What is a domain name server (DNS server)? An easy-to-understand explanation of the basic concepts of Internet communication

Explanation of IT Terms

What is a Domain Name Server (DNS Server)?

A domain name server (DNS server) plays a crucial role in the functioning of the internet by translating human-friendly domain names into computer-readable IP addresses. In simpler terms, it is like a phone book of the internet, mapping domain names to the corresponding server locations.

When we type a website address into our web browser, such as www.example.com, the DNS server comes into action. It looks up the domain name and provides the IP address associated with that domain. Think of it as a translator that converts the name into a numeric address, which the internet understands.

DNS servers work on a hierarchical system with multiple levels. At the top level, there are root servers that store information about the top-level domains like .com, .org, .net, etc. Below the root servers are the authoritative DNS servers, which are responsible for specific domains and keep records of the IP addresses and other related information for those domains.

Let’s say we want to access a specific page on www.example.com. First, our computer sends a request to the DNS server, which may be provided by our internet service provider (ISP) or a public DNS server like Google DNS or Cloudflare DNS. The DNS server checks its cache for the IP address of www.example.com. If it doesn’t find it there, it proceeds to query other DNS servers in a recursive process to find the authoritative DNS server for the domain.

Once the authoritative DNS server is found, it provides the IP address of the specific page on www.example.com to our computer. Our web browser then uses this IP address to establish a connection to the server hosting the website, and the requested web page is displayed.

DNS servers are essential for the smooth functioning of the internet because without them, we would have to remember and type IP addresses instead of domain names. They help provide a user-friendly browsing experience while efficiently directing traffic to the correct servers.

In conclusion, a DNS server is a vital part of internet infrastructure that converts domain names into IP addresses, allowing us to access websites easily. It acts as a behind-the-scenes wizard, ensuring that our requests reach the intended destinations on the internet.

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