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DNS - A simple explanation.

Hi All,

Let me try to throw some pebbles regarding the DNS, one of the simplest concepts on the internet, but if explained properly, it can go into a high level of complexity.

DNS is something which is used to identify the devices which are connected to the internet.Before jumping into the concept of DNS, I hope everyone who is reading this chapter is aware of IP Adress.

If not, IP Address or in short IP is a set of numbers and symbols used to identify machines connected on the internet.

So we already have IP so you might be thinking what is the need of DNS in the world??

Well, that is the problem with the humans, we are good with names but not so good with the numbers. To overcome this problem, we are using DNS.

Domain Name System in the point of view of a System Administrator is something unavoidable when it comes to hosting the websites on the server. The simple concept of how it works is explained in my propensity as shown below.

When a website is accessed on a web browser, the "hosts" entry of the machine from which he accesses the website is checked at first by the user.

Whatever the OS that the users use, whether it is Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, IOS all of them have the hosts file which is a plain text file which contains both the hostname and their corresponding IP address.

After entering the website name on the web browser, it checks for the local workstation hosts file. If there an entry for the website in the hosts file, then the browser will go to the IP specified in that hosts file.

If there is no entry, then the web browser will go forward to the DNS server of the ISP . It will store the domains that are frequently requested by the users under that ISP.

If the domain requested by the browser is not on the DNS server, then the query will go forward to the TLD server.

The TLD simply refers to the last part of the domain name, ie. “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.ie”. This is managed by the IANA or ICANN. Whenever a new domain is registered, the details are stored in each of the corresponding TLD.

So if a domain is not specified in the local machine hosts file and in the ISP DNS servers, then the browser will go to the corresponding TLD servers, based on whether it is “.com”, “.net”, “.us“ and will check if the domain name is available on their servers.

All the domains that are registered on the internet are available in TLD servers and from them, the browser will be able to get the NameServers that are registered for the website.

Once a browser got hold of the Nameserver in which a domain is hosted, the browser will go to that server, and at there it will contain the information indicating the server IP in which the domain sits.

When the browser reaches that server and request to show the contents of the domain, the web server
in that remote server will process that request and will show the contents of the domain which you will see on your local end device.

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