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Everything you want to know about domain name system (DNS)

DNS server
October 19, 2020
Author: Hamster, www.hostens.com

The intermediary link that joins Uniform Resource Locator (URL) with their Internet Protocol (IP) address is termed as Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS allows the users (or internet surfers) to key-in words, alphabets, or keywords to locate their preferred website and send messages by using familiarized names into the web browser in place of numerical values.

How does the entire search’ process take place?

  • Firstly, a domain name is typed in a browser by the user.
  • Immediately this query is matched with its matching IP address, employing the internet.
  • On locating the domain name, i.e., the generated query, all the web-contents are retrieved using the IP address.
  • Interestingly, the entire process is completed within milliseconds!

Some of you might find it very amusing while using various online facilities like video chatting, online shopping, live video streaming, and downloading high-quality music, which is impeccably possible because of the latest technological advancement – Domain Name System (DNS). You will be amazed to know that the DNS network roughly connects billions of online users and handles over 300+ million domain names!

DNS empowers additional surfing strength to you and acts behind the scene with utmost transparency for all the online actions taken – like sending an email, loading a website, etc. To understand DNS’s exact meaning, it is beautifully personified as the Telephone Book of The Internet. To call someone, you should know the telephone number. How will you proceed? It would be best if you locate the contact name and then dial the number. Likewise, DNS transforms all the typed-in websites and email addresses into the Computer-Friendly Language, i.e., Numerical IP addresses.

If you are a proud owner of a website, you might find DNS a complex subject that directly affects your daily life. If you own any domain, then you should understand DNS because varied features of your domain name are controlled by it.

Remember, there is a huge virtual world behind the colossal World Wide Web (www)!

Read further to gain sufficient knowledge of this interesting world! Stay Tuned!

The main gist of this article is to provide you with the following interesting facts about DNS:

  • Complexities of the DNS
  • Basics of how DNS works
  • Why DNS exists
  • The relation of DNS with your domain name

What is the exact meaning of the domain name system (DNS)?

DNS is also known by various other names like – Domain Name System Server, Nameserver, and Server – but irrespective of its name, the final aim is to define the procedure of creating domain names alphabetically. DNS also denotes a categorized or ranking methodology used to locate the exact website IP address you are looking for through the complex network of all the available IP addresses.

How does the domain name system (DNS) work?

All the available resources connected to the Internet have their unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. These resources include – Mobile Phone, Desktops, Laptops, Websites, Tablets, Google Home, Internet Thermostats, Refrigerators, etc., All such resources or digital devices that are capable of connecting to the internet via the world wide web are assigned with a unique string of numbers, which is termed as that device’s unique Internet Protocol Address.

Hence, DNS is a boon to the Internet World because; we need not maintain any IP Address book! Whenever you key-in the website or domain name (in your desired language), DNS immediately locates the domain and converts that name into its corresponding IP address. It is human nature to remember the URL name alphabetically rather than its numerical number. Just imagine one situation – remembering www.Facebook.com is easy or its numerical IP address?

Following are the necessary steps taken by DNS as soon as you commence your online activity:

1 Checking query: 

The IP address will help establish the transfer of information (like emails, website data, etc.) correctly between the source computer and the destination computer. To quote an example, whenever you type Facebook.com on your web-browser – irrespective of your resource (like a laptop, mobile phone, or laptop) – instantaneously, not only your browser but even your resource checks for the IP address of Facebook.com in their respective memories. Your resource will store the IP address in its cache memory.

2 Locating query:

If your resource fails to locate Facebook.com in its cached memory, it will further expand its search to the internet within milliseconds. In this process, your resource will ask the DNS to confirm whether the IP address of Facebook.com is available in its database? Now, it is the DNS’s responsibility to search the desired IP address, and if it fails to find it on its server (where the query originated), it will forward the query to the next DNS. It will repeat the entire process of forwarding the query till the correct domain name server is located. Coming back to your query – Facebook.com – as soon as it is located, the domain name system will access the website.

3 Returning query:

As soon as the DNS server successfully locates the desired query, i.e., Facebook.com, the destination DNS server immediately returns all the details like Domain Name and the IP address to its source DNS. In short, the search chain starts from your computer and is extended to an n-number of DNS in between until it reaches the correct domain name and IP address. The entire process of returning the details is routed via all the DNS until it reaches your desktop (resource).

4 Display query:

The process of finding the IP address ends when this address reaches your resource, i.e., Computer. Now, your web-browser finds this address on the internet. Then the process of virtual communication commences between the desired domain (Facebook.com) and your resource. The host server will return all the desired files and show Facebook.com in your web browser.

How is the domain name system (DNS) organized?

The World Wide Web comprises huge computer networks across the world connected over the ground or under the sea. To know how the query raised by you is acted upon; the following are certain elements that require proper attention:

Third-Level Domain (TLD) – It is a subdomain that appears before the second-level domain. For example – www is the well-established third-level domain and also takes alternative forms like books.google.com.

Second-Level Domain (SLD) – This comprises the domain’s name immediately left of the third level domain. It is the name of your website. To quote an example (TLD) www. (SLD)Facebook.com, Facebook is the Second-Level Domain, which lies between the third and top-level domains.

Top-Level Domain – The extreme right point of the domain, which is universally identified as .com. Concerning the hierarchy, TLD tops the domain name list. Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers (ICANN) directs TLDs and enhances dispersal of TLDs via the domain register Facebook (in the above example)

IP Address – In other words, it is the internet address of any website. No two different addresses are common. The foremost IP addresses are called IPv4, which are written as a set of four numbers. Every set has three numbers that are divided by a dot, i.e. “.”! The DNS will remove the tedious work of storing the complicated IP addresses in numerical format. The IP address of Facebook.com is What is easy to remember – the numerical format or just www.Facebook.com?

How are domains mapped to IP addresses?

The birth of DNS servers is because of one major reason – Human Care. Instead of a numerical IP address format, the alphabetical format is highly human-friendly. DNS takes eight steps to convert the domain name to IP address:

  1. As soon as you type any domain address like www.hostens.com, your web-browser passes on the message to the network for support, in Internet language – the ‘query’.
  2. Your resource (say laptop) connects itself to a recursive resolver for any such previous IP address.
  3. When the recursive resolver does not find the desired IP address, then the query is passed onto the DNS root name servers.
  4. The root name servers immediately decide to direct your ISP via DNS hierarchy by suggesting your ISP recursive resolver and scanning the top-level domain.
  5. As soon as the resolver finds the desired IP address from any DNS, the details are forwarded to the applicable DNS. Here, the DNS servers are studying the second-level domain.
  6. Every domain has a fixed set of DNS name servers that hold the IP address, including all information about the domain.
  7. At this stage, your ISP provider’s Resolvers retrieve the record for Amazon.com from the authorized server. It is stored in your device’s cache memory.
  8. Last but not the least step is – your ISP’s recursive servers convey the desired record onto your computer, wherein it can read the information about the domain. At this stage, it will forward the IP address to your browser. Instantly, your browser gets authorization to open the connection to www.amazon.com and you can commence your online activities.

For your information, this entire 8-step connection process is completed within one-tenth of the second and is dependent on the DNS speed!

How to work on the domain name system (DNS) configuration?

Almost all the websites are featured with facilities to take care of its DNS. Mostly, two DNS servers are configured on your modem/router. This facilitates the computer connection to ISP through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). You can configure two numbers in case the main server flops. Whenever there is any connection problem with the primary server, the secondary server will be active.

Any DNS lookup process comprises a nanosecond turnaround time to locate and deliver your query. As soon as the lookup is successful, the destination computer connects itself to the source computer.

Usually, your domain uses your ISP’s default DNS servers. But seldom should you worry as there are lots of third-party DNS servers that allow faster results. The most important factor in SEO and Google ranking is the website loading speed. The recommendation is to opt for a reliable hosting that is blended with the least uptime and speed and assures the website’s top-page ranking.

What is DNS hosting?

Similar to parking your car most comfortably, Hosting’ also means to park your website on a computer (or server) that is connected to the internet. Even if you or your computer is in sleep mode, and someone tries to access your website address, all the stored pages are retrieved and accessed by the user. It is the exact meaning of DNS Hosting!

Most of the Domain Name Administrators offer dual services – Domain Hosting blended with Registration. They also offer premium and free of cost DNS hosting services.

Free DNS services:

You can always opt for the free DNS services if you are a novice. And once you find it lucrative, you can upgrade as per your choice at a later stage. One suggestion here is, if you have a very small business turnover, always go for Free DNS, in place of Premium DNS. Most of the registrars offer to publish blended with modification of MX, A, SRV, CNAME, TXT, and various other records. If you feel this is sufficient, then opt for the free DNS service.

Premium DNS services:

The main advantages of Premium DNS services are – Quick response time to the visitors, maximum uptime, and commanding security methods. The premium plans offer:

  • Superior reporting competences
  • Load balancing
  • Other tools are helpful to build complicated applications throughout the multiple service providers.
  • Additional security level against hackers.

What is DNS propagation?

It is always feasible to change the nameservers for a domain. Nameservers are responsible for a domain name to the company that controls its DNS settings, stored in the Domain Name Registrar. But, in case if your domain is from other providers, they offer different server pointers.

This is DNS propagation and takes around 72 hours to complete. During these changes, the ISP updates their cache memory with the latest DNS information. The reason for this delay is all the changes are processed through various ISP nodes before reaching the hosting server.

You should locate the details of your domain service provider if you want to change your nameservers. In case you want to find the hostname of an IP address, visit WHOis DNS Lookup and get all the desired details.

What are the DNS privacy protection protocols?

In case you wish to transfer the services of your domain, Namecheap provides WhoisGuard – one of the privacy protection services. It allows you to interchange the contact information with Namecheap contact information. No one will be able to access your public details!

What are the domain name elements?

Various types depending on the information you enter and redirect your DNS. You can set CNAME, SRV, A, AAAA, MXE, URL, MX, TXT, NS redirect records.

A Record: It directs your domain to an individual server. Every domain has a primary A’ record and the information controls what exactly your domain does when any visitor visits your website. A’ record means Address Record allows you to subordinate a subdomain or domain name with an IP address (32-bit).

AAAA Record: Works in the same way as’A’ record except, it allows you to direct the domain to a 128-bit lpv6 address.

  • CNAME: It redirects your domain or subdomain to the destination hostname’s IP address. This record confirms the domain name code-named of another name. The main advantage is, in case there is a change in the IP address of the destination hostname, you need not update your DNS records as CNAME will comprise the same IP.

MX Record: This record diverts mails to the designated mail server. Remember, MX records should always point to the hostname and not directly to the IP address.

NS Record: It allows you to pass on a subdomain to a nameserver associated with the domain. This is useful when your subdomain is differently hosted from the domain name.


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