What is DNS?

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Because computers communicate numerically and humans have trouble remembering complex strings of numbers we need the DNS.  The DNS or Domain Name System converts human readable domain names (like: www.amazon.com) into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (like: 173.194.39.79).

Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address. Internet enabled devices use these IP addresses to find eachother.  DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.1.1 (in IPv4), or more complex alphanumeric IPv6 addresses 2400:cb00:2048:1::c629:d7a4.

Having the domain name system to associate domain names with IP addresses is great but we need a place to store the the data.  This is where the nameserver (NS) comes in.

Nameservers are specialized computers (servers) which primarily handle internet requests from users and are part of the DNS. When you type an domain name or URL into your browser’s address bar you are making a request for a domain’s services. The nameserver handles this request by routing your request to the appropriate IP address based on the current DNS record for your domain name.

In broad terms, the internet consists of a network of servers located all over the world.  Nameservers are one of three basic types of internet servers, the other two being hosting servers and email exchange servers.  Hosting accounts typically bundle the hosting and email servers together however, you could host with one provider (hosting server) and route your email to a third party like Gmail or Office 365 ignoring your hosts email exchange servers.

DNS Graphic

Helpful Tip: Namerserver changes submitted to the DNS may take up to 24 hours to propagate. You can check the progress of your DNS propagation status through whatsmydns.net.

Enter your domain name in the domain name field, then select NS from the record select drop-down – you can use this tool to check various DNS record i.e., MX or email server addresses.

DNS propagation checker screen shot

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