Domain names in messages are expressed in terms of a sequence of labels. Each label is represented as a one octet length field followed by that number of octets. Since every domain name ends with the null label of the root, a domain name is terminated by a length byte of zero. The high order two bits of every length octet must be zero, and the remaining six bits of the length field limit the label to 63 octets or less.
To simplify implementations, the total length of a domain name (i.e., label octets and label length octets) is restricted to 255 octets or less.
Although labels can contain any 8 bit values in octets that make up a label, it is strongly recommended that labels follow the preferred syntax described elsewhere in this memo, which is compatible with existing host naming conventions. Name servers and resolvers must compare labels in a case-insensitive manner (i.e., A=a), assuming ASCII with zero parity. Non-alphabetic codes must match exactly.