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What is DNS?

Date Submitted: 5/5/11

The Domain Name System (DNS) provides visitors access to websites using domain names rather than IP addresses.

How does DNS work?

DNS translates human-speak (domain names) into computer-speak (IP addresses). Domain names are text-based names used to identify a website or Internet location. IP addresses are strings of numbers used by every computer connected to the Internet to identify a website's location and communicate with other computers and Web servers.

DNS translates the text-based website or location identifier a visitor enters to the number-based IP address of the associated website or Internet location. For example, coolexample.com is a domain name. 208.109.80.196 is an IP address associated with coolexample.com. DNS translates the domain name coolexample.com to the IP address 208.109.80.196.

Using DNS, we can enter easily-remembered text-based domain names and reach machine-readable Internet addresses.

How does DNS know which IP address to use?

Each domain name stores its DNS information in a zone file. Large collections of zone files for different domain names are stored on nameservers. Domain names point to nameservers to locate their zone files — to do this, a domain name must point to the nameserver holding its specific zone file.

How do I know which nameserver to use?

When you register a domain name with us, we automatically park the domain name and set its nameserver to our parking servers. If you activate the domain name or make changes to your website's hosting, your hosting company provides the nameserver names or IP addresses where your domain name's zone file is located. Use this information to update your domain name settings at your registrar. Once you've updated your nameservers or IP address, allow 24 to 48 hours for the new information to propagate through the Internet, and then visitors can reach your website using your domain name.

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