In this highly technological world that we live in today, it is entirely normal and common to get lost in the big highly-technical words and terminologies. While we know how to operate the most simple devices, understanding the process behind the actions and reactions with our every click - or with every click of our customers and site visitors is a whole different ball game. Nevertheless, once we have this knowledge up our sleeve, we can better act and respond appropriately. In this article, let’s learn together all about the DNS basics and how DNS works.
What is DNS?
DNS, or Domain Name System, refers to the process of converting names into addresses. That is domain names into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. This process allows for something that we typed in to be translated by the domain system to an address that can be read and recognized by our computers and smartphones. To be much more specific, when we type “example.com” onto our browsers, the DNS translates it into “192.168.1.1”.
To give you some more background, all your devices (laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones) and all the content servers communicate with each other using numbers. These numbers allow the internet and our technological devices to be beneficial to us. These numbers are what we call IP addresses. Each device has a specific IP address, which can be private or public. In relation, a domain refers to your website. Now, websites such as Google or Instagram have more than one IP address connected to their domain. Imagine if we were asked or required to type in the IP address when looking for something online. Seems way too hard and complicated, right? Well, the DNS server and DNS records present at this moment help us avoid that. Basically, your domain name system is the automated phone book that connects the domain name you type onto the browser to the right domain you are looking for.
DNS and its whole process allow for efficiency. Because of this domain name system, we are saved the burden of remembering the specific IP addresses of websites we need to access. And with the system established in a way that distributes these domain names in different directories worldwide, we are given access to the 300+ domain names through this DNS. These different directories almost constantly communicate with each other to always be up to date with everything.
How DNS Works?
In this section, bear with us as we talk more in-depth about how DNS works precisely. There might be mentions of different DNS records and other DNS basics, so try not to be too spooked about it because knowing this will be helpful for you in the future.
1. The Query
The whole process of DNS starts when a user, such as you and me, types in a “query” . This is when we search using an “example.com” with our browser. And we might not know the technicalities of this, but upon doing so, this “query” that we send seeks to look up the domain name of the website that we want and enable it to return the IP address of what we are looking for. Now, this is only the start of the domain name system process. We explained in the simplest terms the whole process, which is triggered by the “query” that we typed in.
2. The Recursive Solver
There are many types of DNS servers that your query encounters in this journey towards accomplishing the goal of providing us with the website that we need. The first one up is the recursive solver. The recursive solver is the point person. You know the grocery store or department store staff that you ask for directions or specifications about which aisle to go to to find what you are looking for. Or you can think of it as a front desk clerk, who is in charge of pointing you in the right direction or finding the people that can assist you further. The recursive solver is usually operated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), a third-party provider, or wireless carrier. Basically, this DNS server directs your query towards the other DNS servers that will satisfy it - and thereby, your request.
3. Root Servers
Next up is the root server. The root server is the DNS server that contains the DNS basics and information of the top-level domains spread throughout the world. How DNS works is that the recursive solver sends your query to these root servers, which contain the DNS information necessary to satisfy your query. Think of it like the map or the hanging aisle signs of the grocery store or the department store. It will give you specific information - specific references and directions about where everything is. In terms of DNS, it is the first real step towards translating the domain to the IP address. It’s incredible to think about it; there are 300 million or more domain names and approximately only about 13 root servers with 13 identifiable IP addresses.
4. Top-level DNS Server
This next server used in the DNS hosts the last part of the hostname. Top-level domains refer to the “.com”, “.net”,”.tv”, etc. The information about the second-level domains or the “example.com”, “example.net”, “example.tv”, etc. are contained within the top-level DNS. It is like finding the right aisle or rack where all the different items you are looking for are stacked upon. This DNS server is not the last server your query goes to, but it brings us much closer to the end goal. More specifically, it gives the IP address of the domain’s name server.
5. The Domain Name Server
The last server that your query interacts with to reach its conclusion is the domain name server. This is the last stop of your query. This server knows exactly the IP address of the full domain name because it holds authority over the domains. This IP address is then sent back to the DNS recursive resolver, which made the initial request. Basically, the domain name server brings the DNS process to its conclusion and gives the recursive resolver the complete information to answer the query that we typed in.
6. The Website
Finally, once the recursive resolver receives the answer for the query - the IP address of the domain name that you are looking for, it can now send a message to the browser you used containing the IP address. Using this website’s IP address, your browser will send a message to the website requesting access to all of its content. This is the conclusion of the whole DNS process. Because once the website accepts the request for access - Voila, the website you want to view appears.
Now keep in mind that while this whole process involves many steps and undergoes different channels to be brought to its conclusion, in reality, this entire DNS process only happens in a blink of an eye. All of these steps and many specific processes are accomplished faster than in the blink of an eye.
Listed below are the specific things you can do with your DNS server with Strikingly:
See the contact and registration information of your DNS
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You can renew your domain.
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Add or manage your DNS records.
DNS records provide information about your domain. It includes the IP address assigned to your website, handling requests for that domain, and the specific instructions about your domain name recorded in the authoritative DNS server.
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Having your own website, whether for business or personal use only, means you are daily involved in the DNS process. You hold a specific place and thus responsibility because your website is one of the millions of domain names listed on the servers. By knowing all of this information, you arm yourself with more in-depth knowledge about the different domain settings that you interact with and manage with your website. Making a website is one thing but handling the technical aspects that allow it to be more efficient and useful for you (and your business) is another matter. And with this new information that we have provided you with, you can be more informed and more in control of your website and the domain settings that go with it.
Strikingly has different templates for you to start building your website, but signing up with Strikingly will allow you to create your own website with various features. And it also helps you manage your domain settings. You are given guidance as you venture into the world of websites and domains. Sign up with Strikingly now!