When you open a new Internet page and you type in your website address do you ever wonder what goes on to ensure that you are taken to your desired site? Every time you use the Internet or send an email you are using a domain name to do it and it is through what is known as a domain name server that the domain name and website appears on your screen.
A domain name is the address that people use in order to find you or your company online. It is this domain name that you type into the browser’s address bar to take you to a specific website. Domain names are easy for us to remember but they prove hard for a computer to read. A computer cannot read the words of a domain name; they read numbers instead. These numbers are known as an IP address. Computers use these IP addresses to locate a website, for example a website called domain.com would be known as a series of numbers such as 188.8.131.52. So how do these numbers get changed into a domain name to take you to your desired website? Basically every time you type in a domain name you are using what is known as a domain name server (DNS) to translate the websites IP address into a domain name.
A domain name server is a database and is like no other. This is because no other database gets this many requests sent to it and no other has millions of people continually changing it every day; it is aspects such as these that make this database unique.
Most of us are using domain name servers without even realising it, merely by just using a search engine or browsing through sites on the Internet you are sending requests to a domain name server in order for it to translate the IP address into a domain name. Domain name servers, or DNS, are an incredibly important but completely hidden part of the Internet, and many people often find domain name servers very fascinating. The DNS system forms one of the largest and most active distributed databases on the planet. We don’t actually realise how much we actually rely on domain name servers as without them the Internet would shut down very quickly.
The task of translating domain names to IP addresses sounds like a relatively simple task but you should remember:
o There are billions of IP addresses currently in use, and most machines have a human-readable name as well
o There are many billions of DNS requests made every day, even a single person can easily make a hundred or more DNS requests a day, and there are hundreds of millions of people and computers using the Internet daily
o Domain names and IP addresses change daily
o New domain names get created daily
o Millions of people do the work to change and add domain names and IP addresses every day
Domain name servers are highly important to the Internet and it serves as a phone book for the Internet.