Is Name Server the Same as DNS?


Scott Campbell

Is Name Server the Same as DNS?

When it comes to managing domains and websites, you may have come across the terms “name server” and “DNS”. While they are closely related, they are not exactly the same thing. In this article, we will explore the differences between name servers and DNS and understand their roles in the world of web hosting.

Name Server

A name server, also known as a domain name server or simply NS, is a specialized computer that is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses. In simpler terms, it acts as a directory that connects a website’s domain name to its corresponding server.

  • How Does a Name Server Work?

When you type a URL into your web browser, your computer sends a request to the nearest name server to find the IP address associated with that domain. The name server then looks up its database to retrieve the IP address and sends it back to your computer. Your browser can then establish a connection with the correct server to load the website you requested.


DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a decentralized system that consists of multiple interconnected name servers worldwide. Its primary function is to translate human-friendly domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

  • How Does DNS Work?

When you register a new domain or make changes to your existing domain’s settings, such as updating the name servers or adding subdomains, those changes need to be propagated across all DNS servers globally. This process is known as DNS propagation.

DNS propagation takes some time because it involves updating various caches across different networks. During this time, different users might still see different versions of your website, depending on which DNS server they are querying. It usually takes around 24 to 48 hours for the changes to fully propagate and for your website to be accessible from all locations.

Key Differences

The main difference between name servers and DNS lies in their roles and functions. A name server is responsible for connecting a domain name to its corresponding IP address, while DNS is the overall system that facilitates this translation process.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that there can be multiple name servers for a single domain. These are typically specified in the domain’s DNS settings and serve as backups or redundant servers in case of failures or high traffic loads.


In conclusion, while name servers and DNS are closely related, they are not the same thing. Name servers play a crucial role in translating domain names into IP addresses, whereas DNS is the system that enables this translation process across multiple interconnected servers. Understanding these differences can help you navigate the world of web hosting more effectively and make informed decisions when managing your domains and websites.

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