Domain Name System: An Explanation of DNS Functions and How It Works

Full Details of DNS - Domain Name System

Broadly speaking, the function of DNS is to translate a domain name into an IP address so that browsers can serve web pages to users. Here's a full explanation for you.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the most important components on the internet. Although most users may not know what DNS functions, in fact, DNS has helped many internet users when they are active online. In addition, DNS can also provide protection so that all data transfer activities are kept safe.

Understanding DNS (Domain Name System)

Domain Name System or DNS is a standard protocol that helps internet users to find websites using domain addresses that are easy for humans to read and remember.

DNS can be likened to a phone book where you can find someone's phone number based on that person's name. So, with DNS, you simply type the domain name into a web browser then DNS will translate the domain name into an IP address to display the web page you want to access.

Without DNS, users have to remember complex IP addresses every time they want to access a website address.

Domain Name System: An Explanation of DNS
Domain Name System: An Explanation of DNS

DNS Function Explanation

Computers can only recognize IP addresses and the function of DNS is to translate domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. So, with this DNS when users want to open a website address, they don't need to type in complicated and complex IP address codes. 

In addition, the DNS function also provides a list of email servers that receive an email for each domain name because DNS has an MX record to direct email to the email server. 

You need to know, that basically, DNS relies on two main parts, namely Name Server and DNS Record. Explicitly, Name Server functions to store information about how to find Data Records.

So, when your browser makes a request to access a domain name, the Name Server will be used to provide a location to find details about DNS records. Then, these DNS records will change the website URL address to an IP address.

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that there are several main DNS functions, namely:

  • Translates the domain name in the URL into the appropriate IP address.
  • Route messages to email servers and webmail services.
  • Requests URL information from a website based on the IP address entered.

How Does DNS Work?

The way DNS works begin with the existence of a DNS query, which is a request for information. In detail, DNS queries will run in the following pattern:

  1. The user enters the website URL in his browser. Example:
  2. The DNS resolver will then send the query to the DNS root server.
  3. At this stage, the DNS root server will tell the DNS resolver the Top Level Domain where it can find information for the requested website. For the address, the Top Level Domain used is .com.
  4. DNS resolve will then send the query to the relevant Top Level Domain.
  5. After that, the Top Level Domain server will return the relevant name server IP address. At this stage, the resolver will send a request to the name server.
  6. The name server will then return the IP address of the relevant domain to the resolver and forward it to the web browser.
  7. The web browser will access the website by sending an HTTP request to the IP address and the website page will be displayed.

From the explanation above, it can be seen that there are four main building blocks that enable DNS to function, namely:

DNS Solver

DNS Resolver is a server designed to accept DNS queries from web browsers or other applications. The resolver receives a hostname and is responsible for tracing the IP address for that hostname.

DNS Root Server

Root Server is the first step to translating human-readable hostnames into IP addresses. 

TLD Name Server

TLD (Top Level Domain) Name server will use the domain name given in the query and provide the IP of the Authoritative Name Server. This is the DNS server that contains the DNS records for a specific domain.

Authoritative Name Server

The Authoritative Name server will retrieve the domain name and subdomain and will return the correct IP address to the DNS Resolver.


The function of DNS is to make it easier for users to access a website. DNS can translate a domain name into an IP address that can be understood by computers so that browsers can serve web pages to users. That is why website owners must provide a domain name when developing a website address.

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