Understanding How Domain Name Servers Work

How Domain Name Servers Work

Whenever someone surfs the internet and opens a particular website, they unavoidably encounter a domain name server. Domain name servers constitute hidden databases that nevertheless play significant roles in the machinations of the internet.

They basically handle domain names and enable the user to access different websites without having to memorize a bunch of numeric codes that would quickly become overwhelming and difficult to understand. When put in layman’s terms, it is very easy to comprehend how DNS work.

How DNS (Domain Name Servers) works

To open a particular site or email, one normally needs a domain name. A domain name is comprised of the main part of a website (following the www.) or an email (following the “@” sign) and the “.net” or “.com” (such as Hostgator.com).

You enter this domain name into a address bar to reach a specific site. Each domain name has an equivalent or matching IP address which is, in turn, comprised of a 32 bit number presented in 4 octets (such as

This is where domain name servers come in. They basically transform the domain name into an IP address or vice-versa. In this case, anyone who wants to open the website hostgator will not have to memorize a series of numeric codes; instead, they just need to put in the domain name which is the company name itself.

Mapping and reverse mapping

Mapping and reverse mapping, in general, explain how domain name servers work. As mentioned earlier, the DNS translates the domain name into an IP address by using a directory within its own service or using other DNS servers.

Two parts make up a domain name server: the nameserver and the resolver. The nameserver is responsible for looking up the names of different domains. A group of machines typically shares a single nameserver assignment.

Three Types of Domain Name servers: Primary, Secondary, and Caching

If a nameserver does not have the requested data, it will connect to another nameserver. The three types of nameservers are the primary nameserver, secondary nameserver and the caching nameserver. The latter is only responsible for name queries and does not have any DNS database files.

On the other hand, the resolver operates on a client machine to begin DNS searches. It consists of a list of nameservers. As a general rule, domain name servers function through caching. When a nameserver receives a name query, it caches the request to reduce search costs.

The TTL (Time to Live) determines how long the system stores cached information.

The nameserver will use the cached information when there is a future query with the same mapping. Then again, these cached information are discarded after the period of time stated in its TTL (time to live) factor.

Web hosting, as a whole, is a complex idea that entails different technical processes. These technical processes, including how domain name servers work, are vital information that need to be understood in detail by any web developer, as it is one of the basic things that make website function at its optimum.

Domain name servers act as transportation utilities in the online world, which brings a viewer to his or her requested site.