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What is DNS?

What is DNS?

Domain Name System (DNS) turns domain names into an IP address, allowing browsers to load pages on the internet. IP addresses are different on every device that has an internet connection and is used by other devices on the internet to locate each other. But how does this actually work?

What is DNS?

Domain Name System (DNS) turns domain names into an IP address, allowing browsers to load pages on the internet. IP addresses are different on every device that has an internet connection and is used by other devices on the internet to locate each other. But how does this actually work?

DNS converts the hostname of a website into an IP, which is allocated to every device on the internet and is a very important key in loading up web pages. So, when a person is trying to load up a webpage, it has to be translated. For instance, when you type in a web domain, such as ukbss.com, the web browser and machine address need to be translated in order to locate the webpage.

But, to go a bit further into explaining how DNS servers work to load up a webpage, there are 4 main things to look into:

The root nameserver is said to be the first step in translating hostnames into an IP address, acting as a reference to specific locations for Ips.

A DNS recursor is a server that receives queries and input from the user’s machine through a web browser/search engine, this recursor then has to complete the DNS query/input given by the client

A Top Level Domain (TLD) nameserver helps to search the specific IP address and is what hosts the very last section of a hostname, which you may see often ends in ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’ ‘.org’ and more.

The authoritative nameserver translates a specific name into a definition and is the last step in translation. Once the authoritative nameserver gets access to the requested information and records needed it then returns the IP address for the hostname to the DNS recursor that made the original request.

Recursive DNS resolver and Authoritative DNS servers

It’s also important to know about the differences of DNS types, as there is a lot of parts that devise it. For example, authoritative DNS servers and recursive DNS resolvers are very important parts that should be well known to people dealing with them, they both carry out vital operations for the DNS infrastructure and both have different jobs.

Recursive DNS resolvers is the machine/computer that responds to a request from a user, it then tracks the DNS record for that request, in order to do this though, it then makes multiple requests (though multiple are not always needed) until it is able to reach the authoritative DNS nameserver for the record required.

As for authoritative DNS servers, they are the server that holds and is in charge of the DNS resource records. The DNS resource records is part of the DNS lookup chain which responds with the requested/queried resource record, which allows the user’s web browser/search engine making requests to reach the IP address required for the website they’re looking for.

DNS lookup

DNS is all about domain names and translating IP addresses, which happens in 8 different steps. These steps show and explain the process of how DNS lookup works.

Firstly, when a user types in a domain name into their web browser/search engine, the query is then received by the recursive DNS resolver.

Secondly, the resolver will then put a query on the DNS root nameserver.

After the resolver has queried it, the root server responds with the address of the TLD DNS server, which is related to the ending section of the domain such as ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ where some of the information for domains is stored, it helps organise websites in a way as any sites ending with ‘.co.uk’ is then sent to the appropriate TLD that specialises in ‘.co.uk’.

Once this process has occurred, the resolver makes a request to the appropriate TLD according to the ending of the web domain name.

This TLD server will then respond and answer with the IP for that domains nameserver.

Finally, the recursive DNS resolver sends a query to the domains nameserver, and the IP address is then given back and returned to the resolver, meaning the DNS resolver responds to the web browser/search engine with the IP address that the user had requested at the beginning of the process for the domain they wanted.

There are a couple extra processes that occur after the IP had been returned to the user’s browser, where the browser makes a HTTP request for the IP address and the server for that IP then returns the website allowing it to be rendered and loaded within the user’s browser.

Premium DNS

An additional thing to be noted is that a premium version of DNS exists, also sometimes known as managed DNS. Premium DNS is designed to help improve security and performance of websites by giving you access and control over your DNS setting features.

By having premium DNS, it can help improve DNS connectivity and speed it up by making any queries connect to the nearest server, and every internet user likes a quick connection, so it can help you entice visitors into becoming customers; but premium DNS can help as well with reducing the number of errors regarding your website such as “404 not found” errors. Some companies that offer a premium DNS service, will give you Domain Name Security Extensions (DNSSEC) which adds an extra layer of security onto your domain by putting a digital signature onto the DNS, helping to prevent any misleading or illegitimate addresses happening.

Premium DNS services are great for keeping your website a safe and secure space from hackers, it helps to protect any visitors that come across your website from having their private data stolen or being redirected to malicious websites. Additionally, it ensures that you actually continue to get visitors onto your website, since premium DNS usually has DDoS protection, which stands for Denial-of-Service attack and can prevent visitors from going onto your website, making you potentially lose out on customers if you are targeted. However, with DDoS protection on your site, it helps to make sure that your website, domain, and mail systems continue to stay up and running.