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What is a domain name system (DNS)?

Domain Name System (DNS) is used to translate domain names (like into IP Addresses (strings of numbers like In simple terms, DNS is the way your browser knows where to take you when you're on the internet.

Table of Contents

  1. How DNS Works
  2. How does DNS affect My Site?

How DNS Works

When you type a domain name into your browser window, it doesn't know instantly where to take you. That's because computers only understand IP addresses. So it has to make a request - to ask another computer (a DNS server) which IP address matches the domain name you just entered.

Often, if it's a site that gets looked up a lot, the server knows right away. The reason it knows right away is that each time it performs a DNS lookup it saves the IP for a certain time in its own memory. This is called its cache and it's a very important part of making DNS run smoothly.

But sometimes the first server you contact doesn't know what the domain means. That's when it asks other servers in its network until it finds one that does know. It then returns the IP to your computer and the site that you wanted opens in your browser.

How does DNS affect My Site?

This is all well and good, but what does it mean for the regular site owner? It's nice to know how your email knows where to go, but DNS has a few important implications for regular site owners.

The first thing is that having your DNS records in order means that people will find your site or services much more reliably. If the records are all pointing in the right direction, then your visitors will not usually have any network problems finding you.

DNS was also developed when the internet was still very new. At that time, the only organizations on the internet were universities and governments, so security wasn't a big concern. That has changed.

From DDoS attacks to cache poisoning, there are dozens of ways that malicious cyber attacks can be carried out on any website, provided it doesn't have advanced protection against them. For people who are worried about the security of their site and their data, we at Aust Domains recommend Premium DNS services for faster speeds and extra protection.

Learn more about our Premium DNS service.

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