How the Domain Name System Works
This article was provided by Versign
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a central part of the Internet which, simply put, provides a way to find resources online. Anything connected to the Internet, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, websites, and now your car, refrigerator and countless other machines in the Internet of Things (IoT), has an Internet Protocol (IP) address made up of numbers. Your favorite website might have an IP address consisting of a set of numbers separated by periods like 126.96.36.199, but this is not always easy to remember. However, a domain name, such as “1and1.com,” is something people can recognize and remember. The DNS connects domain names with IP addresses, enabling people to use memorable domain names to navigate the Internet.
Let’s briefly explore the process that keeps more than 3 billion Internet users1 and 284 million domain names2 connected.
When you type “1and1.com” into your browser, your browser sends a query (essentially a request for information) over the Internet to find the website by matching the domain name with its corresponding IP address.
The Recursive Resolver
Your query is sent to a recursive resolver, which is a type of server typically operated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), your wireless carrier or a third-party provider. The recursive resolver knows which other DNS servers (called “root servers”) it needs to ask to begin to answer your query about 1and1.com.
The Root Servers
The root servers are running all over the world, and each one knows DNS information about top-level domains (TLDs) such as .COM, .NET, etc. To begin answering your query about 1and1.com, the recursive resolver first asks for information about .COM. The root is supported by thousands of servers, located strategically according to where the most Internet activity occurs. The Internet’s globally distributed architecture makes the process fast and reliable.
The TLD Name Server
The recursive resolver’s query about 1and1.com reaches the TLD name server, which stores address information for domains within the TLD. The TLD name server knows the location of 1and1.com’s authoritative name server, which will provide the next piece of the answer.
The Authoritative Name Server
Next, the recursive resolver sends the query to the authoritative name server. This server knows the IP address for the full domain name, 1and1.com, and returns this answer to the recursive resolver.
Now that the recursive resolver knows the IP address for 1and1.com, the recursive resolver tells your browser the IP address.
The Website Loads
Now that it knows where to go, your browser can send a request to the website to retrieve the website’s content.
Make Your Idea #InternetOfficial
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Verisign, a global leader in domain names and Internet security, enables Internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names and provides protection for websites and enterprises around the world. Verisign ensures the security, stability and resiliency of key Internet infrastructure and services, including the .com and .net domains and two of the Internet’s root servers, as well as performs the root-zone maintainer functions for the core of the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). Verisign’s Network Intelligence and Availability services include intelligence-driven Distributed Denial of Service Protection, iDefense Security Intelligence and Managed DNS. To learn more about what it means to be Powered by Verisign, please visit VerisignInc.com