What is a Domain Name System (DNS)?

Table of Contents

A Domain Name System (DNS) is a decentralized and hierarchical naming system that identifies computers accessible via the internet or other Internet Protocol (IP) networks. 

The DNS mostly maps human-friendly domain names to numerical IP addresses required by computers to locate devices and services using the underlying network protocols.

A DNS is the Internet’s “phonebook” that allows users to connect to sites and access information with a domain name rather than an IP address (e.g., edition.cnn.com). People read online information via domain names, browsers interact through IP addresses, and DNS translates the domain names into IP addresses to enable browsers to upload internet resources. 

How Does a DNS Work?

Every Internet-connected device receives a unique IP address (e.g., 192.168.1.1 or more complex ones like 2400:cb00:2048:1::c629:d7a2) that other devices use to find it. The address is required to see every device, like a street name, to find a particular apartment. 

Since people can’t remember IPs, a translation must transpire between what the user types into their browser and accessing the address. The DNS server converts hostnames (e.g., www.egs.il) into computer-friendly IP addresses, so users don’t need to memorize them.

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