What Is the DNS Server Job?


Scott Campbell

The DNS (Domain Name System) server plays a crucial role in the functioning of the internet. It acts as a translator, converting human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. Without DNS servers, it would be incredibly difficult for us to navigate the web using domain names alone.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS server is a computer server that contains a database of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When you enter a website’s URL into your browser, such as www.example.com, your computer contacts a DNS server to resolve the domain name to its associated IP address. This process is known as DNS resolution.

How Does a DNS Server Work?

When you type a URL into your browser, it sends a request to your internet service provider’s (ISP) DNS server. If the ISP’s server doesn’t have the requested domain name and IP address in its cache memory, it will reach out to other DNS servers on the internet until it finds the information it needs.

The DNS resolution process involves several steps:

Step 1: Recursive Query

Your computer sends a recursive query to your ISP’s DNS server, asking for the IP address associated with the given domain name.

Step 2: Iterative Query

If your ISP’s DNS server doesn’t have the requested information in its cache memory, it will send an iterative query to other authoritative DNS servers. These authoritative servers contain specific information about different domains.

Step 3: Authoritative Response

The authoritative DNS server receives the iterative query and checks if it has the requested domain name and IP address in its database. If it does, it sends an authoritative response back to your ISP’s DNS server.


To improve efficiency and reduce network traffic, DNS servers implement caching mechanisms. When an ISP’s DNS server receives an authoritative response, it stores the information in its cache memory for a certain period. This allows subsequent requests for the same domain name to be resolved more quickly.

Types of DNS Servers

There are several types of DNS servers that serve different purposes:

  • Recursive DNS Servers: These servers handle requests from end-users and perform the necessary steps to resolve domain names to IP addresses.
  • Authoritative DNS Servers: These servers contain specific information about domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. They respond to iterative queries from recursive DNS servers.
  • Root DNS Servers: These servers are at the top of the DNS hierarchy. They provide referrals to other authoritative DNS servers based on the top-level domain (TLD) requested.
  • TLD DNS Servers: These servers are responsible for managing specific top-level domains, such as .com, .org, or .net.

The Importance of DNS Servers

DNS servers are essential for providing seamless internet browsing experiences. They ensure that when you enter a domain name into your browser, you’re directed to the correct website by resolving the associated IP address.

Without DNS servers, we would have to remember and enter long strings of numbers (IP addresses) instead of simple and memorable domain names. Additionally, DNS resolution plays a significant role in email delivery, online gaming, and various other internet-based services.

In conclusion, the job of a DNS server is vital in translating human-readable domain names into computer-readable IP addresses. It enables us to navigate the web effortlessly and efficiently. Understanding how these servers work is crucial for anyone interested in web development or network administration.

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