Describe the function of DNS (Domain Name System) in internet communication.

The Domain Name System (DNS) plays a crucial role in internet communication by translating human-readable domain names into IP addresses, which are numerical identifiers assigned to devices on a network. This translation is necessary because computers communicate using IP addresses, but humans find it more convenient to use domain names.

  1. Domain Name Structure:
    • The DNS is organized as a hierarchical and distributed database. Domain names are structured in a tree-like hierarchy, with the root domain at the top, followed by top-level domains (TLDs), second-level domains, and so on.
    • For example, in the domain name "," "com" is the top-level domain, "example" is the second-level domain, and "www" is a subdomain.
  2. DNS Components:
    • Resolver:
      • Devices such as computers, smartphones, or routers use a DNS resolver to initiate DNS queries. The resolver is typically provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) or configured by the user.
    • Root DNS Servers:
      • The resolver starts by querying the root DNS servers, which are a crucial part of the DNS infrastructure. These servers provide information about the authoritative DNS servers for each top-level domain.
    • Top-Level Domain (TLD) DNS Servers:
      • Based on the TLD extracted from the domain name, the resolver queries the corresponding TLD DNS servers. TLDs include familiar ones like .com, .org, .net, and country-code TLDs like .uk or .jp.
    • Authoritative DNS Servers:
      • The TLD DNS servers provide information about the authoritative DNS servers for the specific domain. These authoritative servers are responsible for holding and providing information about a particular domain's DNS records.
    • Domain's DNS Records:
      • The authoritative DNS servers store various types of DNS records, including:
        • A Records (Address Records): Maps a domain to an IPv4 address.
        • AAAA Records (IPv6 Address Records): Maps a domain to an IPv6 address.
        • CNAME Records (Canonical Name Records): Alias of one domain to another.
        • MX Records (Mail Exchange Records): Specifies mail servers for the domain.
        • NS Records (Name Server Records): Identifies authoritative DNS servers for the domain.
  3. DNS Resolution Process:
    • The resolver continues to query the authoritative DNS servers until it obtains the IP address associated with the requested domain.
  4. Caching:
    • To improve efficiency and reduce the load on DNS servers, resolvers cache the results of DNS queries. Cached information is stored for a specific time (TTL - Time to Live), and subsequent queries for the same domain can be answered directly from the cache.
  5. Dynamic Updates:
    • DNS is not static; it allows dynamic updates to accommodate changes such as IP address changes or the addition of new subdomains.