The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonelist of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names like visualmodo.com or wordpress.org. In this artticle you’ll see all you need to knwo about it. Moreover, web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. So, DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.
What Is DNS: Domain Name System?
Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device. DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.1.5 (in IPv4), or more complex newer alphanumeric IP addresses such as 2300:cb00:2065:1::c629:d7a3 (in IPv6).
History of the DNS
Thirty years ago, when the Internet was still in its infancy when you wanted to visit a website you had to know the IP address of that site. That’s because computers are and were only able to communicate using numbers. This is an IP address: 127.44.54.222.
It’s long, hard to remember, and we (humans, I presume) are not robots. We needed a way to translate computer-readable information into human-readable. So, it had to be fast, lightweight, and scalable.
In the early 1980’s, Paul Mockapetris came up with a system that automatically mapped IP addresses to domain names. The DNS was born. This same system still serves as the backbone of the modern Internet, today.
Finally, only a small subset of the world knows that it exists. Even smaller group understand what it does. The real problem is that the people that need to know how it works and could actually benefit from this knowledge… don’t take the time to learn.
How Domain Names System Servers Work?
The DNS directory that matches name to numbers isn’t located all in one place in some dark corner of the internet. With more than 332 million domain names at the end of 2017.
So, a single directory would be very large indeed. Like the internet itself. The directory is around the world, stored on domain name servers. Generally referred to as DNS servers for short. That all communicate with each other on a very regular basis to provide updates and redundancies.
Each domain can correspond to more than one IP address. So, some sites have hundreds or more IP addresses that correspond with a single domain name. For example, the server your computer reaches for www.google.com is likely completely different from the server that someone in another country would reach by typing the same site name into their browser.
Another reason for the distributed nature of the directory is the amount of time it would take for you to get a response when you were looking for a site if there was only one location for the directory, shared among the millions, probably billions, of people also looking for information at the same time. That’s one long line to use the phone book.