How the Domain Name System Works

Verisign - DNS

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, but this is not always easy to remember. However, a domain name, such as “,” 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.

The Query

When you type “” 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

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, 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 reaches the TLD name server, which stores address information for domains within the TLD. The TLD name server knows the location of’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,, and returns this answer to the recursive resolver.

The Answer

Now that the recursive resolver knows the IP address for, 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

Now that you know how the DNS works, what will you create on the Internet today? Have an idea for a new business? Getting married soon? New baby on the way? Make it internet official. Register your .COM domain name through 1&1 today and enter it in Verisign’s #InternetOfficial contest before the contest entry deadline for the opportunity to win up to $35,000!

1Internet Live Stats
2Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, January 2015
Photo Credit: Verisign


About Verisign:

Verisign Logo

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

Category: Net Culture
1 comment1
  1. March 15, 2015 at 4:22 am |

    from very long day, I was wondering. Now I understand this things completely. Wonderful information about domain name. This information really matched to my expectation.
    Thank you so much.

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