In today's highly technological world, becoming lost in the big, highly technical words and terminologies is normal and common. While we can operate the essential devices, understanding the process behind the actions and reactions that occur with each of our clicks - or the clicks of our customers and site visitors - is a different ball game. Nonetheless, we can respond more appropriately once we have the website information.
Domain Name System (DNS) is a system used to convert domain names into IP addresses. When you type in a domain name, such as www.google.com, your computer will use DNS to find the IP address for that domain. DNS is used by all computers that are connected to the Internet.
What is DNS?
The process of converting names into addresses is referred to as DNS, or Domain Name System. That is, domain names are converted into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. This process enables the domain system to translate something we typed into an address that our computers and smartphones can read and recognise. To be more specific, when we enter "example.com" into our browsers, the DNS converts it to "192.168.1.1" (this is an example).
To provide some context, all of your devices (laptops, computers, tablets, and smartphones) and all of the content servers communicate with one another using numbers. These figures enable the internet and our technological devices to be useful to us. These numbers are known as IP addresses. Each device has its own IP address, which can be either private or public.
A domain is the name of your website. Websites like Google and Instagram now have multiple IP addresses associated with their domain. Consider if we were asked or required to enter our IP address when searching for something online. Seems far too difficult and complicated, doesn't it? Well, the DNS server and DNS records that are currently in place assist us in avoiding this. Essentially, your domain name system is an automated phone book that connects the domain name you type into the browser to the correct domain.
DNS and its entire process promote efficiency. We no longer have to remember the specific IP addresses of websites we need to access thanks to the domain name system. And, because the system is set up in such a way that these domain names are distributed in various directories around the world, we have access to the 300+ domain names via this DNS. These various directories almost constantly communicate with one another to ensure that everything is always up to date.
Types of DNS Name Servers
A DNS name server can be either authoritative or recursive. An authoritative name server stores DNS records for a specific zone and answers queries for records in that zone. A recursive name server, on the other hand, does not store DNS records. Instead, it forwards queries to other DNS name servers until the query is answered or a timeout occurs.
Recursive query is the most common type of DNS query on the Internet. A recursive query is forwarded to other DNS name servers until an answer is returned or a timeout occurs. The DNS server receiving a recursive query is called a recursive resolver.
A DNS name server can also be configured to answer queries for specific zones, such as a forward zone. A forward zone is a zone that is configured to forward queries to other DNS name servers.
The Domain Name System is maintained by a distributed database system using the client–server model. The nodes of this database are the name servers and each domain has at least one authoritative DNS server. The authoritative DNS server publishes information about that domain and the name servers of any domains subordinate to it. The top of the hierarchy is served by the root name servers, the servers to which all other servers can be referred.
Importance of Subdomains
Domain names are organized in the DNS tree's subordinate levels (subdomains). The root domain is the highest level in the DNS tree, often represented by an empty string. For example, the domain name www.example.com consists of the subdomain www, the root domain example, and the top-level domain com. The root domain does not need to be accurate; it may be a dummy domain used solely for organizational purposes. For example, all the DNS servers in a particular geographic region may be grouped in the b. root domain, with each server having a name as server.b.
Subdomains are created by adding a new component to the DNS name. For example, the DNS name www.example.com can be split into the subdomains www. and example.com. The resulting DNS name would be www.example.com.
How DNS Works?
When you type a URL into your browser, the browser looks up the DNS name of the website you are trying to visit. The DNS server then looks up the IP address corresponding to that name. Here are the main cores used in the working of DNS:
1) The Query
The query looks up the DNS records for a given domain name. This process is performed by the DNS server when it receives a request from a client for a given domain name.
The query process begins with the DNS server receiving a query from a client. The query contains the domain name that the client is looking up. The DNS server then looks up the DNS records for the given domain name. If the DNS server does not have the DNS records for the given domain name, it will send a query to another DNS server. This process is repeated until the DNS server finds the DNS records for the given domain name. The DNS server then responds to the client with the DNS records.
2) The Recursive Solver
Your query will encounter numerous DNS servers on its journey to provide us with the required website. The recursive solver is the first one up. The point person is the recursive solver. You recognize the grocery store or department store employees who you ask for directions or specifics on which aisle to go to find what you're looking for. You can also think of it as a front desk clerk who directs you in the right direction or locates people who can help you further. Your ISP, a third-party provider, or a wireless carrier typically manages the recursive solver. Essentially, this DNS server routes your query to the other DNS servers that will fulfill it - and thus your request.
3) The Root Server
A root server is a DNS server that stores the information for the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS). The root zone is the highest level of the DNS hierarchy tree and contains all the DNS records for the root domain, which is the DNS name for the DNS root zone. The root servers are the authoritative DNS servers for the root zone and are the first step in resolving a DNS query.
Consider it similar to a map or the hanging aisle signs at a grocery store or department store. It will provide specific information, including references and directions to where everything is located. It is the first real step in DNS towards translating the domain to the IP address. It's mind-boggling to consider that there are 300 million or more domain names and only about 13 root servers with 13 identifiable IP addresses.
The root servers are also critical because they help to keep the DNS hierarchy tree organized. The root servers are the DNS servers for the root domain, which is the DNS name for the DNS root zone. The root domain is the highest level of the DNS hierarchy tree. The root servers help to keep the DNS hierarchy tree organized by storing the information for the root zone.
4) Top-level DNS Server
The top-level DNS server hosts the last part of the hostname. ".com," ".net," and ".tv," are some of the common examples regarding top-level domains. The top-level DNS contains information about second-level domains such as "example.com," "example.net," "example.tv," and so on. It's like finding the right aisle or rack where all the items you're looking for are stacked. This DNS server is not the final server to which your query is routed, but it brings us closer to the end goal. It specifies the IP address of the domain's name server.
5) Domain Name Server
The domain name server is the final server with which your query interacts before reaching its conclusion. It is the last stop on your journey. Because it has domain authority, this server knows the exact IP address of the full domain name. This IP address is then returned to the DNS recursive resolver that initiated the request. Essentially, the domain name server completes the DNS process and provides the recursive resolver with all the information needed to answer the query we typed in.
6) The Website
Finally, once the recursive resolver receives the answer to the query - the IP address of the domain name you are looking for - it can send a message containing the IP address to the browser you used. Your browser will send a message to this website's IP address requesting access to its content. It is the final step in the DNS process. Because as soon as the website accepts the access request, the website you want to view will appear.
Remember that while this process involves many steps and goes through various channels to reach its conclusion, it happens in the blink of an eye.
All of these steps, as well as many specific processes, are completed in the blink of an eye.
Benefits of DNS
DNS is a critical part of the Internet infrastructure and enables users to find and connect to websites easily. Here are some of the benefits of using a DNS system:
- DNS is more scalable than the hosts' file. The hosts file is responsible for mapping hostnames to IP addresses. It can be edited manually to add or remove entries. However, DNS is more scalable because it uses a centralized database. Changes to DNS records can be made in one place and propagated to all DNS servers. It makes it much easier to manage DNS on an extensive network.
- DNS is more reliable than the host's file. DNS is more reliable because it uses a distributed database. If one DNS server goes offline, another server can resolve host names. This redundancy makes DNS more reliable than the hosts' files.
- DNS is faster than the hosts' file. DNS is faster because DNS servers cache records. It means that DNS servers store a copy of the DNS records.
Manage Domain Name System on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly
- Register on Strikingly and login to your account
- Move to your dashboard and click on the "Domains" menu
Image taken from Strikingly
You can manage your DNS basics and access your DNS information by visiting this page. It is unique to each website and domain you currently have linked to Strikingly. Here are some of the things that you can do with your DNS server on your Strikingly website:
- View your DNS's contact and registration information.
- Renew your domain.
- Manage or add DNS records.
Image taken from Strikingly
DNS records contain details about your domain. It includes the IP address assigned to your website, how that domain handles requests, and the specific instructions about your domain name that are stored in the authoritative DNS server.
Image taken from Strikingly
Having your website, whether for business or personal use, means you are involved in the DNS process daily. Because your website is one of the millions of domain names listed on the servers, you have a specific place and thus responsibility. Knowing this information gives you more in-depth knowledge of the domain settings you interact with and manage your website. Making a website is one thing, but dealing with the technical aspects that allow it to be more efficient and valuable for you (and your business) is an entirely different story. And now that you have this new information, you can be more informed and in control of your website and the domain settings that go with it.
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Strikingly provides various templates to help you start building your website, but signing up with Strikingly allows you to create your website with multiple features. It also assists you in managing your domain settings. You will be guided as you enter the world of websites and domains. Sign up for Strikingly right now.
DNS is essential to how the Internet works, yet it is often taken for granted. At its core, DNS is a simple database that maps human-readable domain names to IP addresses. However, how DNS is implemented makes it a powerful tool that can be used to improve your website's performance, security, and reliability.
If you want to improve your website's performance, you can use DNS to improve the speed of your website by using a content delivery network. You can also consider DNS basics to enhance the security of your website by using DNSSEC. DNS is a critical part of how the Internet works, and it is essential to understand how it works to use it to its full potential.