While a root nameserver is any Domain Name System (DNS) server that answers requests for the DNS root zone, redirecting requests for each Top Level Domain (TLD) to its respective nameservers, the term 'root nameserver' or 'rootserver' typically refers to the 13 root nameservers that implement the root namespace domain for the Internet's official global implementation of the DNS.
The TLD is what occurs after the final 'dot' of a domain name (for example, com, org, net), and the root servers are responsible for directing each domain name lookup request to its respective nameserver.
The 13 root nameservers each have an identifying letter, from A-M. However, while only 13 names are used for the root namesevers, there are many more physical servers. Some exist in only one instance while others, such as C, F, I, J, K, L, and M servers all exist in multiple locations on different continents. These duplicates use anycast address announcements to provide a completely decentralized service.
Having multiple servers distributed around the world provides high performance DNS lookup independent of the user's location as the request does not have to be dealt with by a single remote instance of the nameserver.
APNIC's root server project
- In 2002, APNIC announced a project to assist the community to establish several new rootserver sites into the Asia Pacific region.
- APNIC assists in the deployment of these rootservers providing technical support. Many of the sites are either fully, or at least partially, funded by APNIC. The rootserver deployments are then maintained by the operator, as 'anycast' mirror copies of existing rootservers.
APNIC to provide redundancy for DNS
The Internet Software Consortium and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre have agreed to pursue the operation of new root servers in the APNIC region, using mirror copies of existing F-root operated by ISC.
The aim is to strengthen the Domain Name System (DNS) by deploying additional resources to handle growing Internet traffic and disperse malicious traffic directed at root servers.
The new servers will be located such that they reach the largest possible user base, including diverse IP transit providers, and carrier-neutral Internet exchanges.
"As this project develops, we have the prospect of providing root services throughout the region, with substantially improved reachability and response times. That will be of noticeable benefit to Asia Pacific ISPs and end-users alike." said Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC.
Timeline of root server deployment
J-Root nameserver installed in Kathmandu, Nepal
J-Root nameserver installed in Brisbane, Australia
I-Root nameserver installed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
F-Root nameserver installed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
F-Root nameserver installed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
I-Root nameserver installed in Taipei, Taiwan
I-Root nameserver installed in Colombo, Sri Lanka
F-Root nameservers installed in Karachi, Pakistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh
August: Three root nameservers installed in India:
I-Root installed in Bangkok, Thailand
APNIC announces project to bring new root server sites into the Asia Pacific region
See: Root server map