Is Name Server Same as DNS?


Scott Campbell

Is Name Server Same as DNS?

The terms “name server” and “DNS” are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. While both play a crucial role in translating domain names into IP addresses, they have distinct functions within the domain name system. In this article, we will delve into the differences between name servers and DNS.

What is a Name Server?

A name server is a computer server that is responsible for storing and managing DNS information for a specific domain. It acts as a central repository of all the records associated with that domain, including information about the domain’s IP address, mail servers, and other resources.

When you register a new domain or update its settings, you typically configure the name servers to specify where the DNS information for that domain is stored. These name servers are usually provided by your hosting provider or can be managed independently.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is an integral part of the internet infrastructure that translates human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. Without DNS, we would need to remember complex IP addresses instead of simple domain names like

The DNS system consists of a hierarchical structure with various components such as root servers, top-level domains (TLDs), authoritative servers, and recursive resolvers. When you type a domain name into your browser or send an email to someone’s address, your device queries these components to find the corresponding IP address associated with that domain.

The Relationship Between Name Servers and DNS

Now that we understand what name servers and DNS are individually let’s explore how they work together within the larger context of the internet’s naming system.

Name servers store and manage DNS records for a specific domain. These records include information like the IP address where the website is hosted, the mail server responsible for handling email for that domain, and other important settings.

When a user types a domain name into their browser, their device needs to know which name servers to query to retrieve the DNS information for that domain. This information is obtained through a process called DNS resolution.

DNS resolution involves multiple steps. The user’s device first checks its local cache to see if it already has the IP address associated with the domain. If not, it queries the recursive resolver configured on the device or provided by the internet service provider (ISP).

The recursive resolver then contacts one of the root servers to find out which TLD server is responsible for that particular domain extension (e.g., .com, .org). The TLD server, in turn, provides information about the authoritative name server that has the specific DNS records for that domain.

The recursive resolver then queries the authoritative name server directly to obtain the IP address associated with the requested domain. Once it receives this information, it sends it back to the user’s device, allowing them to access the website or send an email using that domain.

In Conclusion

While name servers and DNS are closely related and work together to provide internet users with seamless access to websites and other online resources, they are not identical. Name servers store and manage DNS records specific to a domain, while DNS is a larger system responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses.

Understanding how name servers and DNS work can help you troubleshoot issues related to your website’s availability or email delivery. It also allows you to make informed decisions when configuring your domain’s settings or choosing a reliable hosting provider.

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