DNS was created due to the rapid growth of the internet. It is a fundamental part that allows users access to the internet easier.
As of 2021, there are over 50 DNS service providers. This shows that websites undoubtedly depend on DNS server providers to manage and secure connections better.
With these points in mind, we will learn what DNS is and how it works. We’ll also talk about its benefits and how to put them to good use. By the end of this article, you will understand the importance of DNS too. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
Domain Name System (DNS) functions as a phone directory. Except for the phone, a directory matches people and business names with phone numbers, while a DNS matches domain names with Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. It locates the matching web page’s IP address when users enter a URL or a domain name in a browser’s address bar.
To have a domain name, users need to register it with a registrar and purchase a domain extension such as a top-level domain (TLD). Keep in mind that a website with a complex domain name may not appear trustworthy and professional. Thus, it is a good idea to have either a descriptive domain name or a brandable domain name.
A descriptive domain name lets users know directly what your business does. Meanwhile, brandable domain names are less descriptive, meaning they don’t explicitly tell users what kind of business you are running.
When you enter a specific domain name like google.com into the browser’s address bar, you will be taken to the site. This process is known as DNS lookup, a process by which a DNS record is returned from a DNS server.
To better illustrate what it is, let’s see how DNS lookup works.
Say you want to access India 07. First, type india07.ininto the browser’s address bar, which is a process called DNS request. Your computer will start looking for the locally stored DNS record, matching the IP address to the domain name.
This process includes a search of the hosts file and cache. If the IP address matches the domain name, the DNS lookup process is complete, and your browser will load the information. However, if not, there are further processes on DNS lookup which involve four DNS servers.
Here is the explanation of how the DNS lookup process continues locating the IP address:
- DNS Resolver is a bridge between a computer and DNS servers. It redirects a request to DNS servers and sends it back if the IP address is found.
- Root Nameserver provides a reference to where the IP address is located. It identifies the domain name’s TLD then tells the DNS resolver to go to the TLD nameserver.
- TLD Nameserver stores information about the domain names’ extension or TLD. In this process, the domain name extension of india07.in, which is .in, is requested then the TLD nameserver will request to locate the extension at an authoritative nameserver.
- Authoritative Nameserver is the final process in the DNS resolution process. The DNS resolver will get the matching IP address and display the result on your computer’s screen as a web page.
As DNS is the backbone of the internet accessibility, users can access any information online without any hassle. Here are the important aspects of why we need DNS.
DNS servers store and manage all registered domain names and IP addresses. If a DNS stopped responding, the users wouldn’t be able to access the website.
DNS simplifies the way users access information online. It converts domain names into IP addresses so that users don’t need to memorize IP addresses for every website they visit.
DNS enhances internet security by implementing a DNS security extension (DNSSEC) to prevent malicious attacks, such as DNS spoofing, DNS hijacking, and DNS tunneling.
Now that you understand what DNS is and how it works, it is also important to learn the best practices of DNS. With it, you will learn how to utilize DNS on your website.
The following are five suggestions to make use of DNS’s capabilities.
Having multiple DNS servers allows your primary DNS server to have more backups if the server suddenly goes down. For example, online stores require 24/7 uptime to keep the transactions running even when the traffic is high.
Install a trustworthy antivirus program to prevent DNS attacks. One of the attacks is DNS cache poisoning, which targets the cache stored in your browser and redirects them to malicious websites.
DNS redirection or DNS forwarding redirects any requested queries from a website to another site. It is useful when the website is being updated or under maintenance. It also benefits internet service providers (ISP) to block access from gambling, adult, or suspicious websites.
A website with high traffic impacts its performance, where the website load time increases. In that case, pointing users’ queries to the closest DNS server is one of the solutions to reduce the response time.
Canonical Name (CNAME) Records help create website aliases, which is helpful to map your alternative domain name to the main one. It is commonly used to map a subdomain like mail to the domain hosting.
DNS is important to keep the internet organized and easier to navigate. Without DNS, you would have to type the website’s IP addresses, which can be demanding.
Learning how DNS works, understanding its benefits, and implementing its best practices are recommended to create a safe internet environment and increase your website’s performance.
Keep this information in mind and implement it when you need it in the future. Have fun utilizing DNS for better internet access!