What Is the Difference Between Name Server and DNS?


Larry Thompson

What Is the Difference Between Name Server and DNS?

In the world of domain names and website hosting, two terms that often come up in discussions are “name server” and “DNS.” While they both play crucial roles in ensuring that websites can be accessed by their domain names, there is a distinct difference between the two.

Name Server:

A name server, also known as a domain name server or simply NS, is a fundamental part of the Domain Name System (DNS). It is responsible for translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

Think of name servers as the phone books of the internet. When you type a domain name into your web browser, your computer sends a request to a name server to find out which IP address is associated with that domain. The name server then responds with the corresponding IP address, allowing your computer to establish a connection and load the website.

This process happens behind the scenes, and you may never even realize it’s taking place. However, without name servers, browsing the internet would be much more complicated as we would have to memorize long strings of numbers instead of using user-friendly domain names.


DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a decentralized system that manages the mapping between domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. In addition to name servers, DNS also includes other components such as DNS resolvers and root servers.

While name servers handle specific domains’ translation requests, DNS encompasses all domains on the internet. It ensures that when you enter a domain name in your browser’s address bar or click on a link, your request is routed correctly to the appropriate name server responsible for handling that particular domain.

The Relationship Between Name Servers and DNS:

The relationship between name servers and DNS can be likened to a tree structure. The DNS system is like the trunk of the tree, with various branches representing different top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .org, or .net. Each TLD has its own set of name servers responsible for managing the domains within that TLD.

For example, if you visit a website with a domain ending in .com, your request will be directed to a name server responsible for handling all .com domain names. This name server will then guide your request to the specific name server associated with the requested domain.

In Conclusion:

In summary, while both name servers and DNS are essential components of the internet’s infrastructure, there is a clear distinction between them. Name servers specifically handle the translation of domain names into IP addresses, ensuring that your browser can locate and load websites. On the other hand, DNS encompasses the entire system that manages this translation process and ensures proper routing of requests across different domains.

  • Name Server: Translates domain names into IP addresses.
  • DNS: Manages the mapping between domain names and IP addresses on a global scale.

Understanding this difference can help you grasp how information flows on the internet and appreciate the complexity behind seemingly simple tasks like browsing websites.

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