A safe domain for your sample data and documentation

Have you ever written sample data for your software project and paused, just for a split second, to think about the domain name you’d use for your example content?  You probably ended up using something like test.com, myorg.org, etc.  Then, when you distributed the sample data to users, they, as you could expect, used the data in their reports/email blasts/actions.


So what’s a software designer to do?  We want to make sure we’re giving useful examples so people can use our software before they fully commit to creating their own data into our systems.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) accepted RFC2606 way back in 1999 to help us all out.  They’ve defined the following second level domain names as effectively “off-limits” for anyone to buy and use.  Instead, all of us in the software development world can use it for our sample data and documentation.

  • example.com
  • example.org
  • example.net

If someone sends a message to those domains, or connects to this domain, essentially, nothing happens.  A safe harbor for your sample data!

So, before you run off and create your next batch of sample data or documentation, just to be safe, consider using these special domains to protect your users from inadvertently sending data to active domains.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under development, open source. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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