DNS Explained in Full
The internet is a powerful tool that needs servers to operate properly. To identify each internet service, you need a domain name server or DNS. A Domain Name Server is a filing system that is used for all the domains and websites on the internet. DNSs allow different devices to connect to the internet by using a network designed for this purpose. So, a DNS service is a device that contains a database of public IP addresses, along with their hostnames. The purpose of the DNS is to translate the hostnames into IP addresses. To communicate with one another, DNSs run special software that allows them to use communication protocols.
The 4 Types of DNS Servers
To upload a single webpage, 4 DNS servers come into play:
- DNS precursor – this is a server that receives queries that people enter into their browsers. When a query is typed into a browser of another search machine, the DNS precursor will begin to scan the internet for matches. To provide the best results, the DNS precursor will search for additional requests that you can choose from.
- Root nameserver – the root server is the first place where the hostname begins to get translated into an IP address.
- TLD nameserver – a top level domain server (TLD) is the next step in the IP address search. The TLD hosts the last part of the hostname, like com in advice.com.
- Authoritative nameserver – this is the final name server where the hostname you entered is translated into an IP address. After the translation, the authoritative name server returns an IP host address to the DNS Recursor.
Why Do We Need DNS Servers?
A hostname is naturally easier to remember that an IP address, so when you want to go on a certain website, all you have to do is type in a URL address instead of an IP address. When we enter a URL hostname, a DNS resolver will scan the internet in search of the name's associated IP address. A part of the DNS is a nameserver that is requested when you run a website and switch hosts.
After a DNS server scans the internet in search of the IP address associated with the entered hostname, it allows the content on the website to appear on the front of the browser. To associate an IP address with a hostname, the ISPs will run through routers to find where the requested webpage and its assets (videos, content, photos, etc.) are stored.
DNS Attacks and How to Protect Your Computer Against Them
Malware can attack your computer and change your DNS server settings; in a natural situation, if you enter your bank's website, for example, you will log into a URL you know. When malware is used on your computer, your system will contact the malware servers instead of Google's servers. When this happens, a website that looks exactly like your bank's website will pop up and will collect your banking info.
Also, malware that changes DNS servers will also redirect traffic away from popular websites to sites that are full of ads and also fake websites. So, you need to protect yourself and your computer by installing an Antivirus software on your computer. Often, people don't even notice something is wrong with their computer until it is too late, so be advised to install an Antivirus. Antivirus software will catch malware before they do any harm, which is very important these days.
For further protection, you need to be attentive to what goes on in your computer and the websites you often visit; pay attention to how websites you often visit look like, and if there any strange changes that happened in them; notice the colors, the picture, the menu bars, and any other detail that may change because of malware. If you get an "invalid certificate" message, notice misspellings, and notice the websites you often visit are different, it could be because malware has found its way to your computer.
Primary and Secondary DNS Servers
When you are connected to an internet service provider (ISP), a primary and a secondary DNS server are configured on your router and/or computer. Why are there two DNS servers? For backup; in case one DNS fails to operate properly, the second one will jump into actions and allow you to surf the web. To keep your DNS information, as well as data about other internet users, 13 important DNS root servers operate these days. These 13 DNSs store information about domain names and the IP addresses that are associated with them. These servers are named A through M, which are the first 13 letters of the Alphabet. One server is in Japan, one is in London, one is in Stockholm, and the remaining 10 are in the U.S.
The Benefits of DNS Redirection
Redirecting traffic often works in people's favor, especially if they want to visit websites that sites network administrators or organizations don't want people to go to. If, for instance, you want to go to an online gambling website, an adult content website, social media sites, etc., an OpenDNS will redirect you to the website of your choice. In some cases, you will get a "Blocked" message warning you the website you are about to enter might contain malware.
The DNS plays an important part in the translation of hostnames to IP addresses, and it can be used as a hacking weapon. To protect your computer and personal information, take the necessary precautions and make sure you have an operating and valid antivirus software at all times.