You may have heard of DNS, or Domain Name System, when you registered your domain or built a website. But what exactly is DNS, and why is it so important? DNS powers the internet by converting alphabetic names into numeric IP addresses—it makes it so you only need to remember a domain name, like coolexample.com, instead of a numeric IP address. DNS is the backbone of the internet, and without DNS, you wouldn't be able to send an email, scroll through Instagram, or play video games with friends.
You can think of DNS as the contacts list of the internet, but instead of mapping people to phone numbers, it maps domain names to IP addresses. And IP addresses are the language of the internet. Computers communicate with each other using Internet Protocol, or IP addresses, which are specific sets of numbers and letters, such as 188.8.131.52 (an IPv4 address) or 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:6a2e:0371:7234 (an IPv6 address).
But those long strings of numbers and letters aren't very easy to remember. So, DNS maps IP addresses to human-friendly domain names, like coolexample.com. Remembering a domain name is usually a lot easier than keeping track of all those IP addresses, making it more enjoyable to surf the web.
You may have heard the phrase DNS query or DNS lookup when searching for info on DNS. These are common ways to reference how DNS works and gets you to a particular website. But there are a few steps along the way, so we'll break those out and describe each step.
There are a few different stops DNS can take along the way, and sometimes things get stuck or don't work like we expect. And it can take up to 48 hours for DNS changes to show up on the internet globally.
Have you ever heard someone mention "changing nameservers" for your domain? That's because the last step in the query is checking the domain nameservers for that all-important IP address. But you need to have the correct nameservers before the query can find the correct IP address.
There are always at least two nameservers for a domain, and when nameservers are changed, the place where you manage DNS also changes. For example, if the domain is using default Domains Partners nameservers, the DNS zone file will be in your Domains Partners account. But if the domain is using nameservers for a different company, the DNS zone file will be with that company instead.
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