS operations are queries for A records.
A few things to note about A records:
• An A record must always point to a single IP address. No other form of entry is acceptable.
• Multiple A records can be entered with the same name (“label”). The DNS server will return all the IP addresses listed. Clients will generally try the first address listed, so order is important. Depending on implementation, this order can be round robin or selected based on topological proximity.
• Multiple labels can be assigned the same IP address. In this case, querying any one of the labels will return the IP address.
• It is possible to have an A record for a label that has the same name as your domain. For example, "thewiredplanet.com" is a domain, but an A record can also be created to make "thewiredplanet.com" resolve directly to an IP address.
Canonical Names (CNAMEs) are the DNS equivalent of aliases or symbolic links. This record's function is to point a hostname to another hostname. For this to be useful, the "destination" hostname must have an A record which points to an IP address.
A few things to note about CNAMEs:
• CNAMEs can point to any hostname on any domain anywhere in the world regardless of who owns the domain or where it is located.
• CNAMEs require that both the destination host and the destination host's A record (IP address) be returned in order to properly resolve. As such, CNAMEs are generally slower than A records and should be used sparingly.
• A domain name cannot be used as a CNAME label. For example: setting up "thewiredplanet.com" to resolve as a CNAME to "www.krxcomputers.com" will not work.
• CNAMEs cannot point to URLs, nor can they point to specific directories on your Web server. A CNAME can only point to a hostname with a valid A record.
Pointers are essentially the opposite of A records in that they resolve IP addresses back to hostnames. Although it is not a required function of DNS, some applications like to use an inverse query to authenticate or provide more information about a connected or connecting host.
A few things to note about PTRs:
• Just like a domain name, a name server must be configured to be authoritative for the block of IP addresses, and the root servers must be aware of this delegation.
• The smallest standard block that can be authoritatively delegated is currently 256 IP addresses (otherwise known as a "/24" or somewhat incorrectly as a "Class C"). There are proposed mechanisms to allow sub-delegation of PTR responsibility to even smaller blocks.
• You do not have to set up PTRs for your hostnames and your domains to resolve correctly. Some applications may call for it, but it is not required by any Internet standard.
Start of Authority (SOA)
The SOA record defines the given name server's authority for the domain. In addition to authority, the SOA record contains several configuration parameters for the domain as follows:
• Person In Charge - Email address of the person responsible for the domain's administration.
• Serial Number - This number must be incremented each time a change is made to the records for a domain/zone. If a zone is changed but the serial number is not updated, the secondary server will not acquire the new data when it refreshes its zone information.
• Refresh - How often, in seconds, a secondary name server is to check with the primary name server to see if an update is required.
• Retry - If a secondary server tries to poll the primary server and fails, the secondary should wait this number of seconds before trying again.
• Expire - If the secondary server is not able to update its data by contacting the primary server for this number of seconds, it will stop using the data it has for queries, in case the data is outdated or inaccurate.
• Minimum TTL - TTL time is a per-record specification that tells any querying name server how long it should keep that particular record in its cache. The Minimum TTL field is a zone-wide default that is used when a record does not explicitly specify its own TTL time.
Name Server (NS) records supply the hostname of the authoritative name server(s) for the domain. Every domain must have an NS record and current RFC guidelines specify no fewer than two. Domains can also be divided into sub-domains as specified by local administrators and each sub-domain can have its own NS records.
Mail Exchanger (MX) records specify the hostname of the server that will handle mail for this domain. When you send mail to email@example.com, your local mail server has to contact the server that handles mail for "thewiredplanet.com" and pass the email on to it. But which server should it contact? mail.thewiredplanet.com? yahoo.thewiredplanet.com? krxcomputers.com? Or, perhaps some server belonging to an entirely different domain?
Since the server that handles mail for a domain could feasibly be any server on the Internet, the host attempting to deliver mail must have some way to find out the address of the server to contact. This is precisely the role of the MX record.
The MX record has three parts: a domain name, a hostname and a preference value. The domain name for the above example would be "gwlg.com". The hostname is the name of the server to which mail for this domain will be delivered. Incidentally, this server must also be configured to accept and handle mail for the given domain.
The preference value is a number (usually between 0 and 100) to indicate which MX record to try to use first if more than one exists. A lower number will always be used before a higher number. This allows for some redundancy if the preferred mail-handling host loses connectivity or the ability to accept mail for delivery.
A few caveats about MX records:
• MX records are not equivalent to email addresses. They cannot contain a user name, only a hostname. The mail server for your domain handles "everything before the '@'" on its own.
• MX records should never point to a CNAME record, only a host that has a valid A record.
• MX records cannot point to an IP address.
• The server you are pointing to will not begin handling mail for you until you let the server's administrator know and that administrator configures the server to accept email for your domain.
The character used as a wildcard in most DNS implementations is the asterisk or "*"character. You may use this character in certain RRTypes to match any hostname beneath your domain.
So what happens when you set up an A record for "*thewiredplanet.com" to point to "184.108.40.206"? Every possible hostname will resolve to that IP address. So, with this entry in place, "www.krxcomputers.com" would resolve to "220.127.116.11", "mail.thewiredplanet.com" will resolve to "18.104.22.168" and even "we.love.thewiredplanet.com" will resolve to "22.214.171.124", all because of a single wildcard record that matches everything.
You can also do this for MX records. Suppose someone sends mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org". We've just read that an MX record lookup for "thewiredplanet.com" would be performed and that mail would be delivered to the host returned in the MX query. But what if someone sends mail to "email@example.com", or "firstname.lastname@example.org"? The answer is that the mail will not be delivered, since an MX record for these hostnames does not exist. Rather than adding every possible hostname as an MX record, DNS allows you to specify "thewiredplanet.com" as an MX record label, to catch all possible hosts.