The Domain Name System (DNS) server is an essential part of the web and potentially you must have heard about it. But, what is a DNS server? And, why do we need it?
You do not have to be an Internet network expert to understand a DNS server. So, in this article, we are going to break down the details of a DNS server making it simpler for an average user to know about it.
DNS Server: What Is it?
Just like you have an app to store all the contact numbers in your smartphone, a DNS server is where all the contact information of websites exist. In our case, we refer to the name and number of a person as the important information to contact someone but when it comes to the Internet, it is all about IP addresses and domain names.
A domain name is simply the website name included in the URL that you type in the address bar of the browser (like Ubergizmo.com). And, the IP address is a number in a specific format associated with the domain (like 220.127.116.11).
Even though there are two types of IP addresses (IPv4 and IPv6), it is basically the address of the server and is unique for every server. Not just limited to the fact that it is tough to memorize the IP address, it is humanely impossible to remember an IP address if it’s an IPv6 address (which looks like this — 2301:4940:3169:2ab8:433:6de8:c59f:a7af).
And, ultimately, the DNS server stores a record of every IP addresses linked with their respective domain names. So, whenever you type a website name in the browser, the DNS server finds out the IP address for that name and helps your browser send a request to load up the website.
Now that you have a general idea of what a DNS server is — let us take a look at how it works.
You may also take a look at the video below to get an idea of what a DNS is:
How a DNS Server Works?
Simply put, it just translates the domain name into the IP address of its server to complete a request. However, there are different components of it that make up a complete DNS server. To give you an idea, here’s what happens when you type in a website in the browser:
- A DNS resolver receives your request.
- The resolver looks up for a match in the records among two different types of servers (Root name server and TLD servers).
- Once found, it will pass the server IP to the client (your browser) to connect and fetch the required resources to display in the web browser.
However, once a DNS request has been processed it is usually cached by the DNS resolver so that next time you load up a website, it knows the IP address of the server already. Only when the caching timer expires, it looks for it again.
In case the server IP has changed or is temporarily down for some reason, you will get an error on your browser. So, this can either mean that the website has been not configured properly or the DNS server needs to update the information.
For instance, Google DNS, Cloudflare DNS, Quad9 are some DNS services that exist.
Why Do You Need to Change DNS Server?
If a DNS server is an essential part of the Internet, why do we need to change it sometimes?
We’ve also previously discussed how to change DNS server but why or when do we need it?
Just like every other server, sometimes a DNS server is slow/fast. Also, depending on how close the DNS server is to your location — it will affect the response time of every request you make on your browser.
In addition to that, some DNS servers are tailored to protect your privacy and some are just usual servers which log a lot of your data associated with your IP address.
So, in such situation, you might need to try another DNS service to fit your requirements.
Overall, a DNS server is the phone book of Internet records with a vital role in the network.
Finally, now that you know what a DNS server is along with some background information on it, you can easily decide what’s best for your privacy and speed.