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What is DNS and Why is it important?
Sep 21, 2021

What is DNS and Why is it important?

Connecting to the internet, for many of us, is as easy as turning on a light switch. Within seconds, we can connect our devices to internet services without having to worry about going through complicated processes to do so. We have DNS to thank for this.

If you're wondering what DNS is and why it is so important to our lives on the internet, this article is for you.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS is the phonebook of the internet. At a basic level, this ‘internet phone book’ consists of names that match with numbers. These numbers are IP addresses. DNS lists domain names with their corresponding identifiers (IP addresses) and translates them so that browsers can load internet resources.

What is a DNS Server?

A single DNS directory has the potential to be very large. This is not surprising as there were 359.8 million registered domain names at the close of 2019’s third quarter. The DNS directory is distributed globally and stored on domain name servers (referred to as DNS servers). These servers communicate with each other regularly in order to provide updates and redundancies.

DNS servers translate requests for names into IP addresses. This controls which server an end-user will reach when a domain name is typed into a web browser.

What Does DNS Lookup Mean?

A DNS lookup works by returning details about specified domain records, including information about DNS entries. Simply put, it is the process by which a host queries a domain name and a DNS server returns an IP address.

There are two types of DNS lookups:
  • Forward lookup: the host asks about a domain name and an IP address is returned.
  • Reverse lookup: the host asks about an IP address and a domain name is returned.

What is a Forward DNS Lookup?

Forward lookup, also known as simple DNS lookup, is the most common approach to DNS. This approach to DNS involves finding out the IP address of a domain. This is simple and straightforward, similar to looking up a phone number in a phone book.

The steps for a forward DNS resolution are:
  1. A user enters a domain name into their internet browser.
  2. The computer sends the domain name as a DNS request to the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  3. The ISP determines if it has the IP address associated with that particular domain name.
  4. Once the record is found, the IP address of the domain is returned to the user.
  5. The user's computer communicates directly with the server.

What is a Reverse DNS Lookup?

The other type of DNS lookup is known as reverse lookup. A reverse DNS lookup is similar to a forward lookup, however, it starts with an IP address and returns with a domain name, sometimes with additional information regarding the domain name owner and other registration information.

You can use a reverse DNS lookup to find out who is tracking you online, but it isn't always successful.

Why is DNS Important?

So, why exactly is DNS so important? DNS is important because of its critical role as the backbone of the internet.
If a DNS is not responding, you won't be able to connect to other websites on the internet.
This is due to the fact that when a web browser is opened and the desired website is to be visited, you do not have to go through the stress of remembering and entering a long number (IP address). You simply enter a domain name and end up exactly where you are supposed to.

If the DNS cannot translate the domain name to the correct IP address, you won't be able to access any website. Simply put, without DNS, the majority of the internet as we know it breaks down.

The Evolution of DNS

DNS remains a critical component of the internet, despite the fact that most people are unaware of what DNS is or how important it is.

It has become so important that technology companies such as Mozilla and Google now use encrypted DNS over HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) for their browsers by default. This protocol provides end-to-end encryption which guarantees data confidentiality and protects users whenever they are online.

Read full article by Calvin Ebun-Amu here

To learn more about how Five Technology can help you with your DNS set-up contact us today!