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DNS - Domain Name System

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Definition: The DNS translates Internet domain and host names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converts the names we type in our Web browser address bar to the IP addresses of Web servers hosting those sites.

DNS implements a distributed database to store this name and address information for all public hosts on the Internet. DNS assumes IP addresses do not change (are statically assigned rather than dynamically assigned).

The DNS database resides on a hierarchy of special database servers. When clients like Web browsers issue requests involving Internet host names, a piece of software called the DNS resolver (usually built into the network operating system) first contacts a DNS server to determine the server's IP address. If the DNS server does not contain the needed mapping, it will in turn forward the request to a different DNS server at the next higher level in the hierarchy. After potentially several forwarding and delegation messages are sent within the DNS hierarchy, the IP address for the given host eventually arrives at the resolver, that in turn completes the request over Internet Protocol.

DNS additionally includes support for caching requests and for redundancy. Most network operating systems support configuration of primary, secondary, and tertiary DNS servers, each of which can service initial requests from clients. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) maintain their own DNS servers and use DHCP to automatically configure clients, relieving most home users of the burden of DNS configuration.

More Detail: Introduction to the Domain Name System (DNS)

DNS Setup: Top Free Internet DNS Servers
Also Known As: Domain Name System, Domain Name Service, Domain Name Server

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