A DNS server or name server can be best described as a phone book that has all the public IP addresses and domain names that are related to each other. It serves to translate domain names e.g. XYZ.com to a machine-readable IP address e.g. 126.96.36.199. This is quite important because computers can’t process domain names. In order for them to access websites they have to look for the IP address connected with that particular domain name.
The central registry serves to consolidate information from all DNS servers thereby making it easier for host companies and ISPs (internet service providers) to access the information easily.
Here are some of the basics of DNS servers that you need to know.
A Basic Introduction To Their Functionality
If you have a domain name like xyz.com and an IP address like 188.8.131.52, which one is easier to remember? Everyone definitely finds domain names easier to remember than IP addresses. The opposite is true for machines. Computers can’t be able to read domain names. Instead they have to rely on IP addresses which in turn are connected to specific domain names. This is why there’s a need of having a DNS. Think of it as a translator that bridges both divides of the human and computer worlds.
How Are They Used?
Whenever you type the name of a website on your browser, your machine follows a series of steps in order for it to access that particular website. This happens each and every time you want to stream content online, send emails or check websites.
The first step is to request information by your computer. The computer looks at the DNS cache which acts like a storage for all DNS information that your machine has queried. If it can’t find the information here, it has to perform a DNS query for that particular domain name.
Importance Of DNS Servers
1. Add network wide parental controls- DNS servers give you the added advantage of being able to block access to certain sites from the devices in your home or work network. There are even a number of public DNS servers (like OpenDNS) that can help you leverage on this nifty feature.
2. Avoid censorship – Are you in an area where there is censorship to certain sites? Then DNS servers can prove to be quite helpful to you. Net censorship is usually carried out by blocking access to particular sites through your ISP’s DNS. Therefore, a great way to bypass this is by changing the DNS servers that your computer uses.
3. By pass content restrictions for geographical areas – Certain sites have content restrictions that only allow people within certain regions or countries to be able to gain access to them. DNS servers can help you bypass these restrictions. Some DNS servers do this by replacing your IP address with one of theirs thereby tricking the website into thinking that you are in a region where access to that content is allowed.
4. Increase internet security – Internet security has become a nightmare nowadays. This is especially true for organizations (they are the biggest targets for hacking). Many organizations usually handle sensitive data for their clients hence the need for proper security controls in protecting them. One of such controls is the use of DNS servers. By ensuring that all queries go through a specific DNS server, companies are at a better position of protecting themselves against any external attacks.
Note: It’s important that you also invest in other security measures to protect your data. Usage of DNS Servers alone does not guarantee that your data will not be hacked.
5. Faster web browsing – If you are experiencing slow internet speeds, then it’s important that you consider changing your DNS servers. Many people usually jump to changing their ISPs, which may be costly and might only serve to solve the problem halfway. There are many instances where changing the DNS servers has led to considerable speed changes. There are also tools that can help you check whether your current DNS server is up to speed and give you recommendations of DNS servers that you can make use of.