Web address system faces changes

The way the internet handles website domains is going to change, following an update to the core "addressing system".

If we continue with the current way of allocating web addresses, we will run out of available domain names by 2011.

So the internet's master address book is being updated to include records written in a new format, IP version 6, which will help to create millions of new potential web addresses.

The problem occurs because people and the internet use two different methods to call up web pages: we type words into the address bar of our browser, whereas our computers translate that into a string of numbers to find the page that you are looking for. This numerical string is taken from the internet's master address book of domains.

Most numerical web addresses are currently written in IP version 4, but from today, the internet's root servers will also be able to handle records written in IP version 6. It means that computers and servers that use IP version 6 will be able to bypass IP version 4 completely when retrieving pages on the net.

Although the impact of this highly technical switch will be felt mainly behind the scenes, there is a possibility that at some point in the future, customers may have to upgrade some of their home computing equipment, such as internet routers, to handle these new long addresses. However, experts stress that such upgrades are a long way off.

News source: Telegraph

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32 Comments

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Yikes. The way this is written is beyond dumbed-down. It's innacurate (we're running out of domain names?!?!). This will only serve to confuse people and propagate inaccuracies.

The internet was going to run out of IP's 10 years ago, and then they stumbled on the idea of Network Address Translation (NAT). IP v6 is only really required for the back end of the Internet infrastructure. Even most IT staff will have little contact with it (or comprehend it's technicalities). NAT and IP v4 is here to stay thank goodness, I don't want to have to learn subnetting all over again, with v6 routing tables etc... I'm too old!

(HawkMan said @ #8.1)
NAT is a horrible solution, it's not even a solution it's a work around, and it's horrible.
umm NAT is what has kept the internet running for the last 10 odd years, if it's wasn't for nat we woudl have run out of IP's a LONG time ago

(whocares78 said @ #8.2)
umm NAT is what has kept the internet running for the last 10 odd years, if it's wasn't for nat we woudl have run out of IP's a LONG time ago

The fact that a kludge allows you too achieve your intended effect somehow doesn't make it any less a kludge, no matter how widespread it becomes.

(yakumo said @ #8.3)
The fact that a kludge allows you too achieve your intended effect somehow doesn't make it any less a kludge, no matter how widespread it becomes.

Kludge (whatever it means) is how the whole computer industry works "i486", "RS232", Computer BIOS etc., etc. NAT and IP v4 is here to stay, and it will be considered standard practice for the end networks. Do you really think our smart refrigerators, microwave ovens and heating controllers etc. will all be using IP v6, no chance. NAT every time! Nat is great!

I stopped reading at "If we continue with the current way of allocating web addresses, we will run out of available domain names by 2011."

A domain name is not the same as an address.

I wish they could find a less technical way of writing addresses. I know that http:// and www. are abbreviations and such, but it isn't how humans think.

If you look at computers, in the days of Dos, people were typing c:\folder\file.exe but now we just click on a folder, click on a file.

In mac os x, you don't ever need to write an address, you just navigate graphically, and there are no downsides to this.

I'm not sure what the ideal solution would be for the web, because there are so many sites, but the current solution seems dated. They should at least have addresses written as "google" "neowin" etc and then perhaps "neowin news" could be a site - either being interpreted as "neowin.net/news" or perhaps even "neowin_news.net"

Obviously this would be very different to how domains work currently as there would not be country specific extensions. Browsers detect the country of the computer, so there is not much reason for these domains to exist. And google.co.uk is google.com is google.nl in the new version - its just google!

What do you think?

so if you make a site how does it magically appear as a button on everyone elses computer?

just use bookmarks in your browser and no address writing for the sites you visit the most

Just to use your "google" example for a second. If I were to type in "google", how does the system know if I wanted Google Search, Mail, News, Image Search or any other of their services.
Technically how would it work? The first thing that spings to mind would be almost like a keyword thing. E.g Microsoft, Windows, Vista, Xbox, Office are all associated with the real website IP. So if you type in 'Microsoft Windows Vista' it would appear.
Call me cynical, but isn't that Google's "I'm feeling lucky" feature....?! :-)

Your comparision between a command line interface moving to a GUI compared to www.icantuseapc.com moving to "I can't use a pc" is rubbish.
Both command line and GUI are structured file systems. Humans don't think C:UsersSteveDocumentsBusiness CasesDRvirtualisation.docx when you want a file. But you've adapted. You really think it's natural to use a plastic lump called a mouse that moves an arrow in a TV screen to 'double click' a document to read it? You've gotten used to computers - don't kid yourself.

IMHO, there's enough arogant, ignorant moron's that own a computer, without us having to water the net down to appeal to people that find it too much of challange to put www. before typing the name of a companyname or to use Google.

If people can't even be bothered to use a prefix of www. and a suffix of .co.uk or .com etc. then they shouldn't even be allowed within 10ft of a computer.

Keep computers easy, with Vista and OS X like UI's, Spell Checking and plug and play technology - fine - but at least put a sensible suggestion forward rather than this 'idea'.

Quick fireback question - when was the last time you typed in http:// into a browser?!?!?! :-)

P.S. No offence, just having a bad day with some rather ignorant end-users. Nothing the BOFH couldn't fix!!!

(stevehoot said @ #5.2)
If people can't even be bothered to use a prefix of www. and a suffix of .co.uk or .com etc. then they shouldn't even be allowed within 10ft of a computer....Keep computers easy, with Vista and OS X like UI's, Spell Checking and plug and play technology - fine - but at least put a sensible suggestion forward rather than this 'idea'. [sic]


Agreed. Never forget how AOL brought millions of monkey-punching, herbal v1agra-buying, free PS3-winning, eCard-sending, joke mail-forwarding, Trojan-clicking idiots to the Internet.

i could tell you what think but i'd get banned....

what if you want a site that isnt in YOUR country??

go do some research on how all this stuff works as it is way to much to write in a forum post.. but what your saying just wont work

'If we continue with the current way of allocating web addresses, we will run out of available domain names by 2011'


I guess you mean IP addresses here, when you refer to 'web addresses' and 'domain names'?

yea i was going to say shouldnt this be read as we are running out of ip addresses instead of domains lol but in honesty this is old news and people have been saying were going to run out for years its not a big deal, when we switch to ipv6 well have a nearly unlimited supply of ips, isnt china already running something like ipv8?

(Felosis said @ #4.2)
yea i was going to say shouldnt this be read as we are running out of ip addresses instead of domains lol but in honesty this is old news and people have been saying were going to run out for years its not a big deal, when we switch to ipv6 well have a nearly unlimited supply of ips, isnt china already running something like ipv8?

IPv8 address range is less than IPv6

yes but you have to remember the n00bs who wont understand the tech side.
you could say this artical has taught some one some thing they didnt know about before.

It's actually going to make:
340,282,366,920,938,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses
whereas ipv4 has 4,294,967,296

The solution is to stop squatting om domains. As under ipv4 there is nearly enough for one domain each for the entire world... how we can be anywhere even close to that is crazy. Especially as there is at least one domain available for at least each person online.

(plastikaa said @ #2.2)
The solution is to stop squatting om domains. As under ipv4 there is nearly enough for one domain each for the entire world... how we can be anywhere even close to that is crazy. Especially as there is at least one domain available for at least each person online.

You are aware that each domain doesn't have to have its own IP address (Or one at all, for that matter)?

Nope wasn't aware of that... that just makes it even more absurd we are anywhere even close to running out or addresses.

No, it's not absurd. It has to do with the fact that it's basically undoable to give out single IP addresses. If there were somehow possible we could probably go on for some time just using IPv4. (But even then you have to imagine that in the near future we will need many more IP addresses, nowadays only a small percentage of mobile phones need an IP but that's something that will change, imagine a large percentage of the world's population using mobile phones that need an IP! )

But the fact is that IP addresses are given out in "blocks" (or better "ranges" ). And you don't want to be continuously buying small blocks because that would be a system administrator's nightmare. So you buy your ranges with enough room for "growth".

Countries and large internationals get appointed large blocks of IPs which they can distribute among their ISPs/companies/departments.

But all this means that there are a LOT of unused IP addresses waiting to be used by their respective ISPs/companies/etc. and the problem is that if Company A is running out of IP addresses it can't use the free IP addresses of Company B, it just doesn't work that way, so the only thing it can do is buy a new "block" of IP addresses.

IPv6 makes sure that there are SO many addresses that even when taking into account that we waste 80% of them we will still have moooooore than enough addresses.

(plastikaa said @ #2.4)
Nope wasn't aware of that... that just makes it even more absurd we are anywhere even close to running out or addresses.

running out of IP adresses yes, domains? no

(plastikaa said @ #2.2)
The solution is to stop squatting om domains. As under ipv4 there is nearly enough for one domain each for the entire world... how we can be anywhere even close to that is crazy. Especially as there is at least one domain available for at least each person online.

you really have NO idea!!!! go do some research on what DNS is what domain names are and what IP addresses are