What Does .net Mean?

Gain insight into the history and original intent of .net

.net is a top-level domain, also known as a TLD. Derived from the word network, it was originally developed for companies involved in networking technology. Today, .net is one of the most popular domain names used by companies all over the world to launch their business online.

Detailed History of .net

Jon Postel in 1994, with hand-drawn map of internet top-level domains. Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service. ©1994, USC.

.net was one of the original top-level domains (the other five being .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, and .org) which were implemented in January 1985.

Prior to the introduction of these TLDs, the internet was largely a project managed by universities and scientists who used it for communication and research. But as more people began to use this network, electronic communications became more difficult to manage – at times, when mail loads became so heavy, people were asked to stop using their connections.

As the need for an organized system became more evident, Jon Postel and his colleagues at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (USCIS) were tasked to figure out this chaotic world and bring some order to it.

As the editor for Request for Comments (RFC) publication - a research publication headed by the Internet Engineering Task Force [IETF] and the Internet Society - Postel and his peers at USCIS published RFC 920 in October of 1984, outlining “the requirements of establishing a new domain in the ARPA-Internet and the DARPA research community.”

This policy statement would set the stage for the birth of .net and five other top-level domains, shaping the internet as we know it today.

Fun Facts About .net

Nordic Infrastructure for Research & Education, a joint educational collaboration of researchers in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, registered the first .net domain address, www.nordu.net, in 1985.

With 13.1 million domain name registrations, .net has the fifth largest zone base.

www.realestate.net sold for $300,000 in February of 2007, garnering a spot on the top five highest paid .net domains.

See more facts about .net >

Verisign's Role in .net Today

A registry operator powers domain names. Verisign has operated the infrastructure for a portfolio of top-level domains that today include .com, .net, .edu, .name and .cc, as well as two of the world's 13 internet root servers. And as the registry operator for .net, and other top-level domains, Verisign drives people to where they want to go on the internet.

With a current daily average of approximately 316.8 billion DNS lookups, it is vital that Verisign’s internet services be operational 100 percent of the time. To make this possible, we have designed a sophisticated infrastructure to address multiple complex, high-volume, real-time demands. This includes diverse hardware, operating systems, middleware and custom applications, power provider and network provider diversity, and a number of other protections.

With more than 26 years of operating the infrastructure behind numerous top level domains, as well as two of the world's 13 internet root servers, Verisign continues to operate at the highest level, striving to meet our commitment to bring the innovation required to address the needs of the future, while maintaining the need of today.