Understanding the Domain Name System
A simple approach to explain what does DNS do?
We all browse on the internet every day searching for various websites on our computer, phone, tablet, etc. But, have you ever wondered how does your computer show you the website you want? In the process to show you the website on your screen, there are various multiple steps involved. In one such step DNS plays a major role.
The basic role of DNS is to convert the human-understandable website names into computer-understandable website address. Let’s talk in technical terms, the website names are also called as domain names and website address is nothing but the IP (Internet Protocol) address.
Domain names are the unique names of the websites. As humans know each other by their names we know website by their domain names. Example of the domain name is https://www.medium.com which is the website name of Medium.
Every computer on the Internet can have both a domain name and IP address. The IP address is a topic in itself and is not the focus of this article. Hence, to understand simply, IP address is a set of numbers which look something like 192.168.1.100. Computers only understand them and not the domains. Hence, they take help of DNS to understand them. You can think of IP as phone numbers and domain names as the names of people.
So, let’s use this analogy. Say you want to talk to your friend living in another country and you know her name. But is that enough to talk to her? Of course not, you need some contact details like her phone number. But it’s difficult to remember phone numbers and hence we have a phonebook where we maintain a list of people names with their corresponding phone numbers. So, you just have to take the help of phonebook to get the phone number of your friend.
The role of DNS is exactly like the role of the phonebook. Since computers cannot understand domain names and human cannot memorize all IP address. Programmers needed a system which can allow us, humans, to remember website only through their domain names and not bother ourselves with their IP addresses. DNS has the record of all domain names with their corresponding IP addresses. So, whenever we search a website by its domain name your computer will go to DNS and ask for a translation. The DNS will translate domain names that into IP address which computers can understand. Once your computer has the IP address it can fetch the website from its address and show it to you.
The working of DNS is more detailed and complicated than this. This article only intends to explain to its readers the concept of DNS in the most simplistic way.
Thanks for reading :)