What is DNS?

This is a question I’m often asked, so here’s my attempt to explain DNS without getting too technical…

DNS stands for the Domain Name System which is an essential element in the system which makes it possible for Internet users to find their way from site to site.

Every computer connected to the Internet has a unique number – somewhat similar to a telephone number. Each of these numbers is referred to as an “IP Address”, the “IP” standing for “Internet Protocol”.

You know that it’s hard to remember every one of your friends’ telephone numbers. So soon after the World Wide Web was born someone had the bright idea of adding a bit of cosmetic in order to make remembering the IP Addresses much easier.

That bit of cosmetic is the Domain Name.

Remembering names is so much easier than numbers.

For example, having to remember would be a real bore. So much simpler this way:

Every time you point your browser to a web site or click a link, or send an email message, the domain name system works hard behind the scenes translating the name into the correct IP address. This is called “resolving the domain name.”