The world of internet is essentially about websites and emails. When you type a domain name , e.g. www.example.com in your browser, you are immediately connected to your destination. Similarly, when you type an email id, firstname.lastname@example.org in your email client and send the message to the recipient, it reaches its destination within a few seconds. Looking up websites and sending email messages seem easy to all of us but there is really a very complex process at play here. Behind this seemingly simple process is the DNS or the Domain Name Server or Domain Name System. This article will introduce to the concept of DNS in a simple way.
What is DNS?
A DNS is like a giant phonebook that users consult to connect to their destination domains. A DNS translates a simple sounding domain name, e.g www.example.com to a set of unique numbers. Therefore, this domain name is associated with a unique number but since it is virtually very difficult for us to remember that number, a DNS makes our job simpler by representing that number in terms of www.example.com
IP addresses and Domain Servers
Translating a domain name into an IP address is not an easy task.
- Currently, there are billions of IP addresses globally
- At any moment, DNS servers are cumulatively processing billions of requests to access these IP addresses
- The situation is complicated further by millions of new domain names coming up or getting modified each day
The letters IP represent Internet Protocol and refer to a set of rules governing computer addresses.
How does a DNS work?
When you type the domain name in your browser, it sends a query on the internet to locate the website of your provider. This query here refers to a question seeking to match the domain name with its IP address.
The first server that your question meets is the recursive resolver which is provided by your ISP or wireless carrier. This resolver knows exactly which DNS servers to speak to regarding your query.
The first DNS that your resolver meets is the Root Server. This DNS knows everything about Top Level Domains. So if your destination domain has .com TLD, the Root Server will find all domains that contain com.
There are hundreds of servers strategically located all over the world. These servers are located where the maximum internet activity takes place. Your query will be sent to your nearest server.
In the next stage, the recursive resolver will send the query to your domain’s name server. This server will answer the query of the resolver by locating the precise IP address. This address will be as per IPV4 or IPV6. Most of the IP addresses currently follow the IPV6 protocol.
Now that the recursive resolver knows the IP address of the desired domain, it sends this answer to your browser which visits the IP address and fetches the content of the website. This chain of events looks complicated but it takes just a fraction of a second.
While your content delivery ideally should take hardly a second, sometimes it takes several seconds but this delay hasn’t got to do with the DNS server performance at all. You may have to optimize the performance of your web hosting in this case. VPS Hosting is ideally the preferred option when it comes to hosting as it provides a lot of room for customization. With full root access, you can optimize the site performance to the fullest.
A DNS plays a critical role in resolving domain related queries on the internet. It is like a giant phone directory that matches IP addresses with domains. IP addresses are series of numbers separated by dots and it is nearly impossible to remember those.