Each website has an IP address that identifies it among all others. Theoretically, you can browse the web using only IP addresses instead of domain names but that would not be practical. To understand how IP addresses and domains relate to each other, you must get to know the Domain Name System (DNS) .

DNS allows us to navigate the web more intuitively. In this article, we will talk more about what is the DNS and how it works. Next, we'll introduce several DNS-related terms that you should know about and explain why they are important. Let's jump right away!

Introduction to the Domain Name System (and how it works)

If you have ever used a browser, you know the exercise – you type a domain, click enter, and it loads the page that you want. It's a simple process that works even though there are over a billion web sites available online

however, each of these sites also has an address Unique IP that you can use to move between them. These IP addresses correspond to the servers that host each website. When you register a new domain, you tell the world: "Hey, this URL leads to that particular IP address!" In this way, users do not need to remember complicated chains of numbers.

The fact is that your browser does not automatically know which domain name leads to each address. He must check the DNS to see which address it corresponds to before you send it. It is a system that stores information about the domains and IP addresses that are linked.

As you might expect, this is too much information for a single computer. Instead, we are talking about a decentralized system, with many companies managing their own servers. Google, for example, maintains a public DNS server as well as Verisign and Yandex . Most domain registrars also operate on their own. Usually, there are security and speed issues, and they often dominate the discussion of benefits:

 Google'S Public Dns Page

Learn more on the operation of the system, register a domain name, it "propagates" information on all DNS servers. This can take up to 48 hours (hence the often repeated warning of registrars.)

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) probably also performs a DNS server, and your router can be configured to use it by default. Ideally, most DNS servers should work in exactly the same way, but it is advantageous to use an audience if, for example, your ISP blocks certain websites.

6 DNS terms you need to know

register a domain, migrate one, or direct it to a site, you will have to manage the DNS . However, there are many terms that may seem confusing, so let's talk about the most popular ones and explain them.

Recordings "A"

  Sample Recording A.

When you link a domain name to a specific IP address, you create what is called a record A . As we explained earlier, these records are at the heart of the DNS. Without them, users would not be able to find your website across its domain.

2. Records & # 39; CNAME & # 39;

  An Example Of Cname Recording

It is here that things start to get a little more complex. CNAME records do not point users to a specific IP address, but rather to other domain names.

For example, you can have a CNAME record that points elegantthemes.com to www.elegantthemes.com. This means that users will be able to access the website regardless of the address that they type on their navigation bar. In the example above, when a visitor types elegantthemes.com, he goes to www.elegantthemes.com, which in turn leads to a specific IP address if you have set up an A. record.

Technically, you can also configure both www and non-www variants of a URL to access the same website with the help of name A records. However, you should always aim to use a default domain name or "canonical" to prevent search engines from penalizing you for duplicate content.

3. Folders & # 39; MX & # 39;

  Editing Your Mx Records.

MX records deal specifically with e-mail. In most cases, when you sign up for a hosting plan, you also have access to free associated email accounts. In this case, your web host will probably be busy setting up the MX records for you. They simply indicate the mail servers that will receive incoming messages and route them.

If your hosting provider or your registrar does not offer e-mail hosting, you can still set up MX records pointing to different mail servers. 4. & # 39; Nameserver & # 39;

  Setting Up Your Name Server

In most cases, people use the term nameserver & # 39; interchangeably with DNS servers. To be perfectly precise, name servers are computers running DNS software. When you register a domain, you can assign name servers to it, which in most cases are those of the recording desk that you used.

In other words, name servers bind your domain information to the service you used. it is an accommodation company or a registration office. When you migrate a domain, you must also change its name servers and wait for the changes to propagate once again.

5. Zone Files

The zone files in your domain include all of its DNS settings and are stored in your name servers. For example, each record associated with your domain enters your zone file in plain text format, which simplifies its interpretation and migration process.

When you change your DNS settings, you update your zone file. Most changes will usually take place via a graphical interface. However, most registrars and web hosts also allow you to export copies of your zone file for backup purposes.

6. & # 39; Time-to-Live & # 39; (TTL)

 Check Your Registration Ttl

TTL is a parameter that tells your name servers how often to update your DNS records. For example, if you change your A record and your life is set to two hours, it will not start propagating the update before that time. Most modern registrars allow you to set your TTL settings to low limits, such as one or five minutes.

In practice, you do not need low TTL times for A and CNAME records – at least in most cases. do not make changes often. However, there are many situations where setting low TTL times can be convenient, so having this flexibility is convenient for advanced users.


In short, DNS is a big part of allowing us to intuitively navigate the Web. It is important that you understand how it works if you want to run a website because you will have to manage it often. For example, registering domains, pointing them to a site, and migrating them all involve the use of DNS, and these are simple tasks that you should be able to do.

Once you know how the DNS works, there are some terms you should know, such as:

A records: These records link your domain name to an IP address.
CNAME records: With these records, you can point domains to other URLs.
MX Records: This type of registration allows you to receive incoming e-mails on your domain.
Name Servers: This is the DNS servers of your domain registrar or hosting provider.
Zone Files: This file stores all your DNS information and is stored on your name server.
Time-to-live (TTL): With this setting, you can configure how often your DNS configuration is updated.

Do you have questions about the DNS? Let's talk about it in the comments section below

Article thumbnail image by Aa Amie / shutterstock.com

Introduction to the Domain Name System (and how it works)

Domains allow us to browse the web without having to remember the long IP addresses for each website. However, many people have no idea how the Domain Name System (DNS) works. In this article we will talk about what is DNS and how it is structured!

The article Introduction to the Domain Name System (DNS) and its operation was published on Stylish Themes Blog .


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