What is DNS?

DNS lets users connect to websites using domain names instead of IP addresses. It's the Internet's phonebook.

The Domain Name System (DNS) functions as the Internet’s phone directory. When humans access information on the Internet, they typically use domain names, such as google.com or closrr.com. However, web browsers communicate through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS translates these domain names into corresponding IP addresses, which allows browsers to load online resources.

Each device that connects to the Internet possesses a unique IP address, which other machines utilize to locate it. DNS servers play a vital role in eliminating the need for humans to commit IP addresses to memory, whether it be the simpler used in IPv4 or more complex, alphanumeric IP addresses such as 2400:cb00:2048:1::c629:0000 used in IPv6.

How does DNS work?

The process of DNS resolution involves converting a hostname (such as www.example.com) into a computer-friendly IP address (such as An IP address is given to each device on the Internet, and that address is necessary to find the appropriate Internet device – like a street address is used to find a particular home. When a user wants to load a webpage, a translation must occur between what a user types into their web browser (example.com) and the machine-friendly address necessary to locate the example.com webpage.

In order to understand the process behind the DNS resolution, it’s important to learn about the different hardware components a DNS query must pass between. For the web browser, the DNS lookup occurs “behind the scenes” and requires no interaction from the user’s computer apart from the initial request.

Want to learn more? Take a look at this article.