The domain name system is a technological marvel that enables seemingly magical experiences like online purchasing, video chatting across oceans, and downloading music and movies to a mobile device (DNS). To maintain connectivity for the world’s billions of internet users and more than 300 million domain names, DNS is an extremely robust network.
The Domain Name System is the backbone of the internet we use daily. Every time you send an email or visit a website, this invisible network is hard at work in the background. Many people think of DNS as the “phone book” of the internet. Locating a person’s phone number is the first step in making a call. DNS does what a phone book does for names: it translates human-readable email addresses and URLs into numeric IP addresses that computers can understand.
As a website owner, you know that Domain Name System (DNS) is a complex topic with many facets that affect your daily life. Listen up, domain owners: the Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for several aspects of your domain. Stay with us if you want to learn more about the inner workings of the internet as a whole.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a crucial component of every website, and in this article, we will cover the fundamentals of the DNS, including how it functions, its purpose, and the connection between your domain name and the DNS.
What does DNS Mean?
In addition to “name server,” “domain name system server,” and “nameserver,” the DNS is known by numerous other names. No matter what you call it, it’s the same: organising domain names alphabetically. Similarly, Domain Name System (DNS) can refer to the hierarchical system that searches through the network of millions of IP addresses to find the precise IP of your desired website.
The Basics of DNS Operation
An IP address is a unique number that identifies each device on the internet, including computers, smartphones, smart speakers like Google Home, and even smart appliances like internet-connected refrigerators. In its full form, an IP address is a series of integers uniquely identifying each digital device on the internet.
Now that we have a Domain Name System (DNS), we can forget about keeping track of IP addresses in a separate book. When you type in a domain name, the DNS service finds the site you’re looking for and converts it to its numerical Internet Protocol address. Since alphanumeric domain names like “www.google.com” are much easier to remember than numerical IP addresses, all you need to do to access Google’s website is to memorise the URL.
- IP addresses track a device online and forward data (website info, emails, etc.) between computers. As soon as you enter a domain name like Amazon.com into your browser, your computer and browser look up whether they already know the associated IP address.
- If Amazon.com isn’t found in your machine’s cached memory, the search moves online to check the Domain Name System (DNS) servers. If the requested domain name server isn’t identified at the first DNS, the request is sent to the next available DNS. The Amazon.com domain name, for instance, points to servers maintained by Amazon Web Services. When you put Amazon.com into your web browser, you are taken directly to Amazon’s servers thanks to the domain name system.
- Once the DNS server locates the desired domain name, such as “amazon.com,” it sends that information along to the requesting DNS server, which then sends it to the next DNS server, and so on, until it reaches your computer.
- The browser then uses this IP address to locate the request’s source on the web. The next step is for it to make contact with the host where the domain name is registered to get any associated files. The files needed to render Amazon.com in your browser are sent to you by the host server.
Typically, a dedicated server handles DNS operations for a website. Typically, two DNS servers are set up on the router and the computer to connect to the ISP using DHCP. For redundancy, in case, the main server goes down, you can set up a second one. If your computer cannot establish a connection with the primary server, it will immediately connect to the backup server.
In most cases, the time it takes to conduct a DNS lookup, locate the requested website, and return the results is negligible. When the query is resolved, the client is connected to the target server, and the DNS server can process the next request.
Probably your domain is pointing to your ISP’s DNS servers. You shouldn’t, but it’s not required. Several alternative DNS servers may offer quicker response times. Since Google uses a page’s load time as a ranking factor, speed is a crucial component of SEO. Experts advise using a hosting service that guarantees high speeds and high availability for your website’s users.
When your website is hosted, it is temporarily stored on a computer connected to the internet. When someone visits your website via their browser and enters your domain name, the cached pages are fetched from the internet and displayed. Hosted domain name system services are just one example of this.
There are free and paid DNS hosting services available, and many domain registrars offer to host in addition to domain registration. Namecheap, for instance, provides a FreeDNS service for those whose registrars don’t provide DNS hosting with domain registration and a Premium DNS hosting platform that may be used with domain names registered with any registrar.
As was previously indicated, a domain’s nameservers can be switched. Your domain’s nameservers will forward your query to the organisation that manages your domain’s DNS settings. In most cases, you’ll register a new domain (the company you registered the domain name with). If your domain is hosted elsewhere, they will offer you a list of alternative servers to point your name to.
DNS propagation is the time it takes for an ISP to update their caches with the updated DNS information for your domain after you’ve made changes to them. Because your updates must go through multiple ISP nodes before reaching the hosting server, the process can seem to take an interminable amount of time.
You must identify your domain name registrar before making changes to your nameservers. Using Whois DNS Lookup, you may discover the hostname associated with an IP address. If you’re unsure who your DNS provider is or want to know who hosts a specific domain, you can use this browser-based network tool to do so.
You may perform a Whois Lookup with most domain name registrars. All registered domain names have contact information stored in a central database called Whois, which ICANN oversees. Information such as whether or not a domain is registered, when that registration expires, and the contact information for the current owner can all be found in the database.
Components of Domain Names
Each of the several record types that make up a domain can be used to point your DNS in a new direction. Which one you should choose to enter your data depends on your situation’s specifics. You may set up A, AAAA, CNAME, SRV, NS, TXT, MX, MXE, and URL redirect records.
- The IP address of a certain server can be pointed to using an A Record. The A record is the principal record associated with a domain name, specifying how your domain should respond to a user’s request for your website. You can link a domain or subdomain to an IP address using an A record (Address record) (32-bit).
- Similar to how an A record points to a 32-bit IPv4 address, an AAAA record does the same for a 128-bit IPv6 address.
- When setting up a CNAME record, you can point your domain or subdomain to a different hostname’s IP address. A domain name that is an alias of another is revealed in this record. Because the CNAME already has the IP, you won’t have to worry about updating your DNS entries if the IP of the target hostname ever changes.
- An MX Record must be set up to ensure that messages are sent to the correct server. For security reasons, MX records should not directly point to an IP address but to a hostname.
- One can assign a subdomain to a specific nameserver with the NS Record. If your subdomain is hosted elsewhere, this is a useful feature to have.