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What is a Domain Name Server and How Does It Work?

A domain name server (DNS) is an essential component on a network because it provides a way for your computer to register and translate domain names to IP addresses. A domain name server is a large database that has literally millions of people requesting domain names on a daily basis in the place of IP addresses.

How Domain Name Servers Work

Instead of using IP addresses that are difficult to remember, a domain name server provides a way for computer users on a network to identify a location by name instead of having to remember a numeric address that can be lengthy and complex.

  • IP Addresses: IP addresses are unique Internet Protocol addresses that are assigned to each machine on a network and on the Internet. Each machine contains a dotted decimal number such as 51.32.142.31 that specifically identifies the location of that machine on the network or the Internet. Every computer that is connected to the Internet contains an IP address and every server has its own IP address. The IP address is what allows your computer to talk to the server.
  • Domain Names: Domain names were created to provide an easier way for computers to communicate with servers without having to remember a string of numbers. It is much easier to remember words than a specific set of numbers. A domain name is URL that you frequently use such as www.domain.com or www.yourname.net and is used to identify a specific location on a domain name server. The syllable that follows the dot determines the type of domain. For example ".gov" means it is a government domain, and ".com" means it is a commercial domain for conducting online commerce.
  • Domain Name Server System: The domain name server system handles requests for domain names and works with IP addresses of all of the computers connected to the Internet. The server is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses from individual computer users as well as other name servers. When you use your browser to enter a domain name address, the browser converts the address into an IP address so it can communicate with the domain name server to locate a Web page. The domain name server then contacts root name servers that manage all of the IP addresses for the domain names.

Domain name servers are responsible for handling the requests for the domain names which mean a domain name server is a very large database that handles requests from the entire world over the Internet. Without a domain name server, surfing the Internet or using a network would be much more complex and require a lot more details to access Web pages.

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