The Domain Name System (DNS) is a central part of the Internet, providing a way to match names (a website you’re seeking) to numbers (the address for the website). Anything connected to the Internet — laptops, tablets, mobile phones, websites — has an Internet Protocol (IP) address made up of numbers.
Your favorite website might have an IP address like “18.104.22.168”, but this is obviously not easy to remember. However a domain name such as “bestdomainnameever.com” is something people can recognize and remember.
DNS syncs up domain names with IP addresses enabling humans to use memorable domain names while computers on the Internet can use IP addresses.
- The Query: The first server your query interacts with is the recursive resolver, which can be operated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), your wireless carrier or a third party provider.
The Root Servers: The recursive resolver asks a root server for DNS information about “.com”.
- The Top-Level Domain (TLD) Name Server: Each TLD DNS name server stores the address information for second level domains (example.com) within the top level domain (.com) and the TLD server answers with the IP address of the domain’s name server.
- The Domain’s Name Server (Hosting Servers): The recursive resolver sends the query to the domain’s name server. This DNS server knows the IP address for the full domain, example.com, and that the answer is returned to the recursive resolver.
- The Website Appears: The recursive resolver tells the browser what the IP address is and your browser sends a request to the website to retrieve the website’s content, using the IP address it just learned.
For more information, refer to the article called How the Domain Name System (DNS) Works from the Verisign website.