Tech 101: What is DNS?

Not everyone is tech savvy. For those still on the learning curve, we will provide a series of articles that provide some info on a variety of topics. In this entry, the basics about DNS servers will be covered.

DNS is short for Domain Name Service, Domain Name System or Domain Name Server. DNS is basically an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses.  Some people compare DNS to a phone directory.

The Internet uses names to identify and locate resources. A name is what we seek. An address is where it’s housed and a route tells us how to get there. There are two main Internet name systems: 1) Numeric IP address systems, and 2) Alphanumeric domain name system. IP, or Internet protocol is the original standard for communications on the Internet.

Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example: The domain name might translate into The DNS system is in fact its own network. If one DNS server doesn’t know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on until the correct IP address is returned. Without DNS servers, the Internet would shut down quickly.

There are billions of IP address currently in use and DNS servers cumulatively process billions of requests across the Internet at any given time. This is also a landscape that is constantly changing, millions of people are adding and changing domain names each day. With so much information to handle, DNS servers rely on internet protocols and network efficiency. This, in a nutshell is how DNS works.

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