DNS – “What Is It and How Does It Work?”

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DNS is an acronym that stands for “domain name system”. Without domain names, we wouldn’t have a way of getting to particular a website, such as numbers like 292.14.78.251, or worse the new ipv6 numbers that are much longer, too long in fact to provide an example here.

In this article we will give an overview of how D.N.S functions. The most important thing, that our web hosting customers can learn from this, is the process of how DNS records are changed, or updated to your web host’s “name servers” address’. These are important domain names which also rely on the DNS system to be converted into your webserver’s numerical IP-address.

“Name Servers”

Name servers enable people to use their domain name in order to access your webserver; which then in turn directs your site visitors to your specific web hosting account and files, rather than a complex IP address. DNS also makes economical “shared hosting” possible, since the server’s IP address can be reused for dozens of different websites.

Your name servers are the most important detail of your domain record, again their purpose is to redirect a visitor’s web browser to the place, that is web-server on a rack in a data-room someplace, where your site is being hosted.

Modifying your domain name server(s) enables you to change your web host without having to transfer your domain to another registrar.

Name servers can also be referred to as DNS servers; which can create confusion due to the two synonymous terms.

DNS Records

DNS refers to the layer of the internet stack, very similar to a database application, that contains the domain names, name servers, IP address’ and personal or company registration information encapsulating every public site on the Internet.
DNS records contain various types of data, syntax, and commands for how a webserver should respond to lookup requests.

Some of the most common syntax items defined:

· “A”-record. The actual webserver IP address that is associated with the domain.

· “CNAME”-record. CNAME indicates sub-domains that can be associated with your domain.

· “MX”-record. This refers to specific mail servers that might be optionally used in accordance with your domain, such as using gmail with your domain for email.

· “NS”-record. The nameservers that are currently set for your domain.

· “SOA”-record. Information about your domain, like when your domain was last updated and relevant contact information.

· “TXT”-record. Text about any additional information about the domain.

As you can see, there are numerous components of your DNS records, but most of this information can’t and shouldn’t be altered. The main component of your DNS records that will be of concern to you, if you ever have to change, is your name servers.

Changing Name Servers

Registrars are responsible for allowing you to edit your DNS record name severs. The default usually automatically assigns same host and registrar upon registration. Domain transfers usually carry over using the same name server information as from the previous registrar.

However, if your domain is not registered and also hosted in the same place, then you’ll follow the general steps below to update the name servers.

4GoodHosting customers can follow these instructions to change their name servers:

1. Locate Domain Management

Every registrar has domain management tools which allow you to edit your name servers. This ability will usually be found on the domain management area your client account/portal.

2. Find Your Name Servers

Under each of your individual domain(s) you’ll be able to change your name servers. Your name servers will look something like this:
ns1.4GoodHosting.com
ns2.4GoodHosting.com
You will need to change both the “primary” and “secondary” name server. The second server exists in the rare even that the first one crashes, or some other condition that prevents it from being resourced.

3. Setting New Name Servers

Simply change your existing name servers to the new name servers and click “Update” or “Save”. These changes don’t take place immediately across the entire internet. Domain name server updates usually take anywhere from 4-24 hours to ‘propagate’ throughout the global DNS internet system.

With this information, you are able to understand some key functionality of how the internet logically works. If you have any remaining questions concerning your domains or domain records, please contact us at support @ 4goodhosting.com for a rapid response to your inquiries.

Please contact us at one of the very best Canadian Web Hosting Companies, 4GoodHosting.

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