What Is a Name Server vs DNS Server?


Angela Bailey

What Is a Name Server vs DNS Server?

When it comes to managing website domains and ensuring their accessibility on the internet, two crucial components come into play – name servers and DNS servers. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between them. In this article, we will explore what exactly name servers and DNS servers are, and how they contribute to the functioning of websites.

The Purpose of Name Servers

Name servers, also known as domain name servers or NS records, are an essential part of the domain name system (DNS). Their primary purpose is to translate human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

When you enter a website’s URL in your web browser, such as www.example.com, the browser relies on name servers to find the corresponding IP address associated with that domain. The name server acts as a directory that helps your computer locate the specific web server hosting the requested website.

The Role of DNS Servers

DNS servers, or domain name system servers, play a broader role in managing the entire DNS infrastructure. They act as authoritative sources for storing and distributing DNS records, including information about domain names, IP addresses, mail server settings, and more.

DNS servers work behind the scenes to ensure that when you type a URL into your browser or send an email to a specific domain, your request is directed to the correct location. They facilitate communication between different parts of the internet by translating human-readable URLs into machine-readable IP addresses.

Name Server vs DNS Server: Key Differences

While both name servers and DNS servers are integral to the functioning of websites, there are some key differences between them:

  • Function: Name servers primarily translate domain names into IP addresses, whereas DNS servers manage the entire DNS infrastructure.
  • Responsibility: Name servers are responsible for storing and providing information about specific domains, while DNS servers store and distribute the entire DNS database.
  • Location: Each domain has its own set of name servers, which are specified by the domain owner. In contrast, DNS servers are spread across the internet and work collectively to ensure the smooth functioning of the entire system.

In Conclusion

In summary, name servers and DNS servers are both essential components of the domain name system. Name servers translate human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses, helping your computer find the correct web server hosting a specific website. On the other hand, DNS servers manage the entire DNS infrastructure, acting as authoritative sources for distributing DNS records and facilitating communication between different parts of the internet.

Understanding these distinctions can help you navigate domain management more effectively and appreciate the behind-the-scenes processes that enable seamless web browsing and communication on the internet.

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