Get the lowdown on the purpose and functions of a domain name server.Posted on 29 September 2017 -
A domain name server (DNS) is - as you might have been able to deduce by studying its name - a server for your domain name.
Domain name servers effectively act as a directory for all the domain names on the internet.
Your DNS will usually be related to your web hosting company, since it is they who will be hosting your domain name. For instance, if you migrate your website to be hosted by Tibus, your domain name server will be updated to be our name servers. Your name servers would become dns1.tibus.net and dns2.tibus.net, and something equivalent for other web hosts.
After that change to our name servers, it might take up to 36 hours for all domain name servers around the world to be updated and notice that your address in the directory has changed. This process is called propagation. Once the propagation period is complete, anybody visiting your domain name on the internet will be served the new information from the new DNS. All hosting companies and Internet Service Providers regularly interact with a Central Registry to get updated DNS information.
So, when somebody visits your website by typing yourdomain.com into their web browser, your Internet Service Provider will interact with the Central Registry containing information of all the domain name servers in the world. Within fractions of a second, your ISP views the DNS associated with the domain you want to visit and translates it into an IP address.
Although domain names - or at least well chosen domain names - are easy for humans to remember, computers prefer a long, unique number as an identifier. For instance, the IP address for our website is 126.96.36.199. Most of our customers are more likely to remember tibus.com than that number but, as we say, computers prefer the number to the address. Having worked out that 188.8.131.52 is the IP for tibus.com, your ISP will direct your internet connection to the correct site.
There are things that we do to make our domain name server work a bit harder for our clients. We redesigned our system so that the DNS is always served from the closest location to the querying client, which improves the experience for the end user.
We also took measures to allow us to before maintenance on our DNS without interrupting service.