What Type of Packet Is Sent to DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

When a client wants to access a website by entering a domain name in their web browser, the first step is for the client to send a request to the DNS server. But what type of packet is sent to the DNS server? Let’s delve into this key aspect of the domain name resolution process.

DNS and its Role

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it serves as the backbone of the internet by translating human-friendly domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. When you enter a website’s domain name in your browser, the DNS server is responsible for finding the corresponding IP address so that your browser can connect to the correct web server.

The DNS Query

When you enter a domain name in your browser, it initiates a DNS query. This query is sent as a UDP (User Datagram Protocol) packet from your computer to the configured DNS server. UDP is used because it provides a lightweight and efficient method for sending small amounts of data over a network.

The DNS query packet consists of various fields that provide essential information to the DNS server:

  • Header: The header contains information about the query, such as whether it is a standard query or a reverse query.
  • Question: The question section includes the actual domain name being queried.
  • Additional Information: This section may contain additional records such as EDNS (Extension Mechanisms for DNS) options, which allow for more advanced features like larger payloads and better security.

An Example Query

To better understand what type of packet is sent to the DNS server, let’s consider an example. Suppose you want to visit “www.example.com”. Your computer will send a DNS query packet to the configured DNS server, requesting the IP address for “www.

The DNS query packet for this example may look like:

- Identification: Randomly generated number to match responses with queries
- Flags: Control fields indicating the type of query and desired response
- Number of Questions: 1

- Name: www.com
- Type: A (IPv4 address)
- Class: IN (Internet)

Additional Information:
- None

This packet is then sent over the network to the DNS server, which processes the request and crafts a response that includes the IP address of “www. The response packet follows a similar structure but contains different information.


In summary, when a client wants to access a website by entering a domain name in their web browser, it sends a DNS query packet to the DNS server. This packet contains essential information such as the domain name being queried. Understanding what type of packet is sent to the DNS server helps demystify the domain name resolution process and highlights how crucial DNS is for connecting users with websites.

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