What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and without it the way we navigate the web would look very different.

When we type a web address into our web browser, DNS translates human-friendly domain names into computer-friendly IP addresses to load the right webpage. 

Four main DNS servers work together to identify and return the correct IP address to the web browser. These servers are:

  • Resolving name server
  • Root name server
  • TLD (Top Level Domain) name server
  • Authoritative name server

In basic terms, the resolving name server goes to each server in turn until it can return to the web browser with the correct IP address.

Thanks to all its various moving parts, DNS is a streamlined, efficient system that works faster than the blink of an eye to get results. Without DNS, browsing the web would be slow and difficult – yet most people have no idea of the crucial role it plays in our everyday lives.

The infographic below goes into more detail about exactly what DNS is, how it works, the servers that carry out DNS queries – and how it all happens so fast!

You’ll meet each of the DNS servers and find out what their roles are, then explore how they work as a team to deliver IP addresses to web browsers. You’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of the whole DNS lookup process, and gain insights into how caching and different types of DNS queries help to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.

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