DNS – The Phone Book of the Internet

How many of you remember the days before Google? Back when cell phones were the size of a shoe box? Before there was even an internet! Remember the phone book?

Is it weird that I miss the smell and sound of those overly thin sheets as you flip thoughts pages?

Anyways, nostalgia aside, I wanted to educate my friends on 3 initials they often hear about, sometime see, and may have wondered what they meant, even if only long enough to dismiss them. DNS.

DNS stands for Domain Name Server. These guys are the pieces of equipment that made the internet user friendly. They are the phone book.

You see, back when the internet was just getting off of it’s feet, around 1995, ALL websites were nothing more than an IP address. There was no .com, .net, .org websites. There couldn’t be.

The truth is, it is still that way but we, the user, don’t see it. All we see is google.com, gunbroker.com, or rei.com. this is all thanks to DNS.

A Domain Name Server stores a massive list of website names (domains). Just like the phone book was just a list of names. Also like the phone book, the DNS has a number associated with each name. In the phone book, it was a phone number. In DNS, it’s an IP address.

The job of a DNS is to provide your computer with the IP address (think phone number) to the website you’re wanting to access. That’s it. That’s pretty much it’s entire job.

When you type google.com and hit enter, your computer sends a message to a DNS server and asks for the IP address to Google. The DNS finds it in it’s list (nerds call this “resolving”) and sends that IP address back to your computer. Your computer then dials the number and connects you to Google.

Pretty clever!

So, now when you see DNS, you know what that is and why it matters. It’s the phone book of the internet.

Leave a Reply