1st .com domain name is registered, March 15, 1985

-March 15, 2017

The first .com domain name, symbolics.com, was created on March 15, 1985 by Massachusetts computer company Symbolics Inc.


The Symbolics 3640 Lisp machine running the Genera operating system. (Michael L Umbricht and Carl R Friend Retro-Computing Society of RI)
The first domain name, created in January of 1985, was actually Nordu.net, which was used to serve as the identifier of the first root server, nic.nordu.net. Symbolics.com was the first domain name to be registered through the DNS (Domain Name System) process.

At that time the Internet was a noncommercial medium used more as a military and academic tool. It would be years before the World Wide Web and Web browsers allowed just about everything and everyone to be represented with a .com address.

Only five other companies registered a domain name in 1985: bbn.com, think.com, mcc.com, dec.com, and northrop.com. Other notable computer companies registered their domains over the next several years including IBM, Sun, Intel, and AMD in 1986, Apple and Cisco Systems in 1987, and Microsoft in 1991.

Today there are over 296 million domain names in existence, and about 118 million are .com extensions.

In 2009, symbolics.com was sold to XF.com Investments, a domain-aggregation company. It now hosts the blog of XF.com founder Aron Meystedt, who says on the site: "For me, personally, I am excited (and honored) to hold the first .com ever registered. Since domain names are my business, I am happy to be the owner of this fantastic piece of Internet history."

Symbolics was conceived at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab and best-known for designing and manufacturing a line of Lisp machines, single-user computers optimized to run the Lisp programming language. The machines became the first commercially available “general-purpose computers” or “workstations” before those terms were coined.

The company also wrote a fully object-oriented operating system and development environment called "Genera" to run on those workstations, and its software was used to create scenes in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," among other things.

Symbolics was a member of the Route 128 corridor of high-tech firms that contributed to the "Massachusetts Miracle" period of economic growth. The company still exists today as a privately held company that sells and maintains its products, but has a new address: symbolics-dks.com.

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For more moments in tech history, see this blog.
EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on March 15, 2013 and edited on March 15, 2017. 


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