OpenNIC — Democratic Name System

By Blane Warrene

I hapened across OpenNIC ( this morning as I was searching for some public name servers to test against. I had made a DNS change 72 hours ago and some broadband ISP’s were still not picking up the change.

OpenNIC is more than just public DNS — however — for the purposes of my testing, it worked great to confirm that it was in fact the ISP’s and not some errant BIND mistake.

After resolving my issues, I looked a bit further into the site and was pleasantly surprised to find a unique public DNS system in place. Not only could one use these name servers at the server, system or personal computer level, but could also experiment with free alternative Top Level Domains (TLDs) for personal use, i.e. .indy, .geek, .null, .oss and .parody. Now of course these domains are only visible to those using OpenNIC DNS, however, that is what was so interesting to me. One could put a domain on a public server and it is by default restricted to those in the community, great for development and staging, or just for hobbyist efforts.

Secondarily, since OpenNIC supports all the major TLDs (.com, .net, .org, .mil, .gov, .edu and so on including two character country codes), one benefits by also having access to name resolution for the remainder of the Internet. OpenNIC also supports AlterNIC and Pacific Root domains.

Definitely worth a browse to see how some communities on the Internet remain independent and centralized around users.

  • Interesting find, I like the “bbs” TLD.

  • Johnnie

    I had been using as my primary nameserver up until last night when it disappeared off the face of the planet.
    Most of the name servers listed on the website are out of date or just plain dead.
    Sad. Oh well.

  • Brian

    For those who might be interested, OpenNIC lives again! Check us out at


  • Bill

    I’m about to register a .ing domain on OpenNIC. I like the idea but am disappointed in how only OpenNIC users will be able to see my site. I was wondering if there’s a way to register an OpenNIC domain name and also use a traditional one at the same time. So far I haven’t found any answers online

  • Bill

    oops, I wanted to follow up on comments through email. this comment is for that purpose. sorry. *checks the box*

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