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OpenNIC is an alternative network information center/alternative DNS root which lists itself as an alternative to ICANN and its registries.

As of 2006 users of the OpenNIC DNS servers are able to resolve all existing ICANN top-level domains as well as their own.

Like all alternative root DNS systems, OpenNIC-hosted domains are unreachable to the vast majority of the Internet. Only specific configuration in one's DNS resolver makes these reachable, and very few Internet service providers have this configuration.


On June 1, 2000, an article was posted on advocating a democratically governed domain name system. By the end of July, OpenNIC root servers were operating and several top-level domains had been introduced as well as peering of the AlterNIC namespace. In March 2001 peering began of Pacific Root and in September a search engine was announced which was dedicated to the OpenNIC namespace.

OpenNIC restructured its architecture to improve scalability and avoid single-point-of-failure issues. Each TLD has its own policies regarding acceptable use. New TLDs may be created subject to OpenNIC stated policies.

Top level domains[edit]

As of May 2014, OpenNIC supports the following TLDs:

aimed toward (Telnet-style) bulletin board systems and related Web sites.[1]
dynamic IP addresses.[2]On 30 May 2014, a new Dynamic DNS system was announced after the TLD was transferred to another operator. The new system allows registrants to update their domain's A record through accessing a URL, which is supplied when the domain is registered.[3]
the .free TLD provides namespace, certificate authority, and other services to encourage the non-commercial use of the internet.[4]
furry fandom-related sites.[5] From March 2009, .fur has been operated by FurNIC instead of OpenNIC[6]
chartered for use by geek-oriented sites, including anything of a personal or hobbyist nature. This description is deliberately vague to reflect the huge range of interests that might qualify.[7]
internal architectural, as in root server administration and peering purposes. The only domain names that exist for this TLD are those that are used for each system on the peer.
sites using the Gopher protocol.[8]
independent news, media, and entertainment.[9]
micronations and their entities. Recent and not widely used yet.[10]
emo subculture with influences of technology, music, and other forms of multimedia.[11] As of May 2014, the .neo domain registration system remains offline, meaning manual email registration is necessary.
miscellaneous non-commercial individual sites.[12]
open-source software.[13]
Australian-related content, without the residency requirements of .au.[14] (This requirement was also removed for .au later.)
venue for non-commercial parody work. Having a TLD designated to works of parody attempts to remove claims that a website could be mistaken for a business site, and thus reduces the possibility of claims of trademark infringement.[15]
created as a reaction against Internet censorship. As of May 2014, .pirate is once again active with a functional registration interface.[16]


OpenNIC provides resolution of select other alternative DNS roots. Currently OpenNIC peers with New Nations, providing .ko, .ku, .te, .ti, and .uu, and FurNIC, providing .fur. OpenNIC also resolves .bit domains. .bit domains are resolved using a centralized server which bridges DNS and Namecoin, meaning that users do not benefit from Namecoin's decentralized and secure nature.[17] In January 2015, OpenNIC entered into a peering agreement with Emercoin, providing .coin, .emc, .lib, .bazar.[18]

How to access OpenNIC[edit]

To fully access the OpenNIC network, users need to use (at least one of) its name servers. OpenNIC provides a list of nearest servers which can be entered into a DNS configuration. Adding these servers to the DNS list in a router will allow its entire internal network to access OpenNIC, while changing local DNS settings will affect only that computer. Full "How to" guides are also provided by OpenNIC.

For temporary resolution of the above TLDs, i.e. for those who are unable or unwilling to make this kind of change to their system, OpenNIC also provides a proxy server service.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As described in the .bbs charter OpenNIC .bbs TLD Charter
  2. ^ As described in the .dyn charter OpenNIC .dyn TLD Charter
  3. ^ Taylor, Jeff (30 May 2014). "The .dyn zone is now available for testing". opennic-discuss (Mailing list). 
  4. ^ As described in the .free charter OpenNIC .free TLD Charter
  5. ^ As described on the .fur description page OpenNIC .fur Description
  6. ^ Schafft, Philipp (March 2009). "FurNIC, .fur". opennic-discuss (Mailing list). 
  7. ^ As described in the .geek charter OpenNIC .geek Charter
  8. ^ As described in the .gopher charter OpenNIC .gopher Charter
  9. ^ As described in the .indy Charter OpenNIC .indy Charter
  10. ^ As described in the .micro Charter OpenNIC .micro Charter
  11. ^ As described in the .neo Charter OpenNIC .neo Charter
  12. ^ As described in the .null Charter OpenNIC .null Charter
  13. ^ As described in the .oss Charter OpenNIC .oss Charter
  14. ^ As described in the .oz Charter OpenNIC .oz Charter
  15. ^ As described on the .parody Description page OpenNIC .parody Description
  16. ^ McCrea, Travis (8 April 2014). "Soft Launch: dotPirate". opennic-discuss (Mailing list). 
  17. ^ As described in the .bit information OpenNIC .bit Information
  18. ^ OpenNIC Wiki: PeerTLDs
  19. ^ Shown on the main wiki page ( OpenNIC's Peers

External links[edit]