The Domain Name System (or DNS) converts human-readable domain names (like: www.google.com) into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (like: 126.96.36.199). Computers can only communicate using a series of numbers, so DNS was developed as a sort of “phone book” that translates the domain you enter in your browser into a computer readable IP.
How does it work?
This process happens in the blink of an eye. No really, we are talking a mere matter of milliseconds for DNS to match your domain name to its IP address. This process is so fast it tends to get overlooked by the majority of web surfers. That is until something goes horribly awry.
Want to see the whole process in action? Watch our very own viral video that explains how the Domain Name System answers your queries.
What Happens When it Fails?
Have you ever tried to go to a website, but gotten an error message that the site’s DNS resolver could not be found?
Or there was a DNS error? These messages mean that the DNS for that domain has failed. This could be because you aren’t connected to the Internet, or the domain’s DNS provider is down, or a myriad of other reasons.
To better understand how DNS works (and also how it can fail), let’s break this system down into its smallest element: a query. Whenever you type a domain name into your browser, you are essentially asking the Internet a question… or in technical terms, a query.
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