Is DNS Server and Name Server Same?


Scott Campbell

Is DNS Server and Name Server Same?

When it comes to understanding the functionality of the Domain Name System (DNS), it’s common for beginners to confuse the terms “DNS server” and “name server.” While these terms are related, they are not exactly the same thing. In this article, we will explore the differences between a DNS server and a name server, shedding light on their individual roles in managing domain names and resolving IP addresses.

The Basics: What is a DNS Server?

A DNS server is a crucial component of the internet infrastructure that translates human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. Every time you type a URL into your browser or click on a link, your device communicates with a DNS server to find the corresponding IP address associated with that domain name.

A DNS server acts as an intermediary between your computer and the rest of the internet. It stores a database of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses, allowing users to access websites using familiar URLs instead of complex numerical IP addresses.

The Role of Name Servers

Name servers, on the other hand, are an essential part of the overall DNS system. They are responsible for managing specific domains by storing information about those domains’ zone files. A zone file contains records that map domain names to their corresponding IP addresses or other resource records.

When you register a domain name with a registrar, you need to specify the name servers that will handle your domain’s DNS requests. These name servers store information about your domain’s zone file and respond to queries from other DNS servers when someone tries to access your website.

Primary Name Servers

A primary name server (also known as an authoritative name server) is responsible for storing and maintaining the original copy of your domain’s zone file. It is the primary source of information for your domain.

A primary name server responds to DNS queries regarding your domain and provides the correct IP address or other resource record information to other DNS servers, which in turn deliver it to the requesting client device.

Secondary Name Servers

In addition to the primary name server, you can also specify secondary name servers (also called slave or backup name servers) for redundancy purposes. These servers make copies of the primary name server’s zone file and assist in responding to DNS queries if the primary server becomes unavailable.


In summary, while DNS servers and name servers are closely related, they serve different roles within the Domain Name System. A DNS server handles the translation of domain names into IP addresses, enabling users to access websites using user-friendly URLs.

On the other hand, name servers manage specific domains by storing and providing information about their zone files. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for anyone looking to delve deeper into how domain names are resolved on the internet.

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