Meeting with a client last week for an IT consulting meeting I could see that there was some confusion around a recommendation we were making about that company’s DNS records and how we could improve some things for them. I think they were a little embarrassed to admit they didn’t have an understanding of DNS. I volunteered to go into more detail, and it helped them see why we were making those specific IT support recommendations. I thought I would share that information on our blog.

DNS stands for both Domain Name System as well as Domain Name Servers. DNS is part of the set of standards for how computers exchange data on the Internet. DNS takes an easy to remember, user-friendly domain name, like ParachuteTechs.com, and and turns it into an Internet Protocol (IP) address like 107.194.247.97 and directs your Internet connection to the correct website. DNS, therefore, is like a GPS system for your computer or the Internet’s equivalent of an address book. Because of DNS, you don’t have to keep an address book full of websites you like to go to, and instead can just type in Netflix.com.

Information from all the domain name servers across the Internet are gathered together and housed at one of 13 major name servers located around the world. Each domain name servers are only a repository for the zones it hosts (otherwise that server pings another server to gather the necessary information). Host companies, like GoDaddy.com, interact with these domain servers on a regular basis to get updated DNS information. Until 1999, only Network Solutions, Inc. operated .com, .net, and .org registries. However, many new companies have entered the market.