What is a DNS server or name server
A DNS server or a name server is a service whose main function is to translate the domain name into an IP address. DNS stands for Domain Name System. It’s an essential element in the world of web surfing. On the Internet as well as in networks in general, machines use their own IP addresses in order to be able to communicate. These IP addresses are difficult for human beings to remember. Moreover, the large number of websites makes it impossible for humans to use the IP address to browse the Internet.
Thus it is easier to remember the URL “example.com” than the IP address “220.127.116.117”. In the early days of the Internet, files matching host names to their IP addresses were installed on every machine. Hence, they made it possible to override the use of the IP address. But the rapid development of the Internet has made this solution obsolete. In fact, the update of these files became impossible.
How DNS Servers Work
Name servers perform the correspondence between an IP address and a host name. This operation is called name resolution. The reverse operation, from host name to IP address, can also be configured. Each host name, or domain name is linked to a DNS server which is under its responsibility. The DNS server’s operation is made through the following steps :
- The user wants to access the “example.com” website via their browser.
- The computer first queries the root DNS servers at the address “example.com”.
- The questioned root server returns the address of a server managing “.com” domains.
- The same step is repeated with the DNS server in charge of the “.com” domain. It returns the DNS server address of “example.com”.
- The server in charge for “example.com” consults its files and returns the IP address of the hosting server for the “example.com” website.
- Now the user’s browser has the desired address, so they can log in and visit the “example.com” website.
How to find the DNS server of the domain
It is very common to forget the name servers configured for a domain when registering a domain name. Several tools exist to gain access to this information. You can first ask your service provider for this information. If necessary, a search tool of the Whois domaine on the web will meet your needs. Alternatively, simple and convenient online command tools find the IP address of a specific host. In particular Nslookup on Windows and Linux and Dig on Linux only.