What is DNS (Domain Name Servers)
People have likened Domain Name Servers to the telephone book of the internet (for those of you old enough to remember phone books). But this is only partly accurate. Web Servers store the information about any individual website against an IP address, and it is this address that they look up to find the website you are looking for. For you to view yourwebsite.com correctly, your Internet Service Provider has also to provide the translation service which converts the name you are looking for into an IP address and it has to find that IP address amongst the hundreds of millions there are online.
Put in more technical terms then:
- You search the internet via your browser looking for the web address you want
- The browser requests the IP address of a website from a DNS sever and requests an iterative search if it does not already have it
- The DNS server then goes on to request the IP address of the website from the Root Nameserver
- Depending on how the site is actually stored, there may be some other transactions, but leaving those aside for the moment...
- ...The server where the website is located, returns the IP address of the website
- The DNS server gives the IP address of the website back to your browser or returns an error if it is unable to find it
Why it is useful to know about DNS
Most of the time you don't have to know anythiing about DNS, but there may come a time when you want to change your web host or move your website from one server to another. Because DNS serves to point anyone searching for your website in the right direction, then you can begin to understand how DNS works in pointing peoples' browsers to your website. It will also set you on the first steps to being able to change them for yourself if you need to.
For instructions on how to change your name servers, follow this linkChanging DNS