What is DNS and How Does it Work?

by (8posts) under Cloud Hosting

You may have heard the term “DNS” thrown around with other computer/tech language, but are still unfamiliar with what exactly this term means. In this blog post, we will explain exactly what DNS is and how it works in easy-to-understand language.

First of all, DNS is an acronym that stands for Domain Name System. DNS is the protocol that provides the framework for web browsing. In other words, DNS is a system of computers that provides the infrastructure that allows us to browse the Internet by making the Internet a more human-friendly place.

Computers address each other with numbers called IP addresses. However, remembering IP addresses is not an easy task for humans, who prefer to give things named. DNS is a useful system that ties names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converts the names we type in our web browser address bar to the IP addresses of web servers those specific sites requested. Therefore, when you enter a domain name, (e.g. google.com) your computer will find your nearest DNS server and ask it what the correct IP address is for that name. Then, the DNS will return the IP address and your computer can then address the relevant machine and display the requested website.

Here’s how DNS works in 6 easy steps:

  1. You log onto your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to use the Internet.
  2. You open up your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) and type a URL into the address bar. For example, perhaps you type in https://www.atlantic.net/.
  3. Your computer then asks your ISP’s DNS servers for the specific IP address for www.atlantic.net.
  4. Once the DNS server that holds this specific IP address for www.atlantic.net is found, the DNS server responds with the appropriate IP address and your computer then gives this address to your browser.
  5. Your browser opens a connection to the server using the IP address provided and retrieves the page from the site requested, in this case for www.atlantic.net.
  6. Your browser displays the requested page on your computer screen.

From a technical standpoint, the Domain Name System (DNS) is an organized naming system for computers, services or any other resource that is connected to the Internet or private network. To put it a bit more simply, the DNS translates easily memorized domain names, like www.atlantic.net, into numbers, like The DNS is a critical component of the Internet, as it provides a worldwide, keyword-based redirection service.

To streamline efficiency, each DNS server contains only a small portion of host name to IP address mappings. Instead, the server contains special programming code that tells it where to look for the rest of the information necessary to connect to the website.

Many applications and processes utilize DNS services available, including the World Wide Web, email software and other applications like Skype.

On February 13th, Atlantic.Net announced the availability of Cloud Server DNS. This feature is designed to increase efficiency by offering self-service DNS record management backed by a geographically diverse, redundant and replication Cloud Server architecture. If you are interested in learning more about Atlantic.Net’s Cloud Hosting DNS, contact us today at 1-800-422-2936.