What is DNS?

It’s a question we hear often. But, unlike many other bits of online jargon, it’s quite easy to explain.

So here goes … What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System and is the single, central list of how to find anything on the internet …

Each device or computer on the internet has a unique IP address so other devices and machines can find them, a bit like a house number, street and postal code.
 
Of course, that series of numbers doesn’t look good on the side of a bus, over your restaurant door or on a business card, so DNS enables us to have a name, usually a business or project name as the address (e.g. fredspizzastore.co.uk).

Imagine, when you text your pal Joe on the your phone, there are loads of Joes out there – but you have saved Joe’s phone number against the name ‘Joe’ on your phone. You can’t remember Joe’s number but your phone does. DNS is like that – but for everyone.

So DNS or basically works like the yellow pages of the internet for computers. DNS translates the easy to read and market domain name ( e.g. haywines.co.uk ) and translates that into an IP address, which is the physical address of a server on the internet that hosts your website, or email or app.

That’s Just for Us Puny Humans, But There’s More to DNS Than That …

But DNS is much more than just converting website addresses into physical locations on the internet. It handles all sorts of other requests too, direction for email traffic, voice over IP, security certicates and website validation, email verification and more.
 
DNS can also be used to proteect your website, app or service from attack by hiding your service’s true location from the internet. Services such as Cloudflare provide extensions to their Domain Name Configuration so the exact location of your devices is hidden from hackers and trolls to help keep your critical services running.
 
A properly configured domain DNS can be the difference between getting email, or not – services like SPF (sender policy framework), DMARC (Domain Message Authenticaion and Conformance) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) all rely on DNS to pass the relevant information from server to server.
 
Are you sure your domain’s DNS is configured properly? Would you know how to check? Does email you send go into people’s junk folders ? is your site protected from a DDoS (denial of service) attack?
 
We can check and report on your DNS for you now, why not drop us a line….

Phew!

If that was too many Three Letter Acronyms (TLA) for you sorry. For more explanation, you check out our jargon busting ‘What is a TLA?’ article – or just let us worry about it.

Drop us a line