What Is DNS Server Exactly?

In the history of the Internet, Elizabeth Feinler has the accolade of being the sole responsible person for collating all of the connected computers on the internet into one file. As the internet grew, this situation became untenable. But do you know what replaced her solitary directory?

That was the DNS server, the mapping system for the internet. Read on as we answer the question “What is DNS server?”

What Is DNS Server?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is an integral part of how information gets from your computer browser from websites and vice versa. Essentially, it is a telephone directory of internet services. 

You start by typing in a domain name, which is the address of a website. Each computer has an Internet Protocol (IP) address. The DNS is the go-between, that assigns domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load the correct information. 

How Does DNS Work?

The process a DNS operates in starts at your computer. There are millions of computers on the internet, each with its own IP address. To store the records of all of these in one place would be impossible, so instead, DNS gets broken down into smaller books and zones. 

When you ask the internet for information, through a browser address or email, the computer asks your own DNS server. This knows how to query other DNS servers, almost like asking for directions. This is known as an upstream query.

DNS Servers That Load a Page

There are four types of DNS servers that can load your webpage. The first is a recursor, and is the one that responds to queries. It will then ask another server for the address or give the IP if it has it. 

A root name server returns a list of authoritative name servers for top-level domains. A TLD name server is one of the highest levels servers. The final destination is the authoritative DNS, which is the place where the requested information is stored. 

Cloud-Based DNS

A cloud DNS service is primarily used by larger companies. It allows companies to publish their record and zones in DNS. However, this is to the cloud, where they do not have the same management and maintenance they would have with their own DNS servers. 

Public and Private

A public DNS server lets anyone access its information. For it to be accessible, it needs a public DNS record. Its IP address also needs to be locatable and not hidden. 

If a company or organization wants its employers to access private information, then it may use internal servers. In this instance, they are not listed in public DNS servers. 

Using DNS Servers

Now you can answer the question “What is DNS server?” then you should understand a little more about how the internet works. For most people, this is irrelevant. However, if you run a business online then you should speak to your hosting company if you believe there may be a problem. 

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