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DNS Name Resolution: Explained

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Surfing on the internet can be a lot harder and complicated than it currently is. A lot of processes go into making sure that our experience on the web is both safe and convenient. The basis of each of these processes is the DNS as it is the first line of defense against all the attacks we are prone to while surfing on the internet through DNS Firewall protection and also making web search a comfortable experience.

DNS Resolution

As end users, what we don’t often realise is that a lot of the things that we consider easy, the computer finds useless. So, as easy as it might be for us to do a web search by just typing in the domain name, it is not a very useful way for the computer to connect us to the web. The computer needs the IP address of the website we are trying to connect to and for this purpose, DNS exists. DNS name resolution is how a domain name is actually mapped to an IP address by a client.

Step 1

In terms of DNS, our computer is a client which issues the request for a web search; say www.facebook.com, in the form of a lookup and the DNS server is what answers the request in the form of a response. So in order to perform any kind of lookup, the computer contacts the closest DNS server (ISP/LAN/office network).The client computer is configured (automatically/manually) in such a way that it knows the IP address of the closest DNS server. So normally the computer would contact the ISP which has a DNS server which acts on our behalf to do DNS lookups for us called recursive name query.

Step 2

When we ask the ISP for the IP address of the domain, there is a fair chance that its DNS server has encountered it for the first time. So, the ISP contacts the DNS root zone and forwards our request to it. This query being outside the zone of the root server, the root server will instruct the ISP to forward the Top level Domain (TLD) server.

Step 3

The TLD server is not aware about the location of  “www” but knows where to find  “facebook.com”. It will then instruct the ISP to proceed to the second-level  DNS server which is in fact the local server of “www.facebook.com”.

Step 4

This is the final step where the ISP contacts the local server of the website we are trying to reach and obtains the IP address of that website for mapping. After receiving this information, the ISP server will cache it for future reference and respond to the client with the IP address of the website.

Thus a web search which might seem an easy process to us on the face of it is in reality a complicated process which requires multiple steps to be undertaken in order for it to function.

Now, in order to ensure that the safe of our web experience is not compromised, it is important that we safeguard ourselves against the numerous hackers on the internet who may be trying to access our personal data for malicious purposes. The first step to this would be to obtain a DNS firewall .It monitors our online activities and ensures that each transaction of data we have on the internet is with a trusted party in a secure environment.

The internet is an amazing place with a lot of benefits and tools to make our life easier. If we can protect ourselves from the threats out there, it can truly change our lives for the better.

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