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What is DNS and what does it do?

The internet has become an indispensable part of our lives today. However, behind the easy interfaces we use to access websites or servers lies a complex system. One of the most important building blocks of this system is the DNS or Domain Name System. In this article, we will explore what DNS is, how it works, and why it is an essential part of the internet.

  1. What is DNS?

DNS is a system that allows computers, devices, and resources on the internet to be identified not by human-readable names (e.g., www.example.com) but by IP addresses (e.g., 192.0.2.1). Essentially, DNS is a database that maps named domain addresses to IP addresses.

  1. How Does It Work?

When you type a website's name in a web browser or specify a server's name in an application, the browser or application sends a DNS query to resolve this name. The DNS query is then forwarded to DNS servers over the network, typically by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or another DNS server.

The DNS server follows steps to resolve the query:

  • First, if the necessary information is available in its local database or cache, it immediately provides the answer using that information.
  • If the information is not found in the database, the DNS server forwards the query to the upper DNS server for resolution.
  • This process continues, traversing from the root DNS server to the end of the domain name, until the query is resolved.
  • As a result, the DNS server returns the correct IP address to the client.
  1. Why Is It Important?

DNS is a critical component that ensures the smooth operation of the internet. Besides enabling people to easily access websites, DNS also plays a significant role in directing and optimizing internet traffic. For example, when a website's content is hosted on geographically distributed servers, DNS can improve access speed by directing users to the nearest server.

DNS is a fundamental element of the internet, facilitating our access to websites and other internet resources by translating names into IP addresses. Therefore, the reliability and performance of DNS are crucial for the smooth and efficient operation of the internet.

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