When you type a domain name (e.g., www.microsoft.com) into the address bar on a browser, such as Firefox or Edge, it finds the website by communicating with a specific type of server known as a domain name system (DNS) server. The browser sends out a DNS query a DNS server answers it. ORDER UP! Wait, no, not that kind of server.
The domain name system is a database of the IP addresses of all websites, so it serves as the internet’s address book. Browsers use it to find the original or cached versions of websites. This article discusses the purpose of DNS servers, how they work and more.
What Is the Purpose of a DNS Server?
Humans understand the information in text form, whereas computers use numbers. A DNS server translates the domain name (e.g., www.example.com) you enter into the address bar to IP addresses (e.g., 126.96.36.199). That way, it’s easier to remember and find websites that interest you. Which is perfect for those brain fart moments…wait, who are you? What is this? Where am I?
This process of translation is called DNS resolution. As simple as it sounds, this process is quite elaborate. The translation requires the coordinates of not one, but several DNS servers. Let’s have a brief look at how DNS resolution works.
How DNS Servers Resolve DNS Queries
Four DNS servers collaborate to resolve a typical DNS query that does not involve caching. These DNS servers include root nameservers, recursive resolvers, authoritative nameservers and TLD nameservers. The DNS resolver is a server that receives a DNS query from your browser and works with the other servers to find the IP address of the site you want to visit.
First, the DNS resolver queries the root nameserver for the top-level domain (TLD) DNS server (.com, .org, .net) that stores the information for the domain. The resolver then queries the TLD nameserver for the IP address of the domain’s authoritative nameserver.
Next, the resolver queries the authoritative nameserver for the origin server’s IP address. Finally, the resolver sends the origin server’s IP address to your browser, which then uses it to locate the origin server and obtain the website files. Voila! Your browser then uses these files to display the site. Pretty cool right?
What DNS Server(s) Is My Computer Using?
What’s even cooler? Knowing there are several ways to look up the DNS servers that your computer uses!
The easiest way is to click the Press to check your DNS server(s) button on Top10VPN.com. However, you can’t use this solution if you cannot access the site. In that case, you can use the following methods.
If you’re on Windows 8.1 or 10, open Command Prompt, type in ipconfig/all and press Enter. Look for the DNS Servers entry on the information displayed.
If your Mac, go to System Preferences > Network and select the network you want to assess. Then, go to Advanced > DNS. You will see several servers.
Get the Most from Your DNS Server and Website
Every time you go online, you are assigned a DNS server based on several factors. However, you may not always get the best server for your needs. As a result, you may experience slow loading speeds or downtimes, which can be disruptive. Please no! My ADHD can’t handle it. You may want to upgrade to a better DNS to improve responsiveness and security. YES PLEASE.
That said, if you’d rather work on your business and have experts managing your DNS settings and other tasks for your website, contact Your WordPress Guy today and request an appointment.