What is DNS Web hosting?
DNS stands for “Domain Name System”. It’s a system that lets you connect to websites by matching human-readable domain names (like wpbeginner.com) with the unique ID of the server where a website is stored. Think of the DNS system as the internet’s phonebook.
A DNS hosting service is a service that runs Domain Name System servers. Most, but not all, domain Name Registrars include DNS hosting service with registration. Free DNS hosting services also exist. Many third-party DNS hosting services provide Dynamic DNS.
DNS hosting service is optimal when the provider has multiple servers in various geographic locations that provide resilience and minimize latency for clients around the world. By operating DNS nodes closer to end users, DNS queries travel a much shorter distance, resulting in faster Web address resolution speed.
DNS can also be self-hosted by running on generic Internet Hosting Services.
How Does DNS Hosting Work?
The internet is a giant network of computers. Each device connected to the internet is assigned a unique IP address which helps other computers identify it.
This IP address is a string of numbers with periods that looks like this: 126.96.36.199
Now imagine if you had to remember such long strings of numbers to visit your favorite websites. They are hard to remember and don’t tell you anything about the website you’ll see if you enter them in a browser.
Domain Names were invented to solve this problem by using alphabets and allowing users to select easy to remember names for their websites.
DNS or Domain Name System basically translates those domain names into IP addresses and points your device in the right direction.
A domain name and its matching IP address is called a “DNS record”.
Here is a simple way to understand how DNS works in four steps.
Suppose you want to visit our site at www.wpbeginner.com.
1. You open your browser and type www.wpbeginner.com in the address bar and hit Enter on the keyboard. Immediately there is a quick check to see if you have visited our website previously.
If the DNS records are found in your computer’s DNS Cache, then the rest of the DNS lookup is skipped and you will be taken directly to www.wpbeginner.com.
2. If no DNS records are found, then a query is sent to your local DNS server. Typically this is your Internet provider’s server and is often called a “resolving nameserver”.
3. If the records are not cached on the resolving nameserver, then the request is forwarded to what’s called a “root nameserver” to locate the DNS records. Root nameservers are designated servers around the world that are responsible for storing DNS data and keeping the system working smoothly. Once the DNS record is found on the root nameserver, it’s cached by your computer.
4. Now that the DNS records are located, a connection to the server where the website is stored will be opened and www.wpbeginner.com will be displayed on your screen.
What is a DNS server and how does it work?
DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources. Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device. DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.
What Are the Types of DNS Servers?
All DNS servers would fall into one of these four categories: root nameservers, recursive resolvers, authoritative nameservers, and TLD nameservers. A typical DNS lookup allows the harmonious working of these four DNS servers to deliver the IP address for a particular domain to the client.
Here are the good-to-know facts about the types of DNS Servers:
- DNS Recursive Resolver: It acts as a middleman between a DNS nameserver and a client, responding with cached data, or sending a request to a root nameserver. Most internet users are using a recursive resolver, which is provided by internet service providers.
- DNS Root Nameserver: A root server accepts the query of a recursive resolver, which includes a domain name. The root nameserver would respond by directing the recursive resolver to the TLD nameserver, which is based on the domain’s extension (.com, .org, .net, etc.).
- Top Level Domain or TLD Nameserver: It maintains data for all domain names sharing a common domain extension. These are the information seen after the last dot in a URL. A .net TLD nameserver contains data for every website ending in .net. TLD nameservers are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA.
- Authoritative Nameserver: It’s usually the last step in the IP address journey, which contains information that is specific to the domain name.
FEATURES OF DNS HOSTING SERVICES
The Domain Name System allows you to access remote systems by entering human-readable device host names rather than IP addresses. DNS works by creating a mapping between a domain name, such as “www.alliedtellesis.com”, and its IP address. These mappings are held on DNS servers. DNS translates meaningful domain names into IP addresses for networking equipment to locate and address these devices. The benefits of DNS are that domain names:
- can map to a new IP address if the host’s IP address changes
- are easier to remember than an IP address
- allow organizations to use a domain name hierarchy that is independent of any IP address assignment
AlliedWare Plus has the ability to resolve IP addresses associated with domain names for internally generated commands (DNS Client) as well as providing the DNS information to connected hosts (via DNS Relay and DHCP Server). The DNS Client is enabled automatically when at least one DNS server is configured on the device. This client allows you to use domain names instead of IP addresses when using commands on your device, like ping, SSH, and copy.
The DNS Relay provides the presence of a local virtual DNS server which can service DNS lookup requests sent to it from local hosts. The DHCP Server can be configured to provide DNS information to DHCP clients during the lease process.
The Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) is a mechanism which allows a DDNS client to automatically update a DNS entry hosted by a DDNS Provider. When DDNS is configured on an AR-Series Firewall, DNS updates are automatically directed to the configured host name regardless of Dynamic IP address changes. This feature is available on all AR-Series Firewalls from release 5.4.7 onwards.
Here are the advantages of DNS servers:
- DNS is the only system allowing online users to use and browse the internet.
- DNS servers help you find the website with the use of your web browser (like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer) by typing the name of the website.
- You don’t need to memorize numbers. Instead of IP addresses or a string of numbers, you can enter the domain name or URL, which makes searching a lot easier.
- DNS servers make online transactions possible, even with the use of innovative features like AI-based searches and chatbots.
- DNS servers enable you to identify the data service’s technical functionality, defining the DNS protocol, detailed data structures specification, and data communication exchanges. DNS adds an extra layer of security.
- Fault tolerance and proper load distribution of web hosting services to multiple servers enable multiple hostnames corresponding to a single IP address.
- DNS enhances the security of DNS infrastructure, which is essential for dynamic, secure updates.
- Your readers or customers experience more reliable, secure, and faster online transactions when visiting your website.
- One of the main disadvantages of the DNS is the fact that its registry can only be controlled through ICANN, a non-profit organisation with roots tied in one country. This challenges the concept of net neutrality it has been a widely propagated argument over the last three decades.
- DNS queries usually don’t carry any information about the clients who initiated it. This is one of the reasons why DNS has been popular among hackers. This is because the server side will only see the IP address from where the query came from and which can at times be manipulated by hackers.
- DNS servers are based on the principle of a slave-master relationship. This means that if the master server is broken or manipulated in any way, then it will be hard to access the web page or database that was hosted on the server. Hackers have also used this to their advantage. By targeting the server machine and making redirects to other pages, they have been able to find ways of phishing information.
Learning about DNS can be highly technical, but the basic things you need to know will give you an informed choice when you’re building a website, shopping for a web host, and other online transactions. Whether you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur, a web developer, a digital online marketer, or an IT specialist, knowing the facts and benefits of DNS servers is a good idea.