Have you ever wondered how humans and computers are able to effectively communicate over the internet? The answer is with the help of what is known as a DNS server. Companies offering website design and web hosting services would be out of a job if not for a DNS server. Now, that may sound a bit of an oversimplification, but there’s more to it than that. Read on to learn what a DNS server is and the role it plays in the digital world.
What Is a DNS Server?
The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the foundations of the internet, yet most people around the world are unaware of how important it is in their day to day lives online. In the simplest terms, a DNS is a directory of “names” that match with “numbers.” In many ways, it can be considered the phonebook of the internet.
How Does a DNS Server Work?
The numbers associated with names are called IP addresses, which computers use to communicate with each other. Whenever you search a website using their domain “name”, for example, “abcde.com,” the DNS server translates that to a machine-readable IP address. This is quite important because computers can’t really process domain names. They work around that by looking for the IP address connected to that domain name to access the website.
Think of it as your mobile phone’s contact list, which matches people’s names with their phone numbers and email addresses. With a DNS server, though, you expand that contact list to include everyone else on the planet.
The machines that carry the DNS directory aren’t actually located in one place, as that would be too big considering there are more than 300 million domain names listed in it. In fact, it’s distributed around the world, stored on physical servers that all communicate with each other on a regular basis.
Why Do We Need DNS Servers?
The short answer is, no one would be able to access the internet without the DNS servers. There are quite a number of reasons why we need DNS servers, and it would take too long to mention them all. Here are just a few:
- DNS is the only system that allows online users to use and browse the internet.
- DNS servers help you find any website you’re looking for by typing the domain name on your web browser.
- With the help of DNS servers, you won’t have to memorise all those IP addresses. Just type in the domain name (URL), and the DNS will find the website for you.
- DNS servers make online transactions possible.
- Your readers or customers experience more reliable, secure, and faster online transactions when visiting your website.
- Fault tolerance and proper load distribution of web hosting services to multiple servers enable multiple hostnames corresponding to a single IP address.
Understanding the entirety of DNS and its functions and importance to the internet can be highly technical. What you need to remember is that the internet would not work without the help of DNS servers. They don’t just make everything you do online a bit less complicated; they also make it possible for ordinary people to actually enjoy the wonders of the internet.
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