DNS stands for domain name system.
It’s a translation system that allows searching on the internet using language that we are comfortable with. Without DNS, the internet as we know it today would not exist.
The internet is made up of computers that are set up in large networks around the world. Computers on the internet communicate with each other using strings of numbers called internet protocol or IP addresses.
IP addresses function like street addresses. They identify where a computer is located on the internet and help guide the information traveling between computers. Now it’s one thing for computers to communicate using strings of numbers.
DNS translated the human-friendly domain names that we’re comfortable using the IP addresses that computers need to communicate with one another. When you type a domain name into your web browser, your browser and computer determine if one of them already has the domain’s related IP address in their memory. If it’s a domain that you’ve recently visited, like say a newspaper you look at every day, your browser may have stored the domain name and IP address in its memory and can display the website in a split second. If the domain isn’t found in local memory, your computer takes the search out to the internet where it asks or queries a series of DNS servers if they have the domain name in their memory or a database.
The first DNS server that receives the query checks its memory for the domain name, if it doesn’t find the domain name in its primary memory, it sends the query on to the next DNS server to see if it can help. As soon as the domain name is found on a DNS server, that server returns the domain name and its IP address to the requesting DNS server and on down the line until it arrives back at your computer.
Each time a requesting DNS server receives a domain name and IP address, the server stores the information in its memory, so any future requests for the domain name can be answered more quickly. Once your computer has the IP address for the domain name. your browser knows where to find it on the Internet.
Your browser uses your computer to communicate with the server where the domain name is hosted and requests any associated files. The host server returns the files, which then display in your web browser. Our ability to use domain names to quickly and easily retrieve websites and files from the Internet is entirely dependent on this tightly integrated and tiered line of communication.